In the meantime the Third Brigade (Colonel F. Van Derveer, Thirty-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, commanding), supported by the First Brigade with two regiments (Colonel J. M. Connell, Seventeenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, commanding), having advanced about 1 1/2 miles on the Daffron's Ford road, came into collision with the rebels strongly posted, who opened with a tremendous fire of musketry and cannon at short range. This, however, could not deter the Third Brigade which bore down upon the rebels with irresistible determination driving them back to within one-quarter of a mile of the creek, when the rebels, making a feint on the left rapidly threw a heavy force on my right, and succeeded in partially piercing the center, where the communication with the extreme right was unavoidably weak and disconnected.
About this period, at my repeated and earnest request for re-enforcements, General Thomas sent the First Division to my support, and the greater portion of that command advanced to my center to arrest the movements of the enemy in that quarter. In this, however, the First Division failed, the troops retiring with some precipitancy, leaving the battery of the regular brigade in the hands of the rebels, and communication entirely cut off between my extreme flanks. I however succeeded in preventing the rebels from following up their advantage at this point by a charge of portions of the First and Third Brigades, during which the battery of the regular brigade was retaken at the point of the bayonet by the Ninth Ohio Infantry (Colonel Gustave Kammerling commanding). The enemy, however, continued to press heavily on the center, and finding it impossible to re-establish and hold communication between my flanks, I withdrew to a ridge about half a mile from the La Fayette road, removing my dead and wounded, and formed line there, without molestation, at about 2 p. m.
About 3 p. m., by direction of Major-General Thomas, I moved the First and Third Brigades to the right in rear of the Second Brigade, and subsequently, in accordance with orders to that effect, withdrew my entire division to the right, on the La Fayette road, resigning my first position to Baird's, Palmer's, and Johnson's divisions.
During this day the Second Brigade maintained a severe conflict, without intermission, for a period of six hours, repulsing with great slaughter the repeated attacks of a much superior force, and capturing 5 guns, which they brought off the field.
The other brigades of the division cannot have had less severe work, owing to the number of points from which they were at different times attacked, and the vastly superior force of the enemy immediately opposed to them.
It was only by the most unflinching courage and determination that these points could be held before the overwhelming masses of troops hurled against them by the rebels, whose every effort appeared to be directed toward breaking this line, and securing the line of communication in its rear.
I bivouacked on the night of the 19th on a line perpendicular to the La Fayette road, my left brigade nearly joining it at Dyer's house, and my two right brigades thrown back at right angles on the heights of the Missionary Ridge. During the night I was ordered to put two brigades into line, connecting Reynolds' and Negley's divisions, which I accordingly did, completing the movement before daylight on the 20th. I moved the Third Brigade of
26 R R-VOI XXX, PT I