The reserve companies were then deployed, and, with bayonets fixed, the whole line commenced the advance. The enemy opened fire with musketry from the breastwork, and with artillery from the main ridge, as soon as our line emerged from the woods, but in the face of both the men moved silently and steadily on, across the creek and up the slope until within about 100 paces of the breastwork, when, as the pace was quickened, the enemy broke from behind the work, and ran in some confusion down the slope into and beyond their camps, where, taking cover behind the stumps and among the huts, they opened a brisk fire on us again as soon as we gained and occupied the breastwork. Our line, now partially sheltered by the work, returned the fire with such effect as soon to drive the enemy out of the valley and up the slope of the main ridge beyond the range of our rifles. Fourteen prisoners were here captured and sent to the rear.
Our loss in this attack was severe, though probably much less than would have been suffered by troops advancing upon the work in regular order of battle. About twenty minutes after the capture of the first work, the brigade advanced from the woods, and on arriving at the work halted for a few minutes, when the order was given for a general assault upon the enemy's main defenses on Mission Ridge.
My regiment moved forward with the others of the brigade, assembling on the colors as far as it was possible to do on the way, until, in ascending the steepest part of the slope, where every man had to find or clear his own way through the entanglement, and in the face of a terrible fire of musketry and artillery, the men of the different regiment of the brigade became generally intermingled; and when the brigade finally crowned the enemy's work on the crest of the ridge, the regimental and even the company organizations had become completely merged in a crowd of gallant and enthusiastic men, who swarmed over the breastwork and charged the defenders with such promptness and vigor that the enemy broke and fled, leaving their artillery in battery, and barely getting away a portion of the caissons and limbers. Six 12-poinder Napoleon guns were thus captured by our brigade, two of them by the men of my regiment. Hardly had a lodgment in the works been gained when the enemy's reserves made a furious counter-attack upon our men, yet in confusion. This attack was promptly met by a charge en masse by the crowd, which, after a few minutes of desperate hand-to-hand fighting, cleared the ridge, leaving the place in our undisputed possession, with some 200 or 300 prisoners. The captured artillery was turned upon the retreating enemy and manned by volunteers from the different regiments, but darkness soon closed over the field and the firing ceased. The regiments were assembled, and, after collecting and caring for the dead and wounded, we bivouacked on the ridge for the night.
During the operations here recounted about 150 men of my regiment, including two entire companies (F and G), were on detached service, leaving but 15 officers and 170 men, 185 in all, present for duty; of these 1 commissioned officer was killed, 3 were wounded, and 4 enlisted men were killed and 31 wounded; total of casualties, 339, or a fraction more than 21 per cent. of the number engaged. Three of the wounded have since died. The ammunition expended averaged 52-rounds per man.
of 7 non-commissioned officers, in the color guard, all but 1 were