advance to his front, to move his brigade forward as General Deshler's support. After having advanced in this order some 200 yards, the engagement was commenced on the right, and extended to Deshler's brigade, in our front. Advancing a short distance farther, it being quite dark, a portion of this brigade became somewhat confused and fell back on our line. General Smith ordered them to move forward, which order was obeyed, and we continued to advance but a short distance when they a second time fell back on our line and were again urged forward by General Smith. Instead of moving direct to the front, they obliqued to the left and uncovered the two right regiments of General Smith's brigade. In the darkness General Smith did not know this, and a third time coming upon troops at a halt in his immediate front, presuming them to belong to General Deshler's command, he and Captain Thomas H. King, volunteer aide, rode to the front to ascertain the delay. On riding up to the line (which proved to be the enemy) and asking who was in command of these troops, he was discovered to be a Confederate officer, and he and Captain King were both killed. I at the same time was in front of my regiment, accompanied by Captain Donelson, acting assistant adjutant-general to General Smith, to know the cause of the delay of what I supposed to be a portion of General Deshler's command. Riding up to a soldier, I asked him to what command he belonged. Discovering that I was a Confederate officer he fired at me, missing me, but killing Captain Donelson, who was by my side. I immediately ordered some files form the Twelfth Tennessee Regiment to shoot him, which they did, killing him instantly. The line in front, seeing their situation, cried out, "Do not shoot; we surrender." I then rode forward and found them in the act of grounding their arms. Discovering a stand of colors in my front, I asked, "Who has those colors?" The reply was, "The color bearer." I then said, "Sir, to what command do you belong?" He replied, "To the Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment." I then took from him the stand of colors and handed them to Captain Carthel, Forty-seventh Tennessee Regiment, and ordered him to turn them, with the prisoners captured (about 300 in number), over to General Cheatham.
The reason I have been thus explicit in detailing the facts connected with the capture of the stand of colors [is because] they were claimed to have been captured by General Deshler's command.
Being informed that General Smith had been killed, I assumed the command of the brigade, the command of my regiment devolving upon Lieutenant Colonel R. W. Pitman.
After this there was no more firing of consequence. Orders were received from Major-General Cheatham to bivouac in line of battle for the remainder of the night.
On the 20th, my brigade was not actively engaged, being held as a reserve. We were, however, subjected to a heavy artillery fire, killing and wounding several men. Late in the evening we were ordered to the extreme right, where we remained until the morning of September 21. I then ordered the battalion of sharpshooters, under command of Majors Green and Purl, to deploy so as to cover the front of my brigade and move as far as the top of Missionary Ridge or discover the whereabouts of the enemy. In a short time they reported the enemy in the valley around Chattanooga. At 3 p.m. we were ordered to the extreme right of the line, and bivouacked for the night near Bird's Mill.