O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXX/1 [S# 50]
AUGUST 16-SEPTEMBER 22, 1863.--The Chickamauga Campaign.
Report of Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds, U. S. Army, commanding Fourth Division.
HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION, FOURTEENTH CORPS.
Chattanooga, Tenn., September 23, 1863.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fourteenth Army Corps.
COLONEL: I herewith submit a report of the operations of the Fourth Division, Fourteenth Corps, in the battle of Chickamauga Creek, Ga., September 19 and 20, 1863.
The division moved from Pond Spring about 4 p.m. on the 18th, and, having marched all night, halted one hour for breakfast near Osburn's, and thence proceeded, by order of General Thomas, commanding Fourteenth Corps, to take position in line of battle northeast of Glenn's house. While taking this position the division was ordered to advance immediately toward McDonald's and enter into the action then progressing on our left. I at once reported in person to the corps commander, and, in accordance with his instructions, directed the Third Brigade, Turchin's, to take position southeast of Kelly's Cross-Roads. The Second Brigade, King's, was about leaving the main road to take place on the right of the Third, when I met General Palmer in the road, who represented that his command had gained upon the enemy, but was nearly out of ammunition and in great need of assistance to enable him to hold what he had gained, at least until they could replenish ammunition. This, although not the precise position indicated to me for the Second Brigade, was very close to it, and appeared to be a place that it was essential to fill at once, and no other troops were in sight to take the position. Three regiments, under Col. E. A. King, were therefore ordered in at this point, leaving in my hands one regiment, Seventy-fifth Indiana, and Harris battery. I had just arrived upon the field and found my division would occupy about the center of our line. No reserve force being anywhere apparent, I determined to form one of Harris' battery and Seventy-fifth Indiana, to which was shortly added Swallow's battery, which I found in the road unemployed, and the Ninety-second Illinois (temporarily dismounted). In a short time the Sixth Ohio came from the front, and took position near Harris' battery to resupply ammunition. General Palmer soon called also for the Seventy-fifth Indiana, temporarily; it was ordered to go, the Sixth Ohio serving in the interim as support to the guns. The Sixth having resupplied ammunition was subsequently ordered away, leaving the Ninety-second Illinois the only support for the batteries. The Seventy-fifth Indiana returned late in the day slid in some disorder, having relieved an entire brigade and done efficient service.
Calls for support had been made from the right, to which it was impossible for me to respond. General J. C. Davis arrived and inquired where troops were needed. I gave him the substance of my information, and he led his division in on our right. Finally a call came direct from Col. E. A. King, who had drifted farther to the right, that he was hard pressed and wanted his own regiment, the Seventy-fifth Indiana. This regiment was gone, but I ordered to him the Ninety-second Illinois, trusting to regiments returning to the road to resupply ammunition for support to the batteries, or, that in case the forces to the front were driven back, of which I felt there was danger, I might rally them around the batteries and re-establish the line. The two howitzers of the Ninety-second Illinois were now added to the two batteries, and the Ninety-second started to King's support. Scarcely had it cleared the front of the guns when this regiment was struck in flank by our own forces retiring, followed closely by the enemy. I met our retiring regiments in person, pointed them to 14 guns in position as evidence that the enemy must be thrown back, and by great exertion succeeded in reforming several regiments in rear of the batteries.
Battery M, Fourth Regular Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Russell, at this time came to our position, and was ordered into action on Harris' left. These batteries fired with terrible effect upon the enemy, his progress was checked, and our line for a time prevented from yielding any farther.
The enemy now shifted farther to the right, where there was evidently an opening in our line, and coming in on their right flank our regiments again became disheartened and began to retire. The batteries, following the regiments, changed front and fired to the right, and the line was reformed along a fence nearly perpendicular to its former position, with the batteries in the edge of the woods. The enemy pushing still farther to our right and rear, I rallied and formed into double line some ten or twelve other retiring regiments, which came in from the left center, and placing-the front line under the immediate command of Colonel Croxton, Tenth Kentucky, ordered them to swing round on the left flank as a pivot. This order was well executed by both lines, and our rear thus entirely cleared of the enemy.
It was now nearly sundown, and operations on this part of the field ceased for the day.
On the 20th my division was posted at Kelly's Cross-Roads en échelon, the Third Brigade, Turchin's, in front and immediately on General Palmer's right, the Second Brigade, King's, slightly retired, to secure good ground, and facing the main Rossville and La Fayette road. Two brigades of the Third Division, Fourteenth Corps, Brannan's, were on my right. My division was formed in two lines, nearly one-half the infantry being in reserve.
During the early morning of the 20th temporary breastworks were erected of such material as could be found at hand, and were of great benefit. The attack of the enemy on our position commenced about 10 o'clock, and was very heavy; he was successfully repulsed at all points in front of our position without calling upon the second line of infantry.
About 11 o'clock the two brigades of the Third Division, being heavily pressed in front and right flank, which had been left uncovered, began to yield. Colonel Croxton reported this to me, and personal inspection verified the report. The One hundred and fifth Ohio, Major Perkins commanding, and until this time lying in reserve, was ordered to face the enemy and go at them with the bayonet. The order was gallantly executed; the enemy was thrown back, and the yielding regiments partly rallied, but the enemy returning with increased force and turning their right, these regiments were borne back, the One hundred and fifth Ohio with them. The latter regiment carried off the field the rebel General Adams, wounded, who had been previously captured by Captain Guthrie's company, of the Nineteenth Illinois.
After all of our troops had left the right of my division, and the enemy was silenced in front, a column of the enemy appeared on the main road in the prolongation of the line of battle of the Second Brigade; at the same time a rebel battery was firing into the rear of this brigade. The position of the Second Brigade was therefore changed, so as to throw its left nearer the right of the Third Brigade and to face the enemy, who had taken position on our right and rear. At this time the division was out of ammunition, except such as was gathered from the boxes of the dead, and the enemy was between us and our ammunition train; but for this circumstance we could have maintained our position indefinitely. The ammunition train by another route got safely to Chattanooga.
We remained in this position for some time, when orders were received from the corps commander to prepare to change our position, and the division in a short time received orders to initiate a movement toward Rossville. This was done with the brigades still formed in two lines and moving by flank in parallel columns, thus ready at a moment's notice to face with double line in either of the directions in which firing had lately been heard.
Arriving at the Rossville road, the command was met by the corps commander in person, and I was directed to form line perpendicular to the Rossville road. This done General Thomas pointed in the direction of Rossville and said, "There they are; clear them out." The division was faced about and a charge ordered and executed in two lines at double-quick, through the rebel lines, dispersing them and capturing more than 200 prisoners under a fire of infantry in front and artillery in flank.
I understood that this movement was intended to open the way to Rossville for the army, and did not then know of any other road to that point. I therefore pressed right on in the charge, expecting the whole division to do the same until the rebel lines and batteries were cleared and the road opened, and found myself with only about 150 of the Third Brigade, under Colonel Lane, Eleventh Ohio, near the field hospital of the Fourteenth Corps.
The remainder of the division proceeded to the high ground on the left by order of General Thomas. The Third Brigade was reformed by Brigadier-General Turchin, who had his horse shot under him in the charge. The Second Brigade was reformed by Col. M. S. Robinson, who succeeded to the command of that brigade after the death of Col. E. A. King. The advanced party rejoined the division on the ridge to the west of the road, and the whole division marched to Rossville by the Valley road.
The First Brigade, Wilder s mounted infantry, was detached from the division by order of the department commander, except the Ninety-second Illinois, which was with the division on the 19th. The operations of this brigade will be reported separately.
The brigade commanders, Brig. Gen. J. B. Turchin and Col. E. A. King, handled their brigades with skill and judgment, and no instance of confusion or disorder occurred.
The batteries, Harris', Nineteenth Indiana, and Andrew's, Twenty-first Indiana, were skillfully and bravely managed, and did fine execution, the Nineteenth Battery on both days and the Twenty-first Battery more especially on the 20th. Captain Harris was wounded on the 19th; his battery was ably commanded on the 20th by Lieutenant Lackey. This battery lost two guns, one left on the field, the horses killed; the other disabled by the enemy's fire.
Andrew's battery lost one gun, left from the breaking of the harness.
The untimely fall of Colonel King renders it impracticable to obtain a connected report of the operations of the Second Brigade.
The regiments were ably commanded as follows: One hundred and first Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel Doan; Seventy-fifth Indiana, Colonel Robinson; Sixty-eighth Indiana, Captain Espy, wounded; One hundred and fifth Ohio, Major Perkins, wounded.
The division staff were at their posts and discharged their duties promptly and faithfully.
Maj. John Levering, assistant adjutant-general, sick in ambulance.
Maj. O. Q. Herrick, medical director, in the hands of the enemy.
Capt. F. T. Starkweather, assistant quartermaster; Capt. J. L. Leech, commissary of subsistence; Capt. C. O. Howard, mustering officer, aide-de-camp, wounded in hand; Capt. J. T. Floyd, One hundred and first Indiana, aide-de-camp; Capt. R. B. Hanna, Seventy-second Indiana, provost-marshal, wounded; First Lieut. J. W. Armstrong, Seventeenth Indiana, ordnance officer; Second Lieut. W. P. Bainbridge, One hundred and first Indiana, aide-de-camp, wounded in arm; Sergt. Daniel Bush, Company D, One hundred and first Indiana, orderly at headquarters, was badly wounded and has since died.
Among the deaths the country has to deplore the loss of Col. E. A. King, commanding Second Brigade, and Col. W. G. Jones, commanding Thirty-sixth Ohio, both superior officers.
Herewith are submitted lists of casualties, from which it appears that the total loss of the division in killed, wounded, and missing is 963.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. J. REYNOLDS,
Major-General, Commanding Division.
RETURN TO CHICKAMAUGA OFFICIAL RECORDS PAGE