on my right and higher up on the main ridge, thus giving to our united lines something of the shape of an irregular crescent, with the concavity toward the enemy. This disposition gave us a converging fire on the attacking column. Colonel Buell formed his command with General Brannan's. When my arrangements in this position were concluded it was probably 1 p.m. or a little after.
The enemy did not leave us long in the quiet possession of our new position. Soon a most obstinate and determined attack was made, which was handsomely repulsed. Similar attacks were continued at intervals throughout the entire afternoon. To describe each one in detail would be unnecessary and only add useless prolixity to my report. But I deem it proper to signalize one of these attacks specially. It occurred about 4 o'clock, and lasted about 30 minutes. It was unquestionably the most terrific musketry duel I have ever witnessed. Harker's brigade was formed in two lines. The regiments were advanced to the crest of the ridge alternately, and delivered their fire by volley at the command,retiring a few paces behind it after firing to reload. The continued roar of the very fiercest musketry fire inspired a sentiment of grandeur in which the awful and the sublime were intermingled. But the enemy was repulsed in this fierce attack, and the crest of the ridge was still in our possession.
Finally the evening shades descended and spread the drapery of moonlight over the hardly contested field. The battle ceased, and my command still held the position it had taken about 1 o'clock, maintaining with glorious courage a most unequal contest in point of numbers. But our inferiority of strength did not appall my men. Their courage and steadfast resolution rose with the occasion. I do not believe that history affords an instance of a more splendid resistance than that made by Harker's brigade and a portion of Buell's brigade, from 1 p.m. on the 20th to nightfall. A part of the contest was witnessed by that able and distinguished commander, Major-General Thomas. I think it must have been near to 2 o'clock when he came to where my command was so hotly engaged. His presence was most welcome. The men saw him, felt they were battling under the eye of a great chieftain, and their courage and resolution received fresh inspiration from the consciousness.
At a most opportune hour in the afternoon, probably between 2 and 3 o'clock, Major-General Granger arrived on the field with two brigades of fresh troops of the division of General Steedman. They were brought into action on the right of General Brannan (who was on my right), and rapidly drove the enemy before them. This movement very considerably relieved the pressure on my front. The gallant bearing of General Granger during the whole of this most critical part of the contest was a strong re-enforcement. It affords me much pleasure to signalize the presence with my command for a length of time during the afternoon (present during the period of the hottest fighting) of another distinguished officer, Brigadier-General Garfield, chief of staff. After the disastrous rout on the right, General Garfield made his way back to the battle-field (showing thereby that the road was open to all who might choose to follow it to where duty called), and came to where my command was engaged.
The brigade which made so determined a resistance on the crest of the narrow ridge during all that long September afternoon had been commanded by General Garfield when he belonged to my division.