Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/411
410 Southern Historical Society Papers.
shaw's brigade was somewhere on the right of, but not connected with Anderson's brigade.
I proceeded in person to put the line in motion. Commencing with Deas's brigade, and giving careful instructions to preserve the dress and connection to the right, I passed along the line until I saw it all gallantly moving forward. A most obstinate struggle now commenced for the possession of this spur of Missionary Ridge the last stronghold of the enemy on the battlefield of Chickamauga. Our artillery opened on the brow of the ridge, and the infantry be- came immediately engaged. The firing was very heavy on both sides, and showed that the enemy was in strong force in our front, supported by artillery posted near the junction of the two spurs, on which Deas's and Johnson's brigades respectively moved. Our line pressed determinedly forward for some time, keeping up an incessant fire with small arms. But the enemy now evidently received rein- forcements of fresh troops, which advanced with a shout that was heard along our lines, and we were driven back to our guns. It was subsequently ascertained from prisoners captured that the reinforce- ments were a part of General Granger's corps, which we fought the rest of the day. Deas's brigade, and the part of Manigault's next to it, fell back to the foot of the hill; Anderson's fell back to its first position, and these three brigades, save two regiments of Manigault's next to Johnson's brigade, did not again enter the fight.
In falling back on the spur on which Johnson's brigade and the two batteries fought, McNair's brigade, which formed a second line, mingled with the troops of the first line on the left of Johnson's and the right of the two regiments of Manigault's brigade, and con- tinued to fight in that position during the rest of the day. The retreat on this hill was precipitate, and called for all the exertions I could command to prevent many of the troops from abandoning it. The officers, however, joined with every energy and zeal in the effort to stay the retreat, and by appeals, commands and physical efforts, all save a few who persisted in skulking behind trees or lying idly on the ground, were brought up to our lines in support of the artillery. In the meantime our batteries were promptly opened and gallantly served amid a shower of the enemy's bullets, and, together with the best and bravest of our infantry, who promptly rallied on our artillery, poured such a volume of fire upon the advancing foe that his onward progress was effectually stayed.
I cannot here speak too highly of the gallantry of the men and officers of Dent's and Everett's batteries on this occasion. It elic-