of Colonel Buell's brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel Embree commanding, were formed on the right of the One hundred and twenty-fifth Ohio, higher up the fence and on a hill dominating the field in which the enemy had halted. The One hundred and twenty-fifth and Sixty-fourth Ohio again advanced, and took position behind a copse of woods near the center of the field, the now debatable ground of the contending bodies.
The movements of the enemy at this moment were so singular, and his blurred and greasy and dusty uniform so resembled our own when travel-stained, coupled with the fact that it was expected a part of McCook's command would come from that direction (the terrible disaster to his force on the right not then being known to us), that for a few minutes the impression prevailed and the cry ran along the line that the troops in front of us were our own. I ordered the firing to cease, the thought of firing on our comrades in arms being too horrible to contemplate. In a few moments, however, the delusion was dispelled, the enemy commencing to advance again in a way that left no doubt of his identity, for he advanced firing on us. I do not mention this singular mistake on account of its possessing any particular importance per se, but rather to record it as an instance of the strange delusions that sometimes occur on the battle-field without any sufficient cause and without the possibility of a reasonable explanation. This mistake was the more remarkable as the enemy was probably not more than 300, certainly not over 350 yards distant, and was halted in a broad open field. But for the mistake we could have punished him most severely at the time he was halted. The hour was now about high noon; possibly it may have been as late as 12.30 p.m. When the One hundred and twenty-fifth and Sixty-fourth Ohio advanced to the copse in the open field, I ordered Colonel Opdycke to line the southern side of the copse with skirmishers, with a view of annoying and delaying the progress of the enemy. As he advanced, he inclined to his left, evidently with the intention of outflanking my line and turning my right. This movement of the enemy made it necessary I should gain a position in which I could form a shorter and more compact line, in which my right would be more protected by natural obstacles.
I accordingly retired my command to a narrow and short ridge which shoots out nearly at right angles as a spur from the general ridge which is parallel to the Rossville and La Fayette road. The short and narrow ridge extends athwart the valley in a nearly east-and-west course. The abruptness of the declivity on either side of it almost gives to this ridge the quality of a natural parapet. Troops holding it could load and fire behind it out of reach of the enemy's fire, and then advance to the crest of it to deliver a plunging fire on the advancing foe. In addition there was a moral effect in its command over the ground south of it which inspired the courage of the troops holding it. Here I determined to make an obstinate and stubborn stand. When General Brannan's right was turned (by the opening of the gap in our lines by the movement of my division to support General Reynolds), he had been compelled to fall back to the general ridge inclosing, on the west, the valley in which the great battle was fought, which ridge, as already remarked, runs nearly parallel to the Rossville and La Fayette road. When I took position with Harker's brigade on the narrow ridge extending partially across the valley, General Brannan formed his command