in the direction of the enemy. Our lines very soon became separated and the rear line found itself confronted by the enemy, posted in strong position on the crest of a high ridge. We immediately charged upon him and drove him from his position and occupied the crest ourselves, capturing several prisoners. In this charge our loss in wounded was severe, but we lost none killed, excepting Major Broaddus, who received a fatal shot through the neck.
The knowledge of his death stung every heart with bitter grief. As an officer and soldier he was the pride of the regiment; as a Christian and a patriot he had no superior; as a man he was beloved by all who knew him. His loss to his friends, the regiment, and the service, is irreparable.
We maintained the admirable position we had gained from about 1 o'clock until after 4, under one of the most terrible fires on record; it was emphatically a hand-to-hand musketry fight. Time and again did the enemy charge upon our lines in superior force, of the getting as near as 20 or 30 yards, but he was as often hurled back into the ravine from which he vainly struggled to ascend.
After maintaining this fearful contest for more than three hours an overwhelming force was thrown against our left wing, which left us no alternative but to retire or be overpowered and captured. Such a shower of grape, canister, and musket-balls as was at this time poured over the regiment can hardly be imagined. We put forth every energy in our power to drive back, or at least hold in check, the massive columns that moved steadily against us, but in vain. Our only salvation was in retreat. The order was reluctantly given and still more reluctantly obeyed. While communicating this order I received a severe wound in my left [arm]. I nevertheless conducted the regiment to the crest of another ridge some 300 yards to the rear. This retreat was made and the line reformed under a heavy fire, without the least disorder, when we resumed our fire with the same determined energy as before. I remained with the regiment for nearly half an hour after I received the wound, when I became so much exhausted from loss of blood as to be compelled to leave the field, having first committed the command of the regiment to Adjt.
George Green, which was done with the consent of all his superior officers because of his recent election as major, in consideration of the resignation of Colonel Benneson and the consequent promotion of the other field officers. The regiment could not have been committed to better hands. During the entire engagement he exhibited the most undaunted courage and perfect self-possession. He took command with the composure of a veteran and a hero, and kept the regiment at is deadly work until darkness put an end to the strife, when he withdrew it in perfect order to Rossville. I should very much like to mention the gallant conduct of different officers, but to mention one would involve the necessity of mentioning all, for every one did his duty, his whole duty, and nothing but his duty, and did it most nobly.
The soldiers, too, were not a whit behind the officers in the gallant and noble discharge of their whole duty. Sufficient to say that our hearts were all filled with gratitude and pride to know that, having been most severely tried, not one craven or coward [is] to be found in our ranks; there were no stragglers from the Seventy-eighth Illinois. We went into action with about 370 men [Company F having been previously detailed to guard the field hospital], and we lost in killed, wounded, and missing 142 men, besides 54 that were taken prisoners while doing picket duty Monday night.