Today in History:

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


commanding to the measure. I at once dispatched my assistant adjutant-general, Captain Phinizy, to bring on the Thirty-sixth Georgia Regiment. At the same time a messenger was sent to Major-General Cleburne to ask his assent to the proposed charge. The Thirty-sixth Georgia was, very shortly, brought up in line of battle and placed in rear of the Fifty-sixth and about 10 paces from it. These regiments were commanded at this time, respectively, by Captain Grice and Captain Morgan. Calling these officers, together with several other of the senior officers of the regiments, around me, I explained to them in detail the movement about to be executed and the mode of proceeding that I desired them to adopt. This was, substantially, to push forward, on the word being given, at the double-quick, passing over every obstacle that they might encounter, breaking over the breastworks and the men that lined them when they should reach that point, and engage the enemy with the bayonet, not opening fire until he should commence to give way.

I observed upon the part of the commanders just mentioned, as well as their subordinates, a manifest disposition to perform the work required at their hands with zeal and alacrity. The rank and file of the regiments also seemed to be moved by a desire to engage the enemy in a hand-to-hand conflict. The charge was not delayed by Major-General Cleburne. We had but completed all preparations for it when an order was brought me from that officer to move forward on the charge and engage the enemy. Immediately the word was given, the men stood up in their ranks, and at the word forward rushed on with a cheer, one regiment following immediately in rear of the other. On arriving at the open space heretofore mentioned as existing between the two positions of our breastworks on the hill, it was found that this opening was only sufficiently extensive to admit the passage out of one-third of the regimental front. This compelled the men upon the flanks of the regiments to make their way out by climbing over the men in the ditches and the breastworks. This unavoidably created some confusion, which was added to by a heavy volley poured in by the enemy. By the energetic exertion of their officers, the two regiments were, however, in a few moments reformed and started forward. The two regiments of the brigade upon our left, who up to this time had not been acting in conjunction with us, being apprised of the charge being made by their comrades on the right, under the direction of their regimental commanders, moved forward and engaged the enemy in their front, thus supporting us on the left and making the charge one of brigade front all along the line. The charge was entirely successful. The men, exhibiting great bravery and determination, and gallantly led on by their officers, met the enemy in a short but decisive hand-to-hand encounter and drove him over the slope on which he had been posted. The enemy, who was immediately in front of us, took shelter behind rocks and trees, and, supported by heavy columns in his rear, kept up a brisk and galling fire upon us. This fire was returned with spirit by our troops, who, however, having been considerably broken up by the nature of the ground traversed and by the sharp conflict with the enemy, gradually drew back to the top of the ridge in the neighborhood of the rifle-pits, the enemy closing up behind us cautiously and slowly without any disposition to charge. Having readjusted the lines and given the command for ten or fifteen minutes rest, the charge was again called, and the troops a third time rushed down the hill-side with great courage and alacrity, and, charging