Regiments, having been relieved by General Butterfield, of General Hooker's staff, reported to me, and took their positions in line, thus bringing my brigade together for the first time since the morning previous.
About 9 o'clock on the morning of the 25th, my brigade was ordered to march toward Missionary Ridge. When we arrived near the pass where the enemy made the first stand, I received an order to take two regiments and ascend the hill in the left of the gap or pass.
I accordingly took the Fourth and Thirty-first and pushed rapidly to the top, meeting with but little opposition. I pushed my skirmishers forward into the valley, where I expected to find the enemy, but they had gone. I remained on the top of the ridge for a short time, until the Ninth and Thirtieth Regiments came up (the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth having been ordered by General Osterhaus to take a position on the western slope of the ridge to keep back any flanking force of the enemy which come from our left), when I went forward to the valley, and then moved out by the flank, through the gap, down the pass to be open ground, when I was ordered to make a short halt. While at the halt, 2 men of the Ninth Iowa captured Lieutenant Breckinridge, a son of Major General John C. Breckinridge, of the Confederate Army. In obedience to orders, I again proceeded up the main road by the right flank, still leaving the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth in the position which had been assigned them. The road on which I marched was up on a ridge east of and parallel with Missionary Ridge. I had not proceeded far before I heard heavy firing toward the front, on the left flank.
I immediately ordered the Fourth Regiment detached, and deployed it as skirmishers on my left flank, and soon discovered that the enemy occupied that part of Missionary Ridge where I had been but a short time before, and then moved my brigade forward, in line of battle, obliquely to the right, closing up on the First Brigade, at the same time bringing my left forward, in line with General Cruft's division on my left. I then received orders from General Osterhaus to go rapidly forward in line.
This movement was executed gallantly by the four regiments of the brigade present going down the side of the ridge we were then on and up the steep ascent of Missionary Ridge, all the time under a heavy fire from the enemy, but driving them before us.
As I ascended the hill, I was in much doubt and perplexity as to whether I might not be inflicting severe injury on my own skirmishers, and also on the right of the division on my left.
This uncertainty kept me from reaching the summit as soon as I otherwise might have done; but, notwithstanding this, I think I may justly claim that one of my regiments (the Fourth) was the first to reach the top, and that the brigade was there as soon as any other troops.
I took a great number of prisoners, but could not state accurately how many, as I ordered them to be left behind under a very small guard, while the command pushed forward, and before I could as certain the number they were turned over to the officer who seemed to be taking charge of all prisoners. The brigade captured as large a number as did any other command.
Many instances of personal bravery might be mentioned, but it must be sufficient to say that all of the regiments did well.