also ordered to leave 300 men at Charleston, in conformity with which I ordered the Thirty-eighth Tennessee Regiment, commanded by Colonel John C. Carter, and my provost guard, under command of Lieutenant Richardson, to remain, making an effective force of about 300. Colonel Carter assumed command of the post and maintained his position under the severest test to which a soldier can be subjected with the highest constancy, gallantry, and firmness, until pressed by a column of the enemy, under General Sherman, numbering 15,000 or 16,000, when he reluctantly retreated toward Knoxville and successfully joined Lieutenant-General Longstreet in East Tennessee, after having destroyed the bridges at Charleston and Loudon behind him. The zeal, ability, and courage with which he conducted his isolated command out of the difficulties which environed him cannot be too highly commended. I refer you to his report, herewith submitted, for a full and accurate statement of his operations.*
On the arrival of the other portion of my command, numbering four small regiments, as Chickamauga Station, I was met with an order from Colonel Brent to proceed at once to the mouth of the Chickamauga to resist any attempt the enemy might make at crossing the river at that point, leaving a regiment to guard the railroad bridge and Shallow Ford (B).
In consequence of the weakness of my command, after mature consideration the regiment, I had posted at Shallow Ford was ordered to withdraw and to follow on with the brigade, when the command moved in the direction of the mouth of the Chickamauga. Brigadier-General Polk's brigade being in position at the railroad bridge, General Polk dispatched a force to the Shallow Ford to take the place of the regiment withdrawn by me. I moved up in the direction indicated until I came into a road running parallel and adjacent to the Chickamauga on the margin of open fields, which gently sloped up toward a line of precipitous hills on the right. It was a very exposed position, but the road passing through this space was the only one practicable for artillery in the direction of the mouth of the creek. Captain R. F. Kolb, with his battery, had reported to met at the railroad bridge for duty and was with my command. While marching over this ground by the right flank-the Eighth Tennessee Regiment, Colonel John H. Anderson commanding, on the right; the Sixteenth Tennessee Regiment, Colonel Dick Donnell commanding, following, and Twenty-eighth Tennessee Regiment, Colonel S. S. Stanton, in the rear-the whole line was suddenly assailed with a galling fire from the opposite bank of the creek, at a distance of not exceeding 100 yards.
The enemy's sharpshooters were concealed in the undergrowth along the bank, and waited before opening their fire until the entire length of the line could be commanded by their fire. I immediately ordered the troops to form, advance to the margin of the creek, and fire. This they did promptly and gallantly, returning the fire upon the foe with marked effect, nearly silencing their guns and driving them behind the railroad embankment, where they sheltered themselves and kept up a brisk but desultory fire for several minutes. In the meantime I ordered Captain Kolb to get his battery in position on a commanding point to the left of my center, which he did promptly, firing a few rounds at the enemy from this point. But
*See Part I, p. 537.