General McCook's corps passed us early in the morning of the 19th. Heavy fighting to our front and left. About 2 p. m. we were ordered to the center and took a position on the edge of a field near the springs. Received an order from General Negley to take two regiments to the woods in the bottom at the foot of the hill. This was about sunset. We had some heavy fighting, the rebels being in the woods and in a corn-field in front. I had 3 men wounded and 2 killed in this engagement, which was short but fierce. Placing two pieces of artillery in position, I had them throw canister into the woods and across the field in my front, which effectually silenced the enemy's fire, and during the balance of the night they were quiet.
The Thirty-seventh Indiana took up a supporting position in my rear. During the night and on the morning of the 20th my men had thrown up breastworks, which were really quite formidable and from which it would have been no easy task to dislodge them. Receiving news early in the morning from my adjutant that the rebels were massing a heavy force in my front, I brought down a section of Marshall's battery, together with the Seventy-fourth Ohio, and put it into excellent position. These arrangements had hardly been completed when I was ordered away to the left of our division to the support of General Beatty, who had been for some time exposed to a terrible fire from and overwhelming force of the enemy. As soon as we were relieved we went at a double-quick, and at the distance of a mile, according to the general's instructions, had my men deployed in an open wood, so as to cover any flank attack from the left. In half an hour I received orders to change position, moving my command by the right flank some 400 yards. My line was now immediately in the rear of where the fiercest of the fight was going on. Marshall's battery was posted on a hill beside a log house used for a hospital, and in a few rounds completely silenced a rebel battery that was beginning to prove very mischievous. While in this position, which was a good one, with open fields in front, my men rapidly threw up fine breastworks of logs and rails; but we had no chance to try their defensive qualities, for the sharp, quick firing of skirmishers in our rear made us face about and hasten up the hill immediately behind us. Here I was solicited by General Brannan to leave a regiment to support one of his batteries. I detached the Twenty-first Ohio for that purpose, taking the Seventy-fourth Ohio to another point to protect another battery. When I returned I could not find my other two regiments where I had left them, but soon ascertained that by order of General Negley they had been taken to the Rossville road to take up a new line and gather up all the stragglers. The battery the Seventy-fourth Ohio was supporting having left, the regiment was brought back and joined to the others on the Rossville road, and did good service in assisting the general to reorganize and return into some kind of shape the confused mass of troops who were rapidly streaming back from the hard-fought battle-field. The Twenty-first Ohio faithfully remained at its post the whole of that dreadful afternoon. The men fought as heroes; almost unsupported and without hope they fought gallantly on; their ammunition giving out, they gathered the cartridges of the dead and wounded, and then finally, without a load in their guns, charged twice upon the rebel horde which was howling furiously around them. Their loss is terrible, losing 272 men* out of a regiment of 500.
*See revised statement, p. 172.
25 R R-VOL XXX, PT I