Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 32.djvu/320
308 Southern Historical Society Papers.
sion of our troops. Hindman's Division dashed forward and carried the enemy's works with an impetuosity never surpassed. The Federals were staggered on every hand, and ran in great disorder, leaving guns in position and thousands of dead and wounded on the field. General Hindman, in his report, pays the highest com- pliment to Manigault and his brigade, also to Deas and Anderson.
Longstreet's wing of the army was now fully engaged, and was handled with skill and judgment, throwing the full force of his troops in concert, while the fight on the right had been made in brigades and divisions.
About 12 o'clock one of Forrest's scouts reported that a column of infantry was advancing from the direction of Rossville. With that foresight and promptness which always characterized Forrest, he dashed away with Armstrong's Brigade to meet this new enemy. Granger, with 5,000 fresh troops and three batteries, was pushing on to relieve Thomas. Forrest, with his small force, Became quickly engaged, and torced Granger to halt, and, although too weak to long stay his advance, compelled Granger to deflect some distance from the main direction. Thomas has been accredited with great stubbornness and tenacity in holding his position, but when we look into the facts we are compelled to find that his ability to do so was due more to the inaction of the Confederate troops on the right than to any special credit due Thomas. It is a fact that our entire right wing, for two hours or more, stood motionless on the field, while the left wing had driven the enemy from every position on that part of the field. General D. H. Hill states that it was half-past 3 when the order was given to advance. General Cleburne also made the same statement. It was, therefore, 4 o'clock when the line again advanced against Thomas, who had now strengthened his command until he mustered over 35,000 muskets. Finally Breckinridge, on the right, then Liddell, while Cleburne pressed forward in the centre, and Cheatham on the left, moved forward like a mighty torrent against the strongly posted forces of Thomas, well sheltered by breastworks.
The gallant men fought their way to Thomas' lines, but, con- fronted by overwhelming odds, they could not hold their advantage, and the right began to give way. Forrest, who had been guarding the extreme flank, seeing the disorder, hurried to the rescue, and, placing himself among the infantry, called on them to stand. His presence was so grand, so lofty, and so inspiring that the men rallied and renewed the attack. Forward, and yelling, the men rushed