Today in History:

655 Series I Volume XXXI-II Serial 55 - Knoxville and Lookout Mountain Part II


so we were moved out of the line by the left flank, and placed in rear of the Tenth Iowa, and out of range of the enemy's shots; remained here about fifteen minutes, when we were again moved forward on to the line to the right of the brigade. The whole line was then moved forward across the open field in the direction of Tunnel Hill, under the redoubled firing of both batteries before mentioned. The air seemed filled with shot and shell, but the line advancing at a quick, and occasionally breaking into the double-quick steps, the shots passed over their mark. About 100 yards below the white house near the railroad tunnel, which was burned during the action, we came within range of the enemy's musketry. We were now advanced double-quick. At a fence near the house spoken of above, we found the remnants of a line that had preceded us; passing this line we took a position along a small hollow in the side of the hill to the left of the burning house. The Tenth Iowa was brought around and formed on our right. I was now ordered to send out a company as skirmishers to be deployed to our front and left. Sent Company G, which immediately became hotly engaged with the enemy. Was next ordered to send two companies to take possession of the outhouses near the burning house, clear out the enemy from the railroad, and watch his movements in that direction. I sent two companies from the right, under Lieutenant-Colonel Sampson. He took his position, when the Tenth Iowa was removed toward the left of the brigade. I now, in compliance with orders, sent another company to re-enforce my skirmishers on the front and left, also re-enforced Lieutenant-Colonel Sampson with two more companies, who was maintaining himself in the position assigned him. To my left was a part of a Pennsylvania regiment, and it seemed to me to their right a space of at least 50 yards, without any line, the enemy's firing increasing in volume and rapidity, and seeming to be advancing in that direction. I became uneasy for my skirmishers, and sent out two more companies to strengthen them. As they were moving forward to deploy, the enemy in overwhelming numbers came rushing down the hill, seemingly completely overpowering the main line to the left. At the same time Lieutenant Wright (aide to General Matthies) came running toward me saying, "Retreat!" "Retreat!"

Finding that my weak line (my regiment was now nearly all deployed as skirmishers) was opposed by a force which it would be perfect madness to think of contending with, I gave the order to retreat, but the enemy was now upon us demanding our surrender, and I regret to say many of my men were compelled to submit, including most of the color company and color guard. The colors also fell into their hands. Those who escaped did so through a shower of balls, and yells from the enemy to halt. I went into the action with 227 men and 21 officers, including field and staff. My loss is 2 commissioned officers wounded and 8 missing, including major and adjutant; 2 enlisted men killed, 20 wounded, and 74 missing. Total killed, wounded, and missing, 106.

What remained of the four right companies were rallied by Lieutenant-Colonel Sampson on the edge of the hill and brought inside of our breastworks, where I was reforming the rest of the regiment and brigade. (General Matthies being wounded during the engagement, I was left in command of the brigade.) I then placed him in command of the regiment, which remained inside of the works that night, and on the 26th and 27th marched in pursuit of the enemy as far as Graysville, Ga., and returned to camp on the north bank of the Tennessee River, on the 28th.