War of the Rebellion: Serial 055 Page 0695 Chapter XLIII. THE CHATTANOOGA-RINGGOLD CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

cate through mounted men with different parts of the line; the overwhelming force of the enemy; the advantageous positions of his batteries beyond the creek; the extent and direction of my picket line, and the fact that my only outlet, when forced to retire, was across a point commanded by the Moccasin guns, all operated to produce confusion in the withdrawal of my command to a point on the east side of the mountain without the direct range of these guns. The point selected was about 400 yards from Craven's house; and here, my line extending from the road up to the cliff, about 1 p. m. I checked the enemy's advance, which was heaviest on my left, and was soon informed that re-enforcements would be sent me by a staff officer of brigadier-general commanding.

In the course of half an hour or three-quarters Brigadier-General Pettus came up with his command in fine order and moved promptly up on the line I occupied, engaging the enemy at once with spirit, and enabling me to withdraw my command and replenish my ammunition, then well nigh exhausted, from my ordnance train, which I had ordered up to the road in my rear. This done, I formed my command under cover immediately in his rear for his support at such point as it might be needed. Soon afterward, through one of his staff officers, he requested me to send him support on his left, and I immediately ordered Colonel Brantly, Twenty-ninth Mississippi Regiment, with his own regiment, the Thirtieth Mississippi, and a small detachment of Thirty-fourth, to support this part of his line, and in a few moments the remainder of my command was moved up to strengthen the line, which along its whole length was hotly engaged. I directed Colonel Brantly to advance his left as far as it could be done without leaving an interval between his line and the cliff, so as to get the benefit of an oblique fire upon the line which was pressing upon us. This order was executed with that officer's characteristic promptness.

In the meantime orders were received from Major-General Stevenson, through Major Ingram, of the staff of brigadier-general commanding, to hold the line then occupied till re-enforcements should arrive, when an advance would be made and the forces on the mountain would co-operate, and from brigadier-general commanding, through a staff officer, that the position would be held as long as possible, and if forced to retire that I would fall back up the mountain.

Later in the evening an order reached me from the latter to hold my position, if possible, till ordered to retire. General Pettus' command and my own held the position all the afternoon (during the most of which time it was so hazy and misty that objects could not be well distinguished except at a short distance) and until long after nightfall, when, having been relieved by Colonel Holtzclaw with his brigade, I withdrew my command to the road leading down the mountain in the rear, and there remained till about 11 o'clock, when, under orders from Major-General Cheatham, I moved my command to McFarland's Spring, where it passed the remainder of the night.

At no time during this prolonged struggle, whose object was to prevent the occupation by the enemy first of the important point near Craven's house, and afterward the only road down the mountain leading from Major-General Stevenson's position to the main body of the army, did I have the benefit of my division commander's personal presence. Reference has been made to such orders as reached me from him. After I was relieved, and while awaiting orders to