Report of Colonel Wiliam L. Stoughton, Eleventh Michigan Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
HDQRS. 2nd BRIGADE, 2nd DIVISION, 14TH ARMY CORPS, Chattanooga, September 27, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Second Brigade while under my command in the recent engagement:
I assumed command about 12 m. of the 20th instant, Colonel Stanley having been wounded and left the field. About 1 o'clock I advanced the command about 50 yards and drove the enemy, who had opened a scattering fire upon us, from our immediate front. I then placed the Eleventh Michigan and Nineteenth Illinois Regiments in line of battle, in a strong position, under cover of the hill, leaving the Eighteenth Ohio to support a section of the Fourth U. S. Artillery and watch the motions of the enemy. Soon after the brigade had taken this position the enemy made a spirited attack on a hill to my right, occupied by the left of General Brannan's division, apparently driving our troops back. I at once ordered the Eleventh Michigan and Nineteenth Illinois to their support. These regiments advanced at a double-quick and charged upon the enemy, driving him from the hill. Immediately after this charge I was informed by General John Beatty that our position upon this hill must be maintained, and was directed to use the forces under my command for that purpose. I at once placed my forces along the crest of the hill, the Nineteenth Illinois on the right, and the Eleventh Michigan on the left, and constructed rude breastworks.
My brigade was by far the largest, if not the only, organized force on the hill, and I accordingly assumed command. The fragments of the regiments on the hill and all men found in the rear were placed in the most available positions. About 4 o'clock the enemy made a vigorous attack upon our position, and a contest ensued, which in its fierceness and duration has few parallels. Our troops, without exception, maintained their ground with unfaltering courage, and the few who recoiled from the storm of bullets were speedily rallied, and returned with renewed ardor. The enemy was in heavy force, and fought with the most determined obstinacy. As fast as their ranks were thinned by our fire they were filled up by fresh troops. They pressed forward and charged up to our lines, firing across our breastworks, and planted their colors within 100 feet of our own. A dense cloud of smoke enveloped our lines, and in some places the position of the foe could only be known by the flash of his guns.
At 6 p. m. the enemy still held his position, and as a last resort, I ordered up the Eighteenth Ohio, and rallying every man that could be got, charged forward with a cheer upon his colors. His flag went down. His lines broke and fell back from the hill. During the fight Brigadier General John Beatty rode up on the hill and assisted materially in sustaining and inspiring the men. His assistance there, and also in sending men forward, was timely and very valuable.
Our ammunition became exhausted during the fight and every cartridge that could be found on the persons of the killed and wounded,