War of the Rebellion: Serial 073 Page 0140 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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All these changes were completed within an hour, during which the battle raged on every side of us with terrific fury. The five regiments with the batteries, as already mentioned, held throughout the hill occupied by them at noon. All my artillery was in position there and was served rapidly from beginning to end of the battle with great heroism, coolness, and skill. That hill was the key position of the entire battle; once gained by the enemy, the day was lost. The enemy perceiving its importance, surged in immense masses against it, while the dispositions of my command were being made as before stated, but they stood as firm as a rock and mowed down column after column of that vast, struggling mass that charged them from three sides. I have never seen more heroic fighting. For three hours the fury of the battle along our entire line could not be surpassed. Then the tempest of sounds and missiles began gradually to decrease, and by dark nothing but heavy skirmishing remained. General Hood had massed the greater part of his entire army in this furious assault upon a single corps (and that one the smallest in our army) and was whipped back to the ground he had left in the morning. It is with a feeling of unusual admiration for the troops under my command that I record the history of their part in the battle of Peach Tree Creek. Attacked by overwhelming number from front, right flank, and rear, five regiments with the artillery held the key position while fighting terribly all the time. The rest of my command changed its front, formed a connected line, and threw themselves into the combat with such determination and valor that they overcame five times their number. This result was largely due to the fact that by changing my front in the manner described our troops delivered an effective and persistent cross-fire upon the enemy at the moment when they were flushed with the anticipation of victory, and, supposing themselves entrapped, they retreated, broken and dismayed. This battle was a very remarkable one as a test of the discipline and valor of our troops, and as the first defeat of the newly appointed commander of the rebel army it was glorious in its results. The field everywhere bore marks of the extreme severity of the contest, and recalled to my mind, in appearance, the scene of conflict where the same division fought at Gettysburg. Not a tree or bush within our entire range but bore the scars of battle. The appearance of the enemy as they charged upon our front across the cleared field was magnificent. Rarely has such a sight been presented in battle. Pouring out from the woods they advanced in immense brown and gray masses (not lines), with flags and banners, many of them new and beautiful, while their general and staff officers were in plain view, with drawn sabers flashing in the light, galloping here and there as they urged their troops on to the charge. The rebel troops also seemed to rush forward with more than customary nerve and heartiness in the attack. This grand charge was Hood's inaugural, and his army came upon us that day full of high hope, confident that the small force in their front could not withstand them, but their ardor and confidence were soon shaken. My artillery, served with the utmost rapidity, even while receiving volleys from the rear, poured out steady discharges of canister and shell, and we could see the great gaps in that compact mass of human beings as each shot tore through their ranks. Those masses of the enemy that charged upon my right and rear reached at one time within a few yards of Bundy's battery, but by the cool