War of the Rebellion: Serial 050 Page 0541 Chapter XLII. THE CHICKAMAUGA CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

intentions of the enemy's troops in my front was then clear. They would break in with the attack to be made on our breastworks and cut their defenders off in the rear. I called the attention of General Johnson several times to the approaching thunder-storm. Just when it was on the point of breaking forth, one or two of our division on the right of our breastworks left this portion of the battle-field under higher orders, each regiment cheering as they left, which cheering id not at all cheer us, who kept the position under a heavy fire. Then the storm broke loose; first in small squads, then in an unbroken stream, the defenders rushed without organization over the open field, partly over and through my brigade, which was formed in two lines. At the same time the enemy's artillery in front of me and in the rear of our lines advanced within canister range, swept my position, and entered into a canister duel with Captain Goodspeed. The enemy's infantry did not attempt to force me.

When the fugitives had reached the cover of the woods, I ordered the battery to retire and to join the troops under General Thomas; then I slowly withdrew the brigade in two lines, exposed to heavy artillery fire, but not pressed by the enemy's infantry. On the other side of the woods, formerly General Thomas' ground, I took a good position, reported to General Thomas, and received orders to cover the retreat in connection with General Reynolds.

I sent my battery, which had made good its retreat without loss and had faithfully waited for me, ahead on the Rossville road, took a new position, permitted all troops to pass, and followed as rear guard, driving many stragglers before us, and reached camp unmolested at 12 p.m. Here I found General Johnson, with the other two brigades of the division; we received rations for the men, and tried to calm our sore feelings over the apparent non-success of our fighting, marching, and suffering, and over the great havoc death had worked in the ranks of our friends and brothers in arms. Though our loss can only be a percentage of the loss inflicted on the enemy in no instance he resisted [repelled?] our charges or was able to force our lines.

I do not feel competent to bestow praise on the officers and men of my command; for their bravery and self-denial they are above praise. They have again and again proven that they are true sons of the Republic, who value life only so long as it is the life of freemen, and who are determined to make the neck of every power, slaveratic [sic] or monarchical, bend before the commonwealth of the freemen of the United States of America. Young and brave Lieutenant-Colonel Hall, Eighty-ninth Illinois, sealed, dying, his political creed with the words, "Tell my regiment to stand by the flag of our country." Captain Whiting, Eighty-ninth Illinois the beloved brother and leader of all Eighty-ninth Illinois; Captain Ritter, Thirty-second Indiana, good and brave to the last moment; brave Lieutenant Fowler, Fifteenth Ohio,, and all those brave men whose bodies now molder in Southern ground-they are so many columns in the arch of this Republic, and every Northern traitor who tries to make their glorious deaths useless for the cause of humanity should be led to the little mound of earth which covers their remains and learn penitence.

All the regimental commanders-Lieutenant-Colonel Erdelmeyer, Lieutenant-Colonel Askew, Lieutenant-Colonel Hall, and Major Williams after the fall of colonel Hall, and Major-Gray-came fully up to all that men in high positions merit in judgment, skill, and bravery.