Today in History:

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


ments, and then fall back if he found it necessary to do so, and desired that I leave vacant on the left space for his command. One of General Jackson's staff, being present, told me to wait until he could see the general and get further or more definite instructions; but the firing on the left in a few minutes becoming quite heavy, I thought it advisable to place my command in position without further orders. I at once moved the brigade, urging upon the commanders the importance of dispatch; but, to my utter astonishment, before we reached the trenches (a distance of 300 or 400 yards) the enemy had driven back Walthall's brigade south of the Craven house, and had even occupied a portion of the trenches of my brigade, from which we very soon drove them on our arrival. We were thus compelled to enter the intrenchments under the fire of the enemy in front and a very heavy fire from the Moccasin Point batteries within short range. As Walthall's brigade, when driven back, did not occupy the line on our left-or, at least the portion near the Craven house which we could see-the enemy got possession of that position, and also the commanding ground near the house, from which they completely enfiladed my left, which was afterward retired a little to the right, under cover of rising ground.

We held this position from this time until between 3 and 4 o'clock, the enemy repeatedly charging, but repulsed, 2 of their color bearers being shot down by our men in the trenches while attempting to plant their colors on the embankment. I have never before seen them fight with such daring and desperation. Though they got possession of the Craven house at an early hour, yet they did not attempt to turn the left flank until between 3 and 4 p.m.

We had now been engaged nearly three hours. We had but 30 rounds of ammunition at first, that being the capacity of the cartridge boxes issued to the brigade, and this supply was now nearly exhausted-entirely so with some of the men. I had not seen Brigadier-General Jackson during the day. He gave me no orders during the engagement. I sent a staff officer to his headquarters to inform him of our condition, but he returned and reported he could not find General Jackson, who was absent. If we have been properly supported on the left I believe we could have held the trenches, even with empty guns, but that support was not given us. The enemy gradually pressed around my left with an increasing force; I reluctantly gave the order to fall back. We retired about 300 yards without any great confusion. We here found Pettus' brigade in line of battle, the prolongation of which line we had selected for a second position. Had General Jackson informed me that this brigade was coming to our support, and had thrown it forward to the trenches on our left, I am confident there would have been no necessity for withdrawing my command from the first position, as this would have prevented our being flanked, or could have driven back the enemy from the left. Had General Jackson been on the ground and given proper orders for the disposition of his command, I feel assured the result would have been very different.

The second line we held until about 2 a.m., the 25th, when we were ordered to fall back south of Chattanooga Creek.

Our position on Missionary Ridge on the 25th was between Walthall's brigade on our right and Jackson's on the left. After the enemy broke our center, Jackson's brigade was placed perpendicular to the former line, to prevent the enemy from sweeping along the line to the right. General Cheatham ordered me to march my brigade by