War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0891 Chapter LI. BRECKINRIDGE'S ADVANCE INTO EAST TENNESSEE.

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finally agreed to move the train a mile down the Knoxville road and form his men on a crest of a hill. This was done with as little delay as possible, and the artillery posted in a position which commanded the road, to fire away its few remaining rounds of canister. These dispositions had scarcely been made when Parsons' ammunition having failed, his men commenced falling back in disorder, but were rallied and formed in a line with the infantry. Many of the Eighth were also rallied. The enemy then advanced. As they were compelled to pass over an open field displayed their entire force, which was formed in two lines from a half to three- quarters of a mile in length, numbering probably from 2,500 to 3,000 men. When within about sixty yards of our lines they received a deadly fire from our artillery, double-shotted with canister, and from our infantry and dismounted cavalry lying behind the fences, and fell back several hundred yards. At this time the command became panic-stricken and all efforts to rally those who were falling back, or to retain those already in line, were fruitless. Seeing that the artillery would soon be left entirely without support, I ordered it to fall back as, for want of ammunition, it had become useless. I was convinced that its capture was certain as I saw the enemy preparing to charge the second time. The artillery had only proceeded a few hundred yards, when the enemy charged and easily broke and put to flight the few fragments which remained of my command under Colonel Parsons and myself. Their entire force charged past us without stopping to take prisoners, and continued the pursuit of our forces this side of Morristown, capturing the artillery, ambulance and wagon train. No stand having been made by our troops after the last charge of the enemy at Morristown, our troops continued their retreat until they reached Strawberry Plains. The enemy in their last charge having passed over me, I was in their rear, and was compelled, in order to reach my troops, to avoid the main road and did not rejoin my command until the next evening. Colonel Miller left the gap, as ordered, at 10. 30 p. m., and did not meet the enemy until he arrived at Russellville, where, finding the enemy's force to be greater than he considered himself justified in attacking, after one charge he moved off to his right and attempted to join me at Morristown. Upon his arrival opposite to that place, finding that the other portion of the command had fallen back, he turned north, crossed the Holston River, and rejoined the command at Strawberry Plains.

My loss in this retreat was 6 pieces of artillery with caissons complete, 61 wagons, 71 ambulances, about 300 horses, and probably about 150 men. Over 200 are now absent, but are daily coming in.

With the knowledge which I now have, I see no other means by which I could possibly have saved my command than by retreating at the time and in the manner I did. Had my troops behaved with calmness and deliberation I might have bless loss in property, but more in men; but having been forced back from their first position many officers and soldiers, who would have spurned to have been see there, took advantage of the darkness to find their way to the rear. All troops are subject to panic, and this command has behaved too well on many occasions to forfeit Your Excellency's confidence by one single mishap.

I beg leave to call Your Excellency's attention to the distinguished gallantry displayed in repulsing the enemy's assault at Bull's Gap on the 12th by Colonel John K. Miller, Lieutenant Colonel William H. Ingerton, Major Wagner, Captain Wilcox, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, Lieutenant