brigade by General Davis and Major-General Crittenden. The position seemed strong, having been improved by rude breastworks. The Third Brigade was again on my left; there were no troops on my right.
The Thirty-eighth Illinois was held in reserve behind breastworks 100 yards in rear of the brigade. The Twenty-first Illinois was on the right, the Eighty-first Indiana in the center, and the One hundred and first Ohio on the left. Skirmishers were thrown out to the front, and twice I rode out beyond the skirmishers and beyond the main road leading up the valley to reconnoiter. Not the least sign of an enemy could be seen. I had just returned from the second visit to the front of my skirmishers when firing commenced and the skirmishers ran into the main line. The firing on both side immediately became terrific, and ours I know was very destructive. The front line of the assaulting column of the enemy was everywhere driven back or shot down except where it overlapped my right, but soon I discovered a few men running on the right of the Twenty-first Illinois.
I immediately rode up to Lieutenant-Colonel Gilmer, Thirty-eighth Illinois, and ordered him to move his regiment to the right of the Twenty-first Illinois. From some cause not now ascertainable he hesitated, but finally succeeded in giving an order to his men to rise; it was now too late. A column of the enemy had come directly on my right flank and nearly against it, and opened a most destructive enfilading fire. This enabled the storming column in front of my right to reach the breastworks, and many of the enemy were on our side of them before a retreat was ordered. Seeing that the position could not be held I ordered a retreat, intending to reform on the rocky ridge in rear about 400 yards. But in this design I was utterly disappointed. But one field officer of my brigade succeeded in getting away from the position, and but few company officers; I believe nearly if not quite all of them were killed or wounded, and many of our men shared the same fate. When assistance was too late a part of Sheridan's command came up on my right, but fell back in disorder at the first fire of the enemy. I remained near the position for half an hour or more endeavoring to collect scattered men to hold the enemy in check, and the scattering fire from a few brave men that could be induced to halt checked the enemy for a long time. The officers of my staff had gone to the rear to rally the regiments of the brigade, and succeeded in collecting about 400 men, with a few officers.
Until about 4 o'clock in the evening I remained near the position endeavoring to collect men and to do the best that circumstances would permit. It was too evident that but little more fighting could be procured from this division. I had received no instructions from General Davis for an emergency of this kind, and could find neither him nor his staff; finally I discovered a column headed by General Sheridan and followed by the remnants of the Second and Third Brigades. Sheridan sent word to me that he was conducting the column, and I replied that I would follow him.
The flag of the division commander was delivered to me by a staff officer of General Davis (Lieutenant Reynolds I believe.) Placing Major Calloway in command of the Second Brigade, I assumed command of the division and conducted it to Rossville, where I found General Davis, who there resumed command. On approaching Rossville Major-General Negley, with sword in hand, came to me and