The corps remained in this position until 2 a. m. on the morning of the 22nd of September, when it was withdrawn to Chattanooga with the rest of the army.
Since arriving at Chattanooga the Twentieth Corps has been engaged in performing heavy guard duty and erecting strong lines of intrenchments, which, in my opinion, can only be taken by regular approaches.
My thanks are due to Colonel Joseph C. McKibbin, Captain A. S. Burt,
Captain R. S. Thoms, and Lieutenant George Burroughs, of General Rosecrans' staff, for valuable assistance in rallying the portions of Sheridan's and Davis' divisions which had been overwhelmed.
Brigadier General J. St C. Morton, chief engineer of the Army of the Cumberland, being separated from his chief, reported to me for duty.
After ascertaining that the center of our line had been broken, my first object was to endeavor to find the general commanding to ascertain to what point he wished the rallied troops marched. Failing to find the general and believing that an efficient stand could not be made by the army until it reached Chattanooga, the firing on the left retiring toward Rossville, from the statements of General Rosecrans' guides, and from observations by General Morton, I was satisfied that the enemy was endeavoring to cut our army off from Rossville. At this juncture, Lieutenant Colonel Lyne Starling, of General Crittenden's staff, rode up and reported to me that his chief had gone to Chattanooga to report to General Rosecrans. I then decided to report to General Rosecrans at once for instructions as my last order from his headquarters required.
Finding the general commanding at Chattanooga, he directed me to go out on the road to Rossville, collecting all the troops possible, and report to General Thomas.
Leaving Chattanooga at midnight I arrived at Rossville at about 4 a. m. on the morning of the 21st, when the line of battle above referred to was formed, and strong barricades erected.
The conduct of the troops of the Twentieth Corps was everything that could be expected of men.
During the two days' battle Johnson's division fought on the left, separated from the corps. All acknowledge the gallantry of his division. He never attacked that he was not successful, and the enemy never assaulted him without being handsomely repulsed. I depend upon General Thomas and the official reports to do this gallant division justice.
The troops of Sheridan's and Davis' division, behaved with great courage, never yielding except to overwhelming numbers when it would have been suicidal to have contested the ground longer.
To the families of the heroic dead the sympathies of the nation are due. Such names as Lytle, Heg, Baldwin, brigade commanders, Colonels Alexander, Gilmer, McCreery, and many other distinguished field and line officers, who fell upon this memorable field, will make a brilliant page in our history as a nation.
These expressions should also extend to the many non-commissioned officers and privates who gave their lives in defense of their country and flag.
To Major General P. H. Sheridan, commanding Third Division; Brigadier General R. W. Johnson, commanding Second Division; Brigadier General Jeff. C. Davis, commanding First Division of the Twentieth Corps, my thanks are due for their earnest co-operation and devotion to duty.