Early in the morning of the 25th, I issued orders to my divisions, in accordance with General Thomas' instructions, to conform to the movements of General Sherman; as he moved forward along the ridge, I was to advance and complete my connection with him. In order to effect this, after hearing that he had reached the tunnel of the East Tennessee railroad, I directed General Steinwehr to push forward his left till it rested on this railroad, which he accomplished with very little opposition. During the whole morning, from daylight, the enemy were seen marching along the crest of Mission Ridge toward General Sherman's position.
At 9.45 a.m. an order was received by me to march toward General Sherman, looking out well for my right flank. An aide from General Grant urged me to hasten, as General Sherman needed reenforcements.
At 10.45 a.m., my head of column arrived at the pontoon bridge, where I halted and massed my troops, starting to report in person to General Sherman. He sent me the order through Lieutenant-Colonel Meysenburg, of my staff, and afterward repeated it to me, to take post on his left, closing a space that had just been left vacant by troops that had been pushed farther to the right in support of the main attack along the ridge.
The corps was placed as directed, its left resting on Chickamauga Creek near Boyce's Station, and its front well covered by a good line of skirmishers. The right rested high up the ridge, on a work constructed and occupied by a part of General Blair's corps. Here again, my troops covered themselves with breastworks. The report that General Sherman had reached the tunnel was premature.
Instead of finding a continuous ridge of land, as one would suppose, looking from Chattanooga, that portion of Mission Ridge north of the East Tennessee railroad is broken into transverse ridges, with deep ravines between them. The enemy's troops had possession of the first ridge or hill north of the tunnel, on my arrival, and a fierce contest was going on between them and the attacking party for its possession.
Colonel Buschbeck's brigade, or rather a part of it, as General Steinwehr had detained two of his regiments with him, was bearing a part in this action. Having been assigned to General Ewing, this brigade went into action with that of Colonel Loomis, of Ewing's division. The conduct of the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania, under Lieutenant-Colonel McAlloon, was most highly complimented.
The main attack was along the crest of the ridge, and Colonel Loomis was trying to support it by a movement from the front. McAllon actually led his regiment up that steep acclivity, 500 or 600 feet high, under a terrific fire of grape and musketry, and staid there till he was mortally wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Taft* behaved with equal intrepidity with the Seventy-third Pennsylvania, till he was killed. His troops drove the enemy from some buildings and held them. Subsequently, after his death, some of his company commanders culpably allowed themselves and many of their men to be taken by the enemy. It is alleged in excuse for them that they exhausted their ammunition; that Colonel Loomis left their flank exposed, and their position was turned.
General Sherman did not succeed in dislodging, the enemy, but these vigorous assaults served to accumulate against us a heavy
*Of the One hundred and forty-third New York; in temporary command of the Seventy-third Pennsylvania.