junior, Brigadier-General Steedman, who had had difficulty in his previous situation; this, too, against the wishes of Major-General Granger, commanding that corps. The order superseding me in this division does not replace me where I was, but, coming at the close of a great battle in which my troops had taken a prominent part, is liable to a construction greatly to my disadvantage. My loss in killed and wounded attests the determination with which my men fought. The number captured upon Saturday was large, but had not the major-general commanding found it necessary for the good of the whole army to change, without my knowledge, the disposition I had made to provide against a flank attack, it would not have been so. On Sunday I posted my men, I think, judiciously, and covered them with a hastily constructed breastwork, which enabled them to withstand assaults more furious than were elsewhere made upon our lines, and I could have held my position indefinitely had not other portions of the line been compelled to retire. My loss upon this day occurred in retiring, under orders, whilst terribly assailed and after every soldier upon my right had been withdrawn.
It is unpleasant to be compelled to speak of one's own acts, but left alone upon the left extreme of the army, having no superior with whom to consult, I believe that it was through my personal exertions in begging troops wherever I could get them or find them idle, and in throwing them in either in my front or left, which made a right angle with the front, and in withdrawing them as soon as the work was done to be ready to support the next point attacked, that our army was saved from destruction at an early hour in the day. Another in my place would have done as well, but had not some one been there to watch for and meet the assaults upon our left, it would have been doubled back upon the right and the army destroyed before 2 o'clock. If the major-general commanding has serious charges against me, I would be glad to know what they are, that I might meet them; if not, or if I have done anything worthy of his approbation, I trust that my being thrown out of command may be placed upon such ground as will not do me discredit.
I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Chattanooga, Tenn., September 25, 1863.
During the time General Baird has had command of the First Division he has managed it entirely to my satisfaction, exhibiting great ability and capacity for command.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
Order of thanks. Compliment to be issued to General Baird.*
W. S. R.,
*See Part I, p.281.