War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0154 KY., SW., VA., TENN., MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLII

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division in a westerly direction across the Chickamauga River at Thedford's Ford, and having received orders to report to Lieutenant-General Polk, commanding the right wing of the army, I did so, and was directed by him to form a second line in rear of the right of the line already in position. Accordingly, soon after sunset my division was formed partially en echelon about 300 yards in rear of the right of the first line. My right rested in front of a steam saw-mill, known as Jay's Mill, situated on a small stream running between the Chickamauga and the road leading from Chattanooga to La Fayette. My line extended from the saw-mill almost due south for nearly a mile, fronting to the west. Polk's brigade, with Calvert's battery (commanded by Lieutenant Thomas J. Key), composed my right wing; Wood's brigade, with Semple's battery, my center, and Deshler's brigade, with Douglas' battery, my left wing.

I now received orders from Lieutenant-General Hill to advance (passing over the line which had been repulsed) and drive back the enemy's left wing. In my front were open woods, with the exception of a clearing (fenced in) in front of my center, the ground sloping upward as we advanced. Ordering the brigades to direct themselves by Wood's (the center) brigade and preserve brigade distance, I moved forward, passing over the first line,and was in a few moments heavily engaged along my right and center. The enemy, posted behind hastily constructed breastworks, opened a heavy fire of both small-arms and artillery. For half an hour the firing was the heaviest I had ever heard. It was dark, however, and accurate shooting was impossible. Each party was aiming at the flashes of the other guns, and few of the shot from either side took effect. Major Hotchkiss, my chief of artillery, placed Polk's and Wood's artillery in position in the cleared field in front of my center. Availing themselves of the noise and the darkness, Captain Semple and Lieutenant Key ran their batteries forward within 60 yards of the enemy's line and opened a rapid fire. Polk pressed forward at the same moment on the right, when the enemy ceased firing and quickly disappeared from my front. There was some confusion at the time, necessarily inseparable, however, from a night attack. This, and the difficulty of moving my artillery through the woods in the dark, rendered a farther advance inexpedient for the night. I consequently halted, and, after readjusting my lines, threw out skirmishers a quarter of a mile in advance and bivouacked.

In this conflict the enemy was driven back about a mile and a half. He left in my hands 2 or 3 pieces of artillery, several caissons, 200 or 300 prisoners, and the colors of the Seventy-seventh Indiana and those of the Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania.

At about 10 o'clock next morning, I received orders from Lieutenant-General Hill to advance and dress on the line of General Breckinridge, who had been placed on my right. Accordingly, directing each brigade to dress upon the right and preserve its distance, I moved forward. Breckinridge was already in motion. The effort to overtake and dress upon him caused hurry and some confusion in my line, which was necessarily a long one. Before the effects of this could be rectified, Polk's brigade and the right of Wood's encountered the heaviest artillery fire I have ever experienced. I was now within short canister range of a line of log breastworks, and a hurricane of shot and shell swept the woods from the unseen enemy in my front. This deadly fire was direct, and came from that part of the enemy's breastworks opposite to my right and right center.