The men remarked his presence with much satisfaction, and were delighted that he was a witness of the splendid fighting they were doing.
Early in the afternoon my command was joined by portions of two regiments belonging to Van Cleve's division, the Seventeenth Kentucky, Colonel Stout commanding, and the Forty-fourth Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich commanding. The fact that these parts of regiments, preserving the form of a regimental organization, did not leave the field after this disaster on the right, where so many other troops fled from the contest is certainly most creditable to them.
The fact also affords very just ground for the inference that if a more determined effort had been made by the officers, many other regiments that left the field might have been kept on it. The remains of the two regiments most nobly and gallantry aided my command in repulsing the repeated attacks of the enemy. The Forty-fourth Indiana bore itself with special gallantry.
I should do injustice to my feelings were I to omit to record my testimony to the splendid resistance made on my right by General Brannan and his command. It was the ne plus ultra of defensive fighting.
About 7 p.m. I received an order from General Thomas to withdraw my command from the field and retire to Rossville. The order was executed without noise, without confusion, and without disaster. My command left the field,not because it was beaten, but in obedience to an order. With a fresh supply of ammunition it could have renewed the contest next morning. And here I can appropriately return my thanks to Major-General Granger for a timely supply of ammunition given me during the afternoon, when that in the cartridge-boxes and men's pockets was reduced to 2 or 3 rounds per man, and when the prospect of being reduced to the bayonet alone as a means of defense seemed inevitable. My own ammunition train had been carried off by the rout from the right. My command reached Rossville about 10 p.m., where it bivouacked for the night.
Early next morning, the 21st, in obedience to orders, I took a strong position on Missionary Ridge. Strong barricades against an infantry assault were at once made. During the day there was some light firing on my picket front, but nothing serious. The enemy was, however, evidently in considerable force in my front.
At 10 p.m. of the 21st my command, in obedience to orders left its position on Missionary Ridge and withdrew to this place.
Early Tuesday morning, the 22nd, it occupied its present position in the line of defenses, and has since been most constantly and actively engaged in strengthening them.
To the officers and men of my command I return my thanks for their gallant bearing, soldierly conduct, and steadfast courage, exhibited both in the contest of Saturday, the 19th,and Sunday, the 20th. Their conduct on both days deserves all praise, and I commend it to the consideration of the commanding general. There were undoubtedly instance of individual misconduct, which deserve reprehension but as a whole the behavior of the command was most satisfactory.
Of the numerous killed and wounded I would gladly speak by name, but the list is too numerous. To do so would extend my report beyond all reasonable compass. I can only here express my sincere condolence with the relatives and friends of the gallant dead