Report of Major James C. Gordon, Second Battalion, First Georgia
NEAR MISSIONARY RIDGE,
October 4, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of operations of Second Battalion, First (Confederate) Regiment Georgia Volunteers, in the battle of Chickamauga, on Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20:
First day (Saturday, 19th) I carried into action about 165 men.
I formed into line according to instructions from brigade commander in my proper place, Fifth Georgia Regiment on my left and Scogin's battery on my right. Immediately I was ordered forward. I had advanced my line of battle about 150 to 200 yards, when we met the advancing columns of the enemy, who immediately opened fire on us. I remained in this position about thirty minutes under a heavy fire from the enemy's small-arms, at the same time steadily firing into them, both officers and men behaving gallantly, when his lines gave way. I followed them for about one-fourth of a mile, passing their original line, where their baggage was piled up, when they made a stand, fighting for about an hour, as near as I could judge, when they gave way the second time. I pursued them again for several hundred yards, when they made another stand, fighting for some time, when an order was given for the command to fall back. By whom the order was given I have not been able to ascertain. The men being well nigh out of ammunition, the command began a retrograde movement, and moved back some several hundred yards, when they were rallied and moved forward again, fighting valiantly the whole time until the ammunition was entirely exhausted, when (after having received orders to do so) I brought the command off in good order to near our original line of battle. A short while afterward the enemy advanced on us, but with the assistance of a battery planted on the left of our brigade they were gallantly repulsed. Later and near sunset they advanced on us again, but just then re-enforcements having arrived (being, I learned, a part of Cleburne's division) they were again repulsed and driven from that part of the field. The line then established by our brigade was in advance of and covering the greater portion of the field we had fought over during the day.
My officers and men all acted gallantly and did their part well with a very few exceptions. I can only regret the retrograde movement made early in the day when there was really no necessity for it, and can only offer as an excuse that the men were well nigh out of ammunition and had been looking when that supply was exhausted they could not bear the enemy's fire and would be compelled to fall back, and when they heard an order given to fall back, they did so without waiting to know where the order started. The regiment on my right had begun a backward movement, as also did the one on my left. Each had gone some distance before my command began the backward movement. However, in justice to the command on my right, I would say that they did not move back as far as we did until they halted, made a stand, and fought most valiantly. The movement of the command on my left was, however, about the same as my own.
My loss in this day's engagement was about 9 killed, 26 severely wounded, and 31 slightly wounded.