which did not come up to a line with us, though our division had twice cleared the rifle-pits in their front.
The position above indicated we held during the afternoon of the 23d, 24th, and the former part of the 25th of November.
At 9 a.m. on the 25th, under orders, our pickets drove the enemy back to their rifle-pits at the foot of Missionary Ridge. At 11 a.m. I received an order to prepare for an advance, and to advance toward Missionary Ridge at the signal of six rapid cannon shots.
I understand since that the order was given to take only the
rifle-pits at the ridge; by what accident, I am unable to say, I did not understand it so; I only understood the order to advance.
I formed the brigade, the first line, Fifteenth Ohio, Forty-ninth Ohio, Twenty-fifth Illinois, Thirty-fifth Illinois; second line, Thirty-second Indiana, Eighty-ninth Illinois, Eighth Kansas,
Sixty-eighth Indiana; last reserve, Fifteenth Wisconsin. Both lines deployed on account of the heavy artillery fire we were exposed to.
On the given signal the brigade advanced in quick time, but shell and spherical case fell very thick, and all the regiments
double-quicked until they reached the rebel rifle-pits and camps at the foot of the ridge, driving the enemy's infantry before them, all his artillery being on the crest of the ridge. It was evident to every one that to stay in this position would be certain destruction and final defeat; every soldier felt the necessity of saving the day and the campaign by conquering, and every one saw instinctively that the only place of safety was in the enemy's works on the crest of the ridge.
My adjutant, Captain Schmitt, was already at the extreme left. I sent my aide, Lieutenant McGrath, and ordnance officer, Lieutenant Foot (who on this occasion was wounded by a shell), to different regiments, I myself, with my inspector, Lieutenant Green, went to the Eight Kansas,a nd the command forward was soon heard all along the lines, though I verily believe that even without any command the regiments would have stormed, as a great number of skirmishers were already climbing up the ridge before the command was given.
The part of the ridge which fell to the share of my brigade formed a kind of a crescent; two roads,one on the right, one on the left, leading up the hill, there joining with the roads on the crest of their ridge and forming the main road to Chickamauga Station, the only good line of retreat of the enemy.
The ascent was (in the closer quarters) defended by one battery to the right and two batteries to the left, on two different sallying points.
Many men fell down exhausted in climbing up under the enemy's fire, some fainted, but irresistible was the general advance.
What so often is uttered in eloquent speeches in comfortable salons, in State houses, and in halls of Congress, "Victory or death," was here an uncomfortable reality. The right of the brigade reached first, and mounted the enemy's breastworks, consisting of men from all the regiments of the center and right. From these works they had to charge the rallying enemy and received the fire from the batteries on the right and on the left. The battery on the right was taken in a very few moments by the right of mine and the left of General Hazen's brigade. The Thirty-second Indiana and Sixth Ohio claim the honor of being the first to plant their colors on the crest; but a few moments [elapsed] and all the colors of the brigade were in the enemy's works. The Thirty-fifth Illinois, Twenty-fifth Illinois, supported