Today in History:

108 Series I Volume XXIII-I Serial 34 - Tullahoma Campaign Part I

Page 108 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.

as we were fighting faced by the rear rank, the left wing was much more exposed than the right. The fire upon the whole line was terrific, and although it was the first time the regiment was under fire, they stood the shock and behaved exceedingly well, never once breaking the line until the enemy in front were entirely silenced, and not then until ordered to do so by the lieutenant-colonel. The enemy outnumbered us four to one, I should think from the appearance. I cannot tell correctly how long we were engaged on the hill, but I think something like an hour. The casualties on the hill were not as great as might have been expected under the circumstances. We were exposed to an enfilading fire from the batteries. The hills upon which we were engaged were not more than 70 yards apart. I kept the men down as much as possible. The hill upon which the enemy was posted was much the highest; consequently they overshot us as a general thing. But as it was, there were disasters enough-as will be sent by the list of killed and wounded-to carry mourning and sorrow to a great many houses in our State. After our capture, the enemy gave us credit of doing them an immense amount of damage on the cedar hill. During the engagement I witnessed numerous acts of bravery and heroism that are worthy of all honor, and which entitle those brave boys to the right of having their names inscribed on the "roll of honor."

While speaking of those who behaved gallantly, it becomes my painful duty to animadvert upon the conduct of some of my subordinate officers, who, upon the very first fire of the enemy, retreated to a safe position, and remained there during the entire engagement on the hill, never once offering to assist in rallying the stragglers or seeing to the wounded. During the engagement the lieutenant-colonel, from his safe retreat, annoyed me by sending word to me to retreat. On one occasion my adjutant, who brought the word, and being told that I could not retreat, behaved badly after sending word to the lieutenant-colonel that I would not retreat; that our business was to hold the hill at all hazards; and after we had entirely silenced the enemy in front, and while in the act of complimenting the men for thai good conduct, I cast my eye to the right wing, and saw several companies in full retreat headed by the lieutenant-colonel. I immediately gave the order to halt, which did not seem to be heard. As I had no one to send, I immediately started to head them off, which for a time made things very much worse. When the men saw me run, they all broke from the hill and ran after me, thus leaving the hill entirely defenseless. I overtook them at the railroad, near the pike, and commanded them to halt and form. The order was instantly obeyed. There was not the slightest appearance of panic. I gave the order to fix bayonets, intending to charge back and retake the hill. At this time I noticed some of the companies on the right, as we were then faced, were too much huddled. I stepped to the right to oblique them in two ranks, as I wished to show as much front as possible, owing to the superior numbers of the enemy. While thus engaged, I cast my eye to the left, and saw a portion of my regiment again in full retreat, double-quick, with Lieutenant-Colonel Bloodgood at the head. I could not overtake him this time. My situation was humiliating in the extreme; it left me too weak to retake the hill, or even hold the position I then occupied, behind the railroad, against the great mass of rebels that was pressing me on the right and left. Therefore, I was obliged to fall back on the hill, in the rear of Thirty-third and Eighty-fifth Indiana.

About the time my regiment was broken the last time, the Nineteenth Michigan moved up along the railroad to the front, and engaged the enemy, which were coming down from that direction in great numbers.

Page 108 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.