War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0251 Chapter XLII. THE CHICKAMAUGA CAMPAIGN.

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Numbers 324.

Report of Brig. General St. John R. Liddell, C. S. Army, commanding division.


CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the action of my division, consisting of Walthall's and Govan's brigades, and constituting a portion of the reserve, at the battle of Chickamauga:

About 2 p.m. on Friday, September 18, I was ordered by Major-General Walker to take Alexander's Bridge, across the Chickamauga. The reconnaissance I made was a very hasty and imperfect one, and relying chiefly upon the information obtained from General Pegram, I instructed Brigadier-General Walthall, of my division, to make an attack upon the enemy, in possession of the bridge. This was promptly executed, and in three-quarters of an hour we had it in possession. The force in our front consisted of Wilder's mounted infantry, from whom were captured a half dozen or more breech-loading rifles.

Our loss was 105 in killed and wounded, and I can only account for this disproportion from the efficiency of this new weapon, our attack having been made through thick woods and cedar underbrush, rendering the artillery of the enemy that was used on the occasion comparatively harmless.

The bridge having been torn up, prevented our crossing at that point, and making a detour of about 1 1/2 miles northward we effected a crossing at Byram's Ford, continuing thence our movement to a position nearly one-half mile in front of Alexander's Bridge, where we bivouacked for the night on the same ground occupied by a portion of the enemy in our attack on the bridge.

The next morning [the 19th], about daylight, we continued our movement in the same direction [toward Lee and Gordon's Mills], for about 1 1/2 miles farther, where we halted for further instructions.

About 8 o'clock the firing of General Forrest's cavalry and Ector's and Wilson's brigades became very heavy in the rear of the direction we were taking and on the right of our intended line of battle. The country around was mostly oak woodland, and in places thick underbrush.

About 11 o'clock Major-General Walker asked me to go with him on a reconnaissance to know what the demonstration meant then being made on our right. After proceeding northward 1 1/2 miles, we found the enemy pressing back General Ector's and Colonel Wilson's brigades, the latter more or less in confusion, and other evidence of attack, making it apparent that a heavy force was bearing down upon us. I replied to General Walker's inquiry as to what I thought of it, "that I was satisfied a corps of the enemy was about being thrown forward to turn our right wing, which it was absolutely necessary for us to meet promptly with heavy re-enforcements." He agreed with me in this opinion and immediately wrote the same to General Bragg. At the same time orders were received by him from General Bragg to attack the enemy immediately with all his force, upon which he instructed me to bring up my force to the relief of the two brigades already mentioned, and to retard, if possible, the farther progress of the enemy.