and Sheridan's divisions struggling and fighting their way up the hill to their right, in some places having gained the crest, in others almost to the top, and the flag of the Eighty-sixth Indiana proudly waving within 20 feet off the crest of one of the hills, its brave defenders unable to advance without assistance and determined never to fall back.
When the bugle did sound, and Colonel Hays gave the command forward, one wild yell went up, and forward they swept, over an open plain, through the camp of the enemy, and gained the foot of the ridge under a terrible enfilading fire of artillery from Tunnel Hill, knocking down the huts of the enemy's camp and tearing up the ground in every direction, but the men never wavered or faltered. when the foot of the hill had been gained and ascent commenced, the line of battle was lost, the strongest men got the right of the regiment and went first, and the weakest men formed the left of the regiment. In fact, they were not formed according to letters of their companies, but in accordance with individual strength. Many fell going up the hill as if exhausted, but would rest a moment, take a sup of water from a mountain stream, and then forward again. Having reached the top of the ridge and driven the enemy from their first line of works toward Tunnel Hill, Colonel W. H. Hays, in obedience to orders from General Baird in person, formed the regiment with this brigade about 150 yards, when the enemy were again discovered in force and making another stand.
They drove back our skirmishers, when Colonel Hays rapidly formed the regiment on the right of Colonel Van Derveer's brigade, in an open field on a plateau, about 30 yards from a gorge which divided the ridge we were on and the one on which the enemy were posted, and opened on them a destructive fire, but they continued to advance, when the regiment was ordered to charge up to the gorge, which it did in splendid style, which caused the enemy to waver. At the same moment the other regiments of our brigade, having gained the hill, charged down the ridge to the left of the Second Brigade, and the enemy broke and fled precipitately. This fight did not last more than twenty-five minutes, yet for that time it was very hot. The officers and men behaved with great courage, many refusing to take cover when ordered to do so. The fighting closed at or near 5.30 p. m., and it had scarcely ended when Captain McClurg, acting assistant adjutant-general, Third Division, brought the sad intelligence that the gallant Colonel Phelps had fallen at the head of his brigade, and also ordered Colonel Hays, as the ranking officer, to assume command of the brigade, which he did, leaving the regiment under my command. In this engagement our loss was very slight, 2 killed and 10 wounded, a list* of which will be hereunto appended.
We bivouacked for the night where we had fought. The morning of the 26th was spent in burying the dead and caring for the wounded. At 3 p. m. we again moved to the front in support of the pursuing columns, stopping for the night on West Chickamauga Creek, about 8 miles from this place.
On the 27th, we caught up with the advance of the army at Ringgold.
On the 28th, we aided the other regiments of our brigade in destroying four railroad bridges over East Chickamauga Creek, and tearing up 1 mile of the railroad.