It will be best here to explain the cause of the confusion and consequent disaster which but a little while before had befallen two brigades of his division. While in the act of passing to the support of General Thomas, troops in his front-I do not know of what division-broke and ran in great confusion, and a battery at great speed was driven through the ranks of his men, wounding several seriously. This, of course, threw his command into great confusion, and before he could possibly restore order, the enemy was upon him. This accident, for which the troops who suffered by it were not responsible, and which could scarcely have been avoided by any precaution, is deeply deplored by the officers and men of that gallant division, whose steady courage and discipline has been too often and well tested to be doubted now. Notwithstanding this disaster, three regiments of the eight composing these two brigades viz, Forty-fourth Indiana Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich; Ninth Kentucky, commanded by Colonel Cram, and Seventeenth Kentucky, commanded by Colonel Stout, rallied and formed on the right of our main line, and, fighting all day, only left the field when ordered.
The little force brought by General Van Cleve to the support of the battery was insufficient. I rode rapidly toward the next ridge, hoping to find some general officer and to obtain support for my batteries. I had ridden but a few steps down the hill when I heard the batteries, moving quickly away. Nothing but the greatest energy enabled the officers commanding these batteries to save any of their guns.
The enemy had come close up to the batteries on the left while pouring in a severe fire of sharpshooters from the front. All the horses attached to one of the guns of Lieutenant Cushing were shot almost at the same moment; yet he succeeded in bringing away three guns, losing but one. For the good conduct of artillery officers in this and other positions during the day, I refer you to the report of Major Mendenhall, chief of artillery, and to the reports of their division commanders.
On reaching the crest of the next hill I found only a small number of men, less than 100, who had been rallied by a captain of the Eighteenth Regulars,as he told me, and whom he kept in line with great difficulty. I remained here for some time, probably a half hour, expecting to meet some officers from the commands which had been posted to my right. After this lapse of time Major Mendenhall informed me that the enemy had turned our own guns upon us from the hill we had just left. I then determined to go immediately to Rossville or Chattanooga, if it was practicable. I could hear nothing of General Rosecrans, nor of Generals McCook, Sheridan, or Davis, and I greatly feared that all had fallen into the hands of the enemy. I should have ridden rapidly to Rossville or Chattanooga to apprise whoever was in command of the actual state of things on our right, but that I feared to add a panic to the great confusion.
The road was filled with soldiers, wagons, cannon, and caissons all the way to Rossville. All were moving without organization, but without undue haste and without panic. After leaving the hill and riding slowly about a mile and a half, I met Colonel Parkhurst with his regiment and with men enough-whom he had stopped-to make another regiment of the ordinary size, and who seemed to be well organized. The colonel rode up to me and asked if I would