War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0034 Chapter XIII. KY.,SW.VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA.

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when called on to rally and return to the charge. But though invariably driving the enemy with slaughter at the points assailed, they were compelled in turn to yield to the greatly superior numbers constantly brought against them. The attack on the left, promptly made as ordered, met with less resistance, much of the enemy's strength having been transferred to our right, and was successfully and vigorously followed up.

About 2 p. m., passing along the line to our left, I found we had been checked in our progress by encountering a strong position strengthened by works and obstinately defended. Unable to afford assistance from any other part of the field, written orders were immediately dispatched to Lieutenant-General Polk to again assault the enemy in his front with his whole force and to persist until he should dislodge him from his position. Directing the operations on our left to be continued, I moved again to the right and soon dispatched a staff officer to General Polk, urging a prompt and vigorous execution of my written orders.

About 4 p. m. this general assault was made and the attack was continued from right to left until the enemy gave way at different points, and finally, about dark, yielded us his line. The contest was severe, but the impetuous charge of our troops could not be resisted when they were brought to bear in full force, even where the enemy possessed all the advantage of position and breastworks. The troops were halted by their respective commanders when the darkness of the night and the density of the forest rendered further movements uncertain and dangerous, and the army bivouacked on the ground it had so gallantly won.

Both flanks having advanced more rapidly than the center, they were found confronting each other in lines nearly parallel and within artillery range. Any advance by them, especially at night, over ground so thickly wooded, might have resulted in the most serious consequences.

The enemy, though driven from from his line, still confronted us, and desultory firing was heard until 8 p. m. Other noises, indicating movements and dispositions for the morrow, continued until a late hour at night.

During the operations by the main forces on the 19th and 20th, the cavalry on the flanks was actively and usefully employed, holding the enemy in observation and threatening or assailing him as occasion offered.

From the report of Major-General Wheeler, commanding on the left, it will be seen what important service was rendered both on the 20th and 21st by his command, especially in the capture of prisoners and property and in the dispersion of the enemy's cavalry.

Brigadier-General Forrest's report will show equally gallant and valuble services by his command, on our right. Exhausted by two days' battle, with very limited supply of provisions, and almost destitute of water, some time in daylight was absolutely essential for our troops to supply these necessaries and replenish their ammunition before renewing the contest.

Availing myself of this necessary delay to inspect and readjust my lines, I moved as soon as daylight served on the 21st. On my arrival about sunrise near Lieutenant-General Polk's bivouac, I met the evervigilant Brigadier-General Liddell, commanding a division in our front line, who was awaiting the general to report that his picket this morning discovered the enemy had retreated during the night.