War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0764 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

Search Civil War Official Records

were formed, sent Colonel Tourtellotte over to the east hill with orders to hold it to the last, sending to me for re-enforcements if needed. Taking two companies of the Ninety-THIRD Illinois down a spur parallel with the railroad and along the brink of the cut, so disposed them as to hold the north side as long as possible. Three companies of the Ninety-THIRD, which had been driven in from the WEST end of the ridge, were distributed in the ditch south of the redoubt, with instructions to keep the town well covered by their fire and watch the depot where were stored over a million rations. The remaining battalion, under Major Fisher, lay between the redoubt and Rowett's line, ready to re-enforce wherever most needed. I had hardly issued these incipient orders when the storm broke in all its fury on the Thirty-ninth Iowa and Seventh Illinois. Young's brigade of Texans, 1,900 strong, had gained the WEST end of the ridge and moved with great impetuosity along its crest till they struck Rowett's command, where they received a severe check, but, undaunted, they came again and again. Rowett, re-enforced by the Ninety-THIRD Illinois and aided by the gallant Redfield, encouraged me to hope we were all safe here, when I observed a brigade of the enemy, under command of General Sears, moving from the north, its left extending across the railroad. I rushed to the two companies of the Ninety-THIRD Illinois, which were on the brink of the cut running north from the redoubt and parallel with the railroad, they having been re-enforced by the retreating pickets, and urged them to hold on the spur, but it was of no avail. The enemy's line of battle swept us back like so much chaff and struck the Thirty-ninth Iowa in flank, threatening to engulf our little band without further ado. Fortunately for us Colonel Tourtellotte's fire caught Sears in the flank, and broke him so bad as to enable me to get a staff officer over the cut, with orders to bring the Fiftieth Illinois over to re-enforce Rowett, who had lost very heavily. However, before the regiment sent for could arrive, Sears and Young both rallied and made their assaults in front and on the flank with so much vigor and in such force as to break Rowett's line, and had not the Thirty-ninth Iowa fought with the desperation it did, I never would have been able to have brought a man back into the redoubt. As it was, their hand-to- hand struggle and stubborn stand broke the enemy to that extent he must stop to reform before undertaking the assault on the fort. Under cover of the blow they gave the enemy, the Seventh and Ninety-THIRD Illinois, and what remained of the Thirty-ninth Iowa, fell back into the fort. The fighting up to this time (about 11 a. m.) was of a most extraordinary character; attacked from the north, from the west, and from the south, these three regiments (Thirty-ninth Iowa, Seventh Illinois, and Ninety-THIRD Illinois Infantry) held Young's and a portion of Sears' and Cockrell's brigade at bay for nearly two hours and a half. The gallant Colonel Redfield, of the Thirty-ninth Iowa, fell shot in four places, and the extraordinary valor of the men and officers of this regiment and of the Seventh Illinois saved to us Allatoona.

So completely disorganized were the enemy that no regular assault could be made on the fort till I had the trenches all filled and the parapets lined with men. The Twelfth Illinois and Fiftieth Illinois arriving from the east hill enabled us to occupy every foot of trench, and keep up a line of fire that, as long as our ammunition lasted, would render our little fort impregnable. The broken pieces of the enemy enabled them to fill every hollow and take every advantage of the rough ground surrounding the fort, filling every hole and trench, seeking shelter behind every stump and log that lay within musket-range of the fort. We received fire from the north, south, and WEST face of the redoubt, completely en-