War of the Rebellion: Serial 050 Page 0669 Chapter XLII. THE CHICKAMAUGA CAMPAIGN.

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of my line, to the right, was heavy timber, thickly grown with jack-oak bushes, making it utterly impossible to see what was going on 20 yards distant. Seventy-five yards to my right this timber made a right angle to the front,leaving on its right and in front of the road an inclosed field extending about 500 to 600 yards along the road and 600 to 700 yards to the front, being limited in each direction by timber and thickets. On my left and at my flank the line of timber in my front made a right angle to the rear, crossing the road and forming a dense cover for several hundred yards, and then opening into a half cleared, but bushy and thickly weeded field; 30 to 40 yards in the rear of, and parallel to, my line, as before mentioned, was the road, and in the rear of this another inclosed field extending about 400 yards to the rear of, and 600 to 700 yards parallel with, the road toward the right, and being bounded by timber in both directions. This last field descends with an easy slope from the road about 100 to 150 yards to a narrow ditch or gully and then rises with a slight grade to the timber in its rear. The gully varies in depth from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 feet and in width weeds and willows. This description and the accompanying sketch* will, I trust, make plain the movements of my regiment during the battle on the 19th p.m.

Having been originally posted in my first position under Colonel Buell's immediate supervision, as above described and as shown in the sketch, I immediately caused my men to lie down and simultaneously received instructions from General Wood that the position must be held. Even while receiving his instructions, and before the men had been allowed a moment to recover their wind after the rapid march, it became manifest the lines in our front were broken and the enemy pressing them rapidly back. In a moment more dozens, then scores, and finally hundreds, of straggling soldiers came rushing through the woods and over my line in the wildest disorder and most shameful confusion, there seeming to be no effort to either check or control the retreat, and at the same time a most galling fire began to reach and take effect upon my men, though lying close upon the ground.

In the meantime, I was holding my fire until our own men should be out of the way, intending, when the rebel line should show itself, to deliver my fire by volley and meet him at a charge with bayonets (previously fixed). As I was about executing this intention a mounted officer came galloping to the rear calling out, "for God's sake, don't fire; two lines of our own troops are still in the woods." At the same instant I discovered a rapid fire enfilading my line from the timber on the left, most cruelly cutting my command. My horse fell under me pierced, as afterward appeared, with nine balls; my acting major was dismounted and wounded, and the rebel line appeared in front within 20 yards, advancing firing. I immediately commenced firing and ordered a charge, but the command could be only partially heard, and the charge was not made. The rebel advance in front, however, was momentarily checked and his fire weakened; but the battery on my right had already been withdrawn; a heavy line of rebels were already on my left, and rapidly gaining my rear, making it impossible to hold my position even for a moment longer except with the certainly of capture. I reluctantly gave the command to retire across the road to the fence immediately in my rear.


*Not found.