base of the ridge. The order was promptly repeated but reluctantly obeyed, for we left that with a little rest and strengthened by the second line the ridge could be carried. Up to this time but 2 officers and a few men of my command had been struck, and though so entirely for the moment exhausted, their enthusiasm was still high and their confidence unabated.
We fell back rapidly under a galling, and, losing several men, took refuge behind the before-mentioned rifle-pits and for a number of minutes, perhaps fifteen, lay under a most terrific cannonade sustaining but little it any loss. Two of my lieutenants and a number of my men, perhaps one-fifth, failing to comprehend the order to fall back, remained on the hill-side and rejoined their command when the second charge was made.
After remaining nearly a quarter of an hour under cover, the line was again ordered forward, advanced rapidly and gallantly across the gentle but exposed slope (300 yards) with which the acclivity begins, and then seeking shelter, began again the more toilsome ascent in the face of a bitter fire. For more than 200 yards we had slowly and laboriously worked our way up the mountain side, suffering serious loss, and beginning to feel most sensibly the exhaustion that was breaking down both officers and men, when, perceiving the line fearfully weakened by the cause just mentioned, and by the necessity of extending it to cover an arc of which our original line had been the chord, I galloped back to urge up the rear line to support us in the final struggle at the enemy's works. They, however, were on the way ere I reached them, and soon joined us, filling up the gaps in the front line, and giving fresh encouragement to the few heroic spirits who were already closing upon the rifle-pits with which the mountain crest was fringed, and from which a steady fire was still pouring down upon us.
My color sergeant was already severely wounded, the senior corporal had been killed, another had fallen down exhausted, a fourth and the last seemed scarcely able to climb farther, when, feeling the moment had come for the crowning and final effort, I took the colors and led the advance of my command the remaining 150 yards into the enemy's works as the threw down his arms and took to flight. On advancing some yards farther, I found the enemy was already in rapid retreat beyond the ridge, pushing forward his wagons and endeavoring to carry off his cannon. Halting a moment to permit the men with me to again their breath and those in the rear to come up, we then pushed immediately forward to gain a knob beyond, from which I hoped to be able to stampede and capture a wagon train still in sight.
After advancing about 300 yards, passing and leaving a guard with two brass guns, being without support, I again halted to rally around my colors a few more men, when I was joined by the Fifteenth Indiana and at the same time received orders through an orderly to retire. I sent back by the orderly the information that a large wagon train was near at hand, and asked permission to attempt its capture. Ere an answer was received General Wagner joined me and directed me to take the Fifteenth Indiana, Major White commanding, and my own regiment, and move off to the left and take possession of a battery about 300 yards distant, which the enemy were endeavoring to carry off through a ravine on my left. Placing the Twenty-sixth Ohio under command of Major Squires, and throwing out skirmishers from the Fifteenth Indiana, the command was moved rapidly to