Kershaw agreed to conform to the movements of the latter. I hoped to insure the capture or destruction of the enemy by driving him in confusion upon the Right Wing of our army. The movement began at 3.30. Skirmishing extended along the whole lines as Deas, at the extreme left, commenced swinging. In a few minutes a terrific contest ensued, which continued at close quarters without any intermission over four hours. Our troops attacked again and again with a courage worthy of their past achievements. The enemy fought with determined obstinacy and repeatedly repulsed us, but only to be again assailed. As showing the fierceness of the fight, the fact is mentioned that on our extreme left the bayonet was used and men also killed and wounded with clubbed muskets. A little after 4 the enemy was re-enforced and advanced with loud shouts upon our right, but was repulsed by Anderson and Kershaw. At this time it became necessary to retire Garrity's battery of Anderson's brigade, which had been doing effective service. It was subsequently held in reserve. Dent's battery, of Deas' brigade, was engaged throughout the struggle. Notwithstanding the repulses of our infantry, the officers and men of this battery stood to their guns undaunted and continued firing, inflicting severe loss on the enemy and contributing largely to the success of my operations.
At 4.20 Brigadier-General Preston, of Buckner's corps, in answer to my application for help, brought me the timely and valuable re-enforcement of Kelly's brigade, and within an hour afterward the remaining brigades of his division-Gracie's and Trigg's. These brave troops as they arrived were conducted by officers of my staff to the right of my line, and promptly advanced, in conjunction with the rest upon the enemy. From this time we gained ground; but, though now commanding nine brigades with Kershaw co-operating, and all in action, I found the gain both slow and costly. I have never known Federal troops to fight so well. It is just to say, also, that I never saw Confederate soldiers fight better.
Between 7.30 and 8 p.m. the enemy was driven from his position, surrendering to the gallant Preston 600 or 700 prisoners, with 5 standards and many valuable arms. One piece of artillery, 2 or 3 wagons, and about 50 prisoners fell into the hands of Deas' brigade. This was the victorious ending of the battle of Chickamauga.
At 11 p.m., suffering much pain from an injury received about midday, I relinquished to Brigadier-General Anderson the command of my division.
The usual commendatory expressions would almost seem to cheapen the service of the officers and men of my immediate command during the day, and those who fought with us in the afternoon. The relation of what they performed ought to immortalize them.
For signal gallantly and efficiency, the army and country are indebted to Brigadier-General Preston and Johnson and their several brigade commanders; also to Brigadier-General Kershaw and the three brigade commanders of my division (Anderson, Deas, and Manigault). Without the decided success which they won on Dyer's Hill, Chickamauga would not have been a victory, unless after another day of fighting and slaughter.
On the same roll for honor should be inscribed the names of the chivalrous staff officers, the devoted officers of the regiments and companies, and the heroic rank and file.
20 R R-VOL XXX, PT II