first, open timber, then an open, smooth plain, the distance across varying from 400 to 900 yards to the first line of the enemy's rifle-pits; next, a steep ascent of about 500 yards to the top of the ridge, the face of which was rugged and covered with fallen timber; lastly, the rifle-pits on the ridge, about 250 yards from the first line of rifle-pits; at the base of the ridge was a second line of pits, commencing at a point about opposite my right center, and extending to the right.
While making my dispositions for attack, the enemy in plain view of the whole division, was making his dispositions for resistance. He marched regiments from the right, waving their blue battle-flags, and filled up the spaces in his rifle-pits not already occupied.
I had Wagner, Harker, and Sherman. Their men were veterans; they had been at Pea Ridge, Shiloh, Perryville, Stone's River, Chickamauga.
While riding from right to left, and closely examining the first line of pits occupied by the enemy, which seemed as though they would prove untenable after being carried, the doubt arose in my mind as to whether I had properly understood the original order, and I dispatched Captain Ransom, of my staff, to ascertain from General Granger whether it was the first line that was to be carried or the ridge. He had scarcely left me when the signal was given, and the division marched to the front under a most terrible tornado of shot and shell. It moved steadily on, and, emerging from the timber, took up the double-quick and dashed over the open plain and at the enemy's first line with a mass of glistening bayonets which was irresistible. Many of the enemy fled; the balance were either killed or captured. The front line of the three brigades reached the first line of pits simultaneously, passed over them, and lay down on the face of the mountain.
The enemy had now changed from shot and shell to grape and canister and musketry. The fire was terrific. About this time Captain Ransom, who had been dispatched to General Granger, as heretofore mentioned, reached the left of my division and informed General Wagner that it was the first line with severe loss. One of Harker's demi-brigades was also retired to the rifle-pits.
Captain Ransom them found me about the center of the line, and confirmed the original order; but believing that the attack had assumed a new phase, and that I could carry the ridge, I could not order those officers and men who were so gallantly ascending the hill, step by step, to return.
I rode from the center to the left, saw disappointment in the faces of the men, told them to rest for a few moments, and that they should go at it again. In the meantime the right and right center were approaching the second line of pits, led by twelve sets of regimental colors; one would be advanced a few feet, then another would move up to it, each vieing with the other to be foremost, until the entire twelve were planted on the crest of the second line of pits by their gallant bearers.
Looking to the left I saw a single regiment far over in Wood's line dash up the hill and lay down below the crest. General Hazen's men also commenced the ascent. Captain Avery, of General Granger's staff, here came up and informed me that the original order was to carry the first line of pits, but that if, in my judgment, the