Report of Major J. E. Austin, Fourteenth Louisiana Battalion Sharpshooters.
HDQRS. AUSTIN'S BATTALION SHARPSHOOTERS, Before Chattanooga, September 26, 1863.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command in the engagement of the 20th instant, on the Chickamauga River:
At 6 o'clock on the morning of the 20th instant, I was ordered by Brigadier-General Adams, commanding brigade, to take my command [battalion of sharpshooters], together with four companies, viz, one from the Nineteenth Louisiana Regiment, commanded by Captain Handley; one from the Thirty-second Alabama Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Slay, and deploy in front of the brigade. This order was promptly obeyed, and my command held position about 400 yards in front of the brigade till about 8 a.m., when I was ordered forward to feel the enemy. I then placed Captain James Lingan, of Company B, this battalion, in command of the right wing of the line, and Captain Lipscomb, of the Thirteenth and Twentieth Louisiana Regiments, who had been ordered by General Adams to report to me, in command of the left wing of the line. These dispositions having been made, I ordered forward the line, and after moving about 700 yards to the front I gained a position overlooking and commanding the main Chattanooga road, along which the enemy's couriers, wagons, and ambulances were thronging. I immediately ordered Captain Lingan to open fire upon them, which he did, and they abandoned the road in the utmost confusion. Not willing to give up this avenue to his base of supplies so easily, the enemy sent a heavy line of skirmishers to protect it and drive us back, but after several vain attempts to dislodge us he was forced to fall back and relinquish the road.
The brigade was then ordered to advance, and I moved forward my command with the Thirty-second Alabama Regiment, under Major Kimbell, as a reserve. We encountered the enemy's line of battle in a thicket, extending a little to the right of Sedley's farmhouse. Here the Thirteenth and Twentieth Louisiana Regiments, occupying the extreme right of the brigade, moved rapidly forward, and, changing direction to the left, opened a furious fire upon the enemy's extreme left and drove him back in confusion, capturing some prisoners. My left was then moved forward rapidly, and Captain Lowd's company [A], this battalion, pressed the enemy so hard that he abandoned 2 pieces [brass 6-pounders] and 3 rear chests of caissons filled with ammunition. This company captured at the same time 5 commissioned officers and 81 enlisted men of the Abolition Army.
The Thirteenth and Twentieth Louisiana Regiments, Colonel Gibson commanding, then took position in line, and the brigade advanced beyond the Chattanooga road several hundred yards, halted, and the Washington Artillery, Captain Slocomb commanding, went into battery and opened fire upon the enemy's cavalry to the right.