of the finest troops of El Re Galantuomo. The pageant was held on the plains of Milan, the queen city of Lombardy, and the troops in the sham conflict were commanded by two of the most distinguished officers of the Piedmontese service, Cialdini and another, whose name I cannot now recall. In none of these displays did I ever see anything to exceed the soldierly bearing and the steadiness of my division, exhibited in the advance of Monday afternoon, the 23d. There was certainly one striking difference in the circumstances of these grand displays. The French and Italian parades were peaceful pageants; ours involved the exigencies of stern war; certainly an immense difference.
I should do injustice to the brave men who then moved forward to the conflict in such perfect order were I to omit to record that not one straggler lagged behind to sully the magnificence and perfectness of the grand battle array. From Fort Wood to the railroad the country is open; south of the railroad the country passed over is partly open and partly wooded. Hazen's brigade had to pass over the open field, several hundred yards in breadth, and Willich's through the woods. On the southern side of the field the enemy's first line of pickets was posted. The skirmishers were instructed to pass forward, so soon as the advance was sounded, as rapidly as possible, and drive in the enemy's out line of pickets on their reserves. This service was excellently performed. To the proper understanding of the subsequent movements of the division some explanatory remarks are necessary.
Orchard Knob, given in the order directing the reconnaissance as the guiding point, is a step, craggy knoll, rising some hundred feet above the general level of the Valley of Chattanooga. It is 2,100 yards from Ford Woot. The rebels had held the knob as an outpost since the investment was first established. A position naturally so strong they had done little to strengthen by intrenchments on its summit. To the right of Orchard Knob, looking to the south, a rocky, abrupt, wooded ridge extends several hundred yards toward the southwest. It is not so elevated as the knob. The enemy had formed rude but strong barricades on the northern slope just below the crest of this ridge. To the left of the knob, still looking to the south, a long line of rifle-pits extended away off to the northeast, and trending round reached almost to Citico Creek. Orchard Knob was the citadel of this line of intrenchments. General Willich was ordered to direct his brigade on the knob, and General Hazen his brigade on the intrenchments on the right of it. So soon as the skirmishers moved forward the enemy opened fire. Across the open field and through the woods the skirmishers kept up a sharp rattling fire, steadily and rapidly driving in the enemy. As the knob and intrenchments were neared the fire became hotter, the resistance of the rebels more determined; but the majestic advance of our lines was not for a moment staved. Finally, Willich's brigade, which had met with less opposition than Hazen's, having arrived quite near the knob, "by a bold burst" ascended its steep acclivity, crowned its summit, and it was ours.
Reference is made to the report of Brigadier-General Willich for a more full description of this brilliant feat of arms.
In the meantime, Hazen's brigade was encountering a determined resistance from the enemy, sheltered by his breastworks, on the rocky ridge to the right. For a few moments the fire was sharp and destructive. More than a hundred casualties in the leading regiment attest the severity of the fire.