War of the Rebellion: Serial 055 Page 0510 Chapter XIIII. KY.,SW.VA.,Tennessee,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA.

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The works of the enemy along the crest of the ridge consisted of a slight breastwork of logs and stones, capable, however, of strong defense. During the night much of it was transferred to the opposite side of the ridge, to be used to our advantage. As our men reached the summit they were all turned to the left, the direction of the enemy's resistance, and pressed forward after him. In this movement from the point where my right gained the top to the extreme left, ten or twelve pieces of artillery were captured. My men found them in the possession of the enemy, some with strong infantry supports. They drove him from them and passed over them in the pursuit. One of these batteries was recaptured by a rally of the enemy, but again taken by us. The credit of capturing seven of these guns is claimed by the First Brigade, and the Second claims to have taken five. It is not impossible that two are the same in the claim of each of the parties, for the men got much mingled together at the end of the assault, yet they may be distinct. Certain it is that the men of the division took ten guns out of the hands of the enemy, and that they never returned to him. A map* attached to the brigade report of General Turchin shows minutely the position of most of the batteries captured by us, and I invite attention to it. As we gained ground toward the left, we approached closely the large bodies of troops collected by the rebel commander to resist or crush General Sherman, and as the attacks of the latter had been repulsed or were suspended about the time that we commenced our assault, these men were at liberty to be used against us. The time which it took for us to mount the hill was enough for them to recover from their first surprise, and before we had gone far a strong force was found ready to confront us; each knoll was more strongly defended than the previous one. The gallant Colonel Phelps, commanding the Third Brigade, was shot dead soon after reaching the crest, in forming and directing his men, and the great number of the dead, both of our men and of the enemy left upon the ground, attests the severity of the struggle. At length, after having driven the enemy to a knoll, where he had the cover and support of the huts of one of his camps, and could be reached by us only over a long, narrow neck of ground, we found farther progress at the time impossible, and darkness put an end to the conflict. During the night, the enemy abandoned his position and retired.

While thus engaged upon the extreme left, the guns which we had captured, and which we had left in the positions where we had found them, were carried off to the rear, and we have since been unable to identify them, individually, so as to claim them. I learn that all the guns turned over to the chief of artillery have been claimed by those presenting them as their capture, leaving none for this division. I regret for the sake of the brave men who so fearlessly risked their lives in taking them that this is so, but I felt at the time that we had a higher duty to perform, as long as there was an enemy to be encountered, than that of stopping to secure trophies for exhibition after the battle. Indeed, I was not quite sure that without strenuous exertion we would be able to retain what we had already gained. In considering the evidence of these captures which I submit in behalf of my command, I trust that the general commanding will remember that the guns of the enemy being widely scattered along the ridge, very few in one spot, a brigade or division to have cap-


*See p. 515.