Report of Colonel R. H. Keeble, Twenty-third Tennessee Infantry.
HDQRS. TWENTY-THIRD TENNESSEE REGIMENT, September 28, 1863.
SIR: On the morning of the 17th, our brigade, being at or near Ringgold, Ga., was ordered to be in readiness to move upon the Ringgold road. Having moved upon the road toward Ringgold, about 2.30 or 3 o'clock we were informed that the enemy were on the opposite (north) side of Ringgold and advancing upon the place. Hastening the march, we formed line of battle on the south side of Ringgold, my right resting upon the left of the Twenty-fifth Tennessee, the Seventeenth Tennessee being upon my left. I formed in a skirt of woods facing town, and immediately threw forward skirmishers on the opposite side. The enemy,however, were repulsed with our artillery, and we remained in position quietly until next morning.
On Friday, the 18th instant, I took up the line of march, left in front, following the Seventeenth Tennessee. We followed the enemy in the direction of Chattanooga, and found them near the junction of the Graysville and La Fayette and Ringgold and Chattanooga roads. At this point I formed line of battle along the Graysville and La Fayette road, the Twenty-fifth being on my right and Seventeenth Tennessee on my left. We formed about 10 o'clock in the morning and moved upon them in line of battle, skirmishing with them all the way until we reached the Chickamauga River.
Before reaching the river, however, the Seventeenth Tennessee was detached and moved to support a battery, thus throwing my regiment upon the extreme left of the line, coming to open space in front of the river, my left resting upon the road running across the bridge. My skirmishers were now hotly engaged with the enemy at the bank of the river, and I was suffering from the effects of the enemy's fire, when all at once, without a command, the regiment with one accord charged the river and bridge at double-quick and put the enemy to flight. My skirmishers were immediately ordered across the river and thrown forward. I then moved by the left flank across the bridge and immediately formed line of battle upon my left company, the Twenty-fifth Tennessee forming upon my right when across. The brigade then moved by the right flank 300 or 400 yards and halted, the Seventeenth in the meantime having crossed and formed upon my left. We then advanced in line 300 or 400 yards, and made a left wheel over the crest of a hill where it was supposed the enemy had rallied. They had, however, left the field. We then moved by the flank, left in front, about 3 miles, when information was received that the enemy were in our front and to our right. We then moved by the right flank (throwing us in line of battle) about 300 yards; changed front forward left battalion (Seventeenth Tennessee), and rested upon our arms during the night.
We had on this day 28 officers and 158 non-commissioned officers and privates, and lost in the charge upon the bridge 5
non-commissioned officers and privates, among whom was the color bearer (Private A. Melton), wounded in the leg. This brave soldier wept when he had to part with the colors, and said to the one who took them up, "Carry them through the thickest of battle ahead of everything else."