my men from firing for the time being. About this time General Wood came up to me. He was likewise in doubt. Leaving the general with my brigade, I went to the left and front to satisfy myself. I was soon fired upon, and seeing their colors, I was assured that they were the enemy. Before I had returned to my position they had advanced and fired upon my brigade, which was promptly returned, but as they were now on my flanks, as well as front, I retired, by battalions, to the crest of a hill, running nearly perpendicular to the general line of battle. General Brannan, having rallied a part of his command, it, together with fragments of other commands, formed on the hill at my right, while my brigade formed in two lines to the left of Brannan, fronting to the south and nearly perpendicular to Reynold's division, then on my left.
It will be seen that the right and a part of the center and Van Cleve's division being completely swept away, our line now reduced and in the form of a crochet, must resist nearly the whole rebel force in our front, or itself be swept away, and the great Army of the Cumberland-the pride of the nation-be utterly routed. Our brave troops, appreciating the importance of their position, promised to hold to the last. Nobly did they redeem their promise. From about 1 p.m. until nightfall this line was repeatedly attacked, but remained unbroken. The enemy failing to carry our line from the front, gradually worked around our right and must finally have succeeded but for the timely appearance of a part of Steedman's division of Major General Gordon Granger's corps. These troops, taking position on the right of General Brannan, did most excellent service, and ultimately prevented our right from being turned. It affords me great pleasure to refer to the grand volley firing of the regiments of my brigade on the afternoon of the 20th. I have remarked before that while occupying a part of the "key of the position" they were formed in two lines.
They were lying a little below the northern or eastern crest of the hill; the front line firing by volley would retire, when the rear would move forward and execute the same movement. Thus a continuous volley fire was kept up for some length of time. This system was resumed whenever the rebels made their appearance in force, and repulsed them on every occasion. It had never before been my fortune to witness so grand an example of effective musket firing. Twice we nearly exhausted our ammunition, but were furnished with new supplies by Major General Gordon Granger, and by Lieutenant Lyster, aide-de-camp to General King, to whom my thanks are due and most cordially extended. I should mention that soon after taking our position on the hill referred to, we were joined by about 40 men and stand of colors of the Forty-fourth Indiana Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich commanding. This little squad of men behaved most handsomely and Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich deserves great praise for his conduct. As night closed upon us the firing ceased, and my men were in the same position they had taken near midday and which they had held with such heroic tenacity. About dark we received orders to fall back to Rossville, throwing a strong line of skirmishers about 50 yards to the front with orders to remain at least one-half hour. After we had left the filed we retired quietly and in excellent order, arriving at Rossville about 11 p.m.
I may here be permitted to remark that the presence of such tried and experienced officers as Major-Generals Thomas and Gordon Granger and Brigadier-Generals Wood and Garfield at the important