Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/289

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Operations About Lookout Mountain. 277

the angle in the picket fine, I added this to the communication, and sent it to Brigadier-General Commanding by one of his staff officers. In the meantime, Brigadier- General Moore had applied to me to know the position of my line, as he was ordered to form on my right, and I learned from a staff officer of Brigadier-General Com- manding, that such would be General Moore's position. I informed both where my line then was (and Captain Moreno, of the staff of the Brigadier-General Commanding, went with me, at my request, and looked at my position), but that the direction which would ultimately be given my line would necessarily depend upon the direction from which the enemy, then engaging my pickets on the right and threatening my left, almost at right angles to the part engaged, might make his main attack.

Meanwhile the firing from the batteries beyond the creek, which before had been irregular, became constant and heavy, and soon the enemy advanced on the left, in three lines running across the mountain side. Such a resistance as I could offer a force like this, consisting, as the Federal General Thomas, in an official dispatch to his Government says, of Geary's division and two brigades of another corps, was made with my small command, nearly one-third of which was covering a picket line more than a mile in extent. While Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Mississippi regiments, in support of the picket line, were resisting the enemy in the position assigned them (to cover which it had been necessary to take intervals), and when the immense numbers of the enemy had been discovered, the Twenty-seventh, and part of the Twenty-fourth Mississippi regiments were put in position several hundred yards in rear of the picket line, where, being sheltered from the enemy's small arms, and reserving their fire till the regiments and pickets in front had passed behind them in falling back, they delivered a destruc- tive fire upon the advancing lines. The front line wavered, and then was broken at one point, but after falling back a short dis- tance, it soon reformed, and despite my rapid and well directed fire, moved steadily and irresistibly forward, pressing heaviest upon my extreme left. I endeavored in falling back to turn the rocks and irregularities of the ground to the best account, for the protection of tike men, and retiring from one position of strength to another, to yield the ground as slowly as possible, with the hope that sup- port (for which I had sent to General Moore) might reach me. Many officers and men were captured, because they held their positions so long as to render escape impossible, the ground in their rear being rugged, rocky and covered with fallen timber.

My command being greatly sheltered, were enabled to inflict upon the enemy, as he advanced, a loss far greater than it sustained.

By 12 o'clock M., or about that time, and two and a half or three hours after the first picket firing began, I was driven to the ridge which runs down the Northern slope of the mountain, and here, with three companies of sharpshooters from the Twenty-fourth Mississippi regiment, which had previously been posted there