superior rank to myself, I assumed command of the left wing. In this order we moved forward under a destructive cross-fire from the enemy's artillery, about 200 yards, when he opened upon us with musketry. Our men advanced steadily, returning the fire, but at great disadvantage, as the enemy was crouched within his
rifle-pits, at the summit of the ridge. This was trying moment, but our men slowly advanced, seizing upon every available object to screen themselves from the deadly aim of the foe. Matters stood thus, when Lieutenant-Colonel Young, of the Twenty-sixth Ohio, who was gallantly superintending the movements of the center, informed me that the order was to fall back to the rifle-pits. This order, though doubtless given for the best of military reasons, was very unfortunate, as we were then so near the base of the ridge that the enemy's artillery could do us no harm, and his musketry but little. Most of the men obeyed the order reluctantly, as it would subject them again to that murderous cross-fire which had killed and wounded so many of their comrades.
We remained at the rifle-pits about 15 minutes, when we received the order of the general commanding to move forward. The line moved in good order and with promptness to about the point it occupied when ordered back, when the Fifteenth and Fortieth Indiana came up splendidly to our assistance, giving fresh courage and hope to our thinned and exhausted line. Soon "forward" was heard ringing above the din of battle, when the line moved steadily forward, fighting every inch of the way to the top of the ridge, killing and capturing many of the enemy in their rifle-pits, so stubborn was their resistance and so confident were they in the strength of their position. Mission Ridge was ours. There it stands, and will stand to the end of time, a towering monument of glory to the discipline and courage of the American volunteer soldier.
I immediately organized my regiment and by order of the commanding general pushed on in pursuit of the retreating enemy, but had not further engagement with him.
In conclusion, I congratulate the officers of the regiment for their coolness and courage in the hour of danger for the splendid manner in which they handled their men on the battle-field. Particularly am I under obligations to Major Blanch and Adjutant Smith, both of whom were mounted and showed a reckless disregard of danger and rendered me great service during the action. The major, though severely wounded, when we were about half way up the ridge, remained with us until after nightfall, and then only went to the rear to assist in gathering up our wounded men.
The enlisted men have my most heartfelt thanks for their gallantry and soldierly bearing on that day. When all are alike distinguished it is improper to make invidious distinctions.
My loss was 2 killed and 90 wounded, many of whom were mortally, and have already died. We captured 124 prisoners.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. W. LENNARD,
Captain H. C. TINNEY,