But nothing could restrain the impetuosity of the troops. In a few moments after Willich's brigade had carried Orchard Knob, Hazen's skirmishers poured over the enemy's barricades.
The Twenty-eight Alabama, with its flag, was captured almost entire.
I respectfully refer to the report of Brigadier-General Hazen for a more detailed narrative of this gallant and successful assault.
Among the killed we have to mourn the loss of Major Birch,
Ninety-third Ohio, who was killed line while gallantly leading his regiment to the charge.
So soon as the knob and barricades were carried, the enemy fled to take shelter in his intrenchments at the base of Missionary Ridge.
Beatty's brigade, though not playing, so distinguished a part as either of the other two brigades, was doing good service in the post assigned him. Following the left of Willich's brigade, so soon as the knob was carried, some of Beatty's regiments were brought forward to occupy a portion of the rifle-pits to the left of Willich's position. The remainder of the brigade was held in reserve.
Shortly after the successful dash General Granger, commanding the Fourth Army Corps, joined me at Orchard Knob. Personal observation assured him of the extensiveness and completeness of our success. The result being reported to General Thomas, commanding the department, he ordered that the position should be held and intrenched. Soon the men were engaged in this work. While so employed, the enemy opened a most terrific of shot and shell on us from several batteries established on Missionary Ridge. It was continued nearly an hour-in fact, until toward nightfall. It seems almost a miracle, but it is nevertheless true, that no damage was inflicted by the enemy's artillery. One man only was very slightly wounded by the fragment of a shell.
While my division was engaged in intrenching its position, the Eleventh Army Corps was ordered to take position on my left. The resistance it met in its front from the enemy in his rifle-pits rendered its progress slow. Two regiments of Beatty's brigade were deployed to the left, to take the rifle-pits in flank, drive out the enemy's skirmishers there from, and relieve the pressure on the front of the Eleventh Corps. This service was quickly and handsomely done, but the Eleventh Corps neglecting to occupy the rifle-pits the enemy returned to them. It was, hence, necessary for the two regiments of Beatty's brigade to render the service over again Tuesday morning, the 24th.
The whole of the night of the 23rd was spent in intrenching our position. In this laborious service the troops evinced as much fortitude as they had shown gallantry in gaining the position. Not only was line of rifle-pits and barricades constructed along the entire front of the division during the night, but a stout epaulement for a six-gun field battery was thrown upon the summit of Orchard Knob. Bridgess' battery, of our 3 1/2-inch Rodman and two Napoleons, was placed in position during the night of the 23d. The early light of Tuesday morning disclosed to the anxious of the rebels such works as must have convinced them we intended to hold the position won the day before. Perchance they saw in this evident intention the prognostic of further and more extensive operations, to be attended by more distinguished and important results. I must refer to the report of General Beatty, commanding Third Brigade of my division, for a full report of the movements of his command in the operations of the 23d.