General Negley, so far from holding my right as he had promised, retired, with extraordinary deliberation, to Rossville at an early period of the day, taking with him a portion of my division, as will be seen by the report of Colonel Connell, commanding First Brigade, and leaving me open to attack from the right as well as from the left and front (from which points the rebels attacked me simultaneously on four several occasions), and my rear so far exposed that my staff officers sent back for ammunition were successively cut off, and the ammunition, of such vital importance at that time, prevented from reaching me, thus necessitating the use of the bayonet as my only means of defense.
I remained in this position, heavily engaged, until sunset, re-enforced at intervals by the Ninth Regiment Indiana Volumteers, sent me at my request by General Hazen, and the Sixty-eighth and One hundred and first Regiments Indiana Volunteers, sent by order of General Thomas, also the Twenty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, all of whom remained in position and behaved with steadiness while their ammunition lasted. Colonel Stoughton, with a portion of a brigade, also rallied at this point and did good service.
Finding my ammunition almost entirely exhausted, some of the troops having none at all, and the remainder but one or two rounds, I ordered it to be reserved until the last final effort, and resort to be had to the bayonet as a means of defense. Several charges were made by the entire command during the last attack of the enemy, by which they were gallantly driven from the ridge, where they had obtained a momentary lodgment. My entire force during the day and afternoon on this ridge could not have been over 2,500 men, including the stragglers of various regiments and divisions, besides my own immediate command.
Shortly after sunset I withdrew without molestation to Rossville, where I bivouacked for the night, my retreat being covered by the Sixty-eighth and One hundred and first Indiana Volunteer Infantry, the only troops who had a supply of ammunition.
This duty was satisfactorily performed by these regiments under the direction of Captain C. A. Cilley, of Colonel Van Derveer's staff.
I cannot speak too highly of the gallant conduct of my command during these engagements. The accompanying report* of killed and wounded is a sad but glorious record of the stern devotion with which the officers and men of the Third Division maintained their stand in the desperate position assigned them during the battle of the 19th and 20th.
To the commanding officers of brigades, regiments, and batteries the highest praise is due for the able and fearless manner in which they managed their commands in circumstances of more than ordinary trial.
I herewith forward their several reports, to which I respectfully refer you for an account of the individual action of the different portions of my division, and I cheerfully indorse such special mention as is made of deserving members of the command. Where the conduct of all is so commendable it is hardly possible for me to select any for particular mention, yet I cannot conclude this report without bringing to the special notice of the commanding general the gallant and meritorious conduct of Colonel Van Derveer, Thirty-fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, commanding Third Brig-
*Nominal list (omitted) embodied in revised statement, p. 172.