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FIRST 'DAY'S BATTLE.
the left, in their tierce onset, they boldly penetrated the gap they thus made, and for a moment the battle seemed lost. But Thomas, compelled, by the danger here, to pause and fall back, now came up; while Hazen, with twenty pieces of artillery massed at the threatened point, held the shouting eņemy in check. At this juncture, too, Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry dashed up, and fell' furiously on the advancing columns, forcing them back. But the rebel leaders, rallying their troops, and strengthened with reinforcementa, again came on, each time swinging off and outflanking us to the right, so that Wilder was compelled to fall back. Sheridan then came up, and sending forward Bradley's brigade, restored the fight. But the attack, that had begun at our entreme left, kept drifting down our line so rapidly that Bradley in turn was nearly outflanked, and began to give way, when Negley and Wood came down the stream on the doukosquick, and charging home, at once arrested the dangerous movement. Though at times on the point of complete success, the enemy had been stopped everywhere along the whole line, and the two armies now stood front to front, on ground that gave no advantage to either. Our troops had rallied everywhere with heroic determination, and the army stood in its place, immovable as a rock. Baffled in every attempt to break our line, Bragg at length, at night-fail, withdrew, and darkness closed over the trampled field, shrouding its multitude of mangled, bleeding victims
It had been a strange battle, and neither could claim a victory. The numbers engaged on either side were probably about equal. Bragg had not waited for the whole of Longstreet's Corps to arrive, nor for several thousand Georgia militia, on the way to reinforce him. The rapid concentration of our troops, made it necessary for him to attack at once, while the army was in motion. But the regular inter
NIGHT AFTER THE BATTLE.
vals between our columns, which threatened at first to be our ruin—and if they had been greater, would have beensaved us; for each time the enemy struck our flank, our columns, coming up, took his flank in turn—and so on, in succession, till Negley and Wood met and stopped the last attack, and closed the battle. On our part, it was a battle without a plan. The object with Rosecrans was, to concentrate his army, and secure his communications with Chattanooga. Attacked while doing this, he had to hold the enemy at bay as best he could, and nothing but the indomitable bravery of the troops saved him from total defeat. That Saturday night was one of much suffering to the army, for it was cold and chilly, and no fires were allowed to be kindled. The soldiers sunk down on the ground, to brood over the losses of the day, and ponder on the terrible struggle that they knew must take place in the morning. Their ranks had been dreadfully thinned; no impression had been made on the enemy, and no reinforcements were near. They had taken a few prisoners, and captured three more guns than the enemy, but had been driven from Chickamauga Creek, and were where no water could be obtained, except as it was brought a great distance, from springs. Weary and thirsty, they were compelled to lie down on the trampled earth, and weary and thirsty they must fight this battle over again in the morning.
During the night, Rosecrans made some changes in his line of battle. The strong position at Gordon's Mill being no longer of any use to him--as the enemy was over the creek—he withdrew his right, resting it on Missionary Ridge. This shortened his lines by nearly a mile, and made his army face more to the south.
That night, a consultation was held at head-quarters, and the following general dispositions made for the next day : Thomas, strengthened by Johnson's and Palmer's divisions,
SECOND DAY'S BATTLE,
was to hold the position he occupied. McCook, after his pickets were driven in, was to close with his main line on Thomas' right; while Crittenden was to hold two divisions in reserve behind the point of junction, to be used as circumstances might require. Thus the army stood, on the early Sabbath morning, awaiting Bragg's attack, that all knew would not be long delayed. Suddenly, the thunder of cannon on the extreme left, announced the opening of the conflict, and the next moment, the storm broke with appalling fury on Thomas. With their usual tactics, the rebels did not feel their way into our position, but fell in one overwhelming charge upon it. The battle had hardly commenced, when its uproar became so awful, that the boldest all along the line held his breath. Along a part of his line, Thomas had thrown up a breastwork of logs and rails, in front of which ran an incessant stream of fire. Up against it the rebels moved with desperate valor. Line upon line, they came steadily on-each, as it entered that withering fire, crumbling to fragments; yet still, fresh ranks sternly advanced over the spot where the last had gone down. But ali in vain did that devouring fire consume the devoted columns~in vain did it shrivel up and destroy the head of each formation. The rebel leaders kept pouring in fresh troops, determined to quench that volcano with human blood, and choke it with living victims. Rosecrans, seeing how fearfully Thomas was pressed, ordered Negley over to his help, and Wood, of Crittenden's division, to supply Negley's place; but even this did not arrest the ever-increasing flood of rebels. For awhile, Wood, in the center, was heavily pressed; but still, the weight of the attack fell on Thumas. Maddened by their repeated repulse, the rebel leaders rallieå their troops for one last, decisive assault. Covered by a terrific fire of artillery, the massive columns moved steadily forward, and entering, without shrinking, the fiery sleet that swept
the field, pressed straight for that glowing þreastwork. Thomas
, seeing the danger, poured in his volleys with increased rapidity, and the artillerists“ double-shotted their guns
with canister; but still, that dark gray mass, wrapped in its sulphurous shroud, never faltered, and, though bleeding and lessening at every step, crept nearer and nearer, till at last our troops began to waver. The officers strove nobly to steady them, while Thomas rode fearlessly along the undulating lines to inspire them. But it was a vain effort. Division after division crumbled away, and at length the whole wing swung back in disorder, Thomas, however, aided by his gallant lieutenants, again rallied it in a new position; and, with his right resting on Missionary Ridge, and his left on an eminence by the Lafayette road, and his center a little advanced, he sent urgent request for more troops.
It was now about noon, and Rosecrans, seeing how hard Reynolds was pressed, ordered Wood to leave his position in the center and support him. Brannan was between him and Reynolds, and to do this he had to fall back and march to the rear of the former
. This left a wide gap in the lines, which, the enemy perceiving, dashed into as quick as thought. Ve had broken our own center lost our own battle. Davis, frora the right, moved quickly up to close the fatal opening; but he came too late. The rebel flood, breaking with resistiess fury through it, smote him with one terrible blow, swinging him back with such violence that he fell to pieces with the shock. Palmer and Van Cleve, on the other side, shared the same fate. Sheridan, left alone on the right, of course went with Davis; yet, scorning to fly, he rallied his
men, and for awhile made a stand, against fearful odds. Gallant, fearless and terrible, even in a lost fight, it was pitiful to see him strive with such hopeless desperation to maintain his old renown, in that wild tumult. Rosecrans
A GALLANT STAND.
himself, whose head-quarters were directly in rear, and had been carried away in the rush, could not rally the troops; and though, with drawn sword, followed by his staff, he galloped amid the broken ranks, he, McCook and Crittenden were all borne backward in the refluent tide, and a scene of confusion and terror followed that beggars all description. Artillery and caissons, and wagons and horses, and a vast, excited multitude, with here and there only a fragmentary formation, heaved and struggled on towards the gap in the mountains, through which the road leads to Rossville. Here they became choked up, and the shouts and yells and curses, that rose in the troubled air, were more appalling than the roar of battle. For a moment, the conflict seemed over. The Commander-in-Chief was gone--the centre and right gone, and nought remained but the wearied, exhausted left wing, that had also been forced backward. Yet it alone must save the army, if it is to be saved. It was a mighty task that now devolved on Thomas, but with such division and brigade leaders as Baird, Brannan, Reynolds, Negley, Wood, Harker, Hazen, Scribner, Turchin, and others like them, he would do it, or make it the bloodiest field ever won by mortal foe. The enemy, having it all his own way in every other part of the field, and confident of complete success, now bore down with redoubled fury on this comparatively feeble band—full seventy thousand men against a few divisions. So stood the battle at noon. Thomas might well survey his desperate position with a dismayed heart. Stiil, he had no thought of retreating Right there he would stand, and stand victorious or perisk with the army. Gathering up his thinned and bleeding ranks, he lined the semicircular ridge, on which he stood, with a wall of fire, and set it blazing with artillery from one extremity to another. The rebels came on in overwhelming masses but could not break through it. Battalion after battalion