the balance of the latter closely supporting the front line. It was, however, soon found that the ridge on top was too narrow to admit of this formation, and the division was thrown into four lines. By this time the divisions of Geary and Osterhaus were abreast of it, and all advanced at a charging pace.
The enemy had selected for his advance line of defense the breastworks thrown up by our army on its return from Chickamauga, but such was the impetuosity of our advance that his front line was routed before an opportunity was afforded him to prepare for a determined resistance. Many of the fugitives, to escape, ran down the east slope to the lines of Osterhaus, a few to the west,and were picked up by Geary. The bulk of them, however, sought refuge behind the second line, and they, in their turn, were soon routed, and the fight became almost a running one. Whenever the accidents of the ground enabled the rebels to make an advantageous stand, Geary and Osterhaus,always in the right place, would pour a withering fire into their flanks, and again the race was renewed. This continued until near sunset, when those of the enemy who had not been killed or captured gave way, and in attempting to escape along the ridge, ran into the arms of Johnson's division, of the Fourteenth Corps, and were captured.
Our enemy, the prisoners stated, was Stewart's division. But few escaped. Osterhaus alone captured 2,000 of them. This officer names the Fourth Iowa, Seventy-sixth Ohio, and Twenty-seventh Missouri Regiments as having been especially distinguished in this engagement. Landgraeber's battery of howitzers also rendered brilliant service on this field.
Here our business for the day ended, and the troops went into bivouac, with cheers and rejoicing, which were caught up by other troops in the vicinity and carried along the ridge until lost in the distance.
Soon after daylight every effort was made, by reconnaissance and inquiry, to ascertain the whereabouts of the enemy, but to no purpose. The field was as silent as the grave. Knowing the desperate extremities to which he must be reduced by our success, with his retreat seriously threatened by the only line left him with a hope of success, I felt satisfied the enemy must be in full retreat, and accordingly suggested to the commander of the department that my column march to Graysville, if possible, to intercept him. This was approved of, and, re-enforced by Palmer's corps, all moved immediately in that direction, Palmer's corps in advance.
On arriving at the West Fork of the Chickamauga River, it was found that the enemy had destroyed the bridge. To provide for this contingency, Major-General Butterfield, my chief of staff, had in the morning prudently requested that three pontoons, with their balks and cheeses, might be dispatched for my use, but as they had
not come up, after a detention of several hours, a bridge was constructed for the infantry, the officers swimming their horses. It was not until after 3 o'clock the regiments were able to commence crossing, leaving the artillery and ambulances to follow as soon as practicable; also a regiment of infantry as a guard, to complete the bridge, if possible, for the artillery, and also to assist in throwing over the pontoon bridge as soon as it arrived. Partly in consequence of this delay, instructions were given for Palmer's command to continue on to Graysville on reaching the La Fayette road, and for the balance of the command to proceed to Ringgold (Cruft now leading),