Headquarters Second Brigade, Second Division, 20th Army Corps,
Chattanooga, September 27, 1863
Sir: In compliance with your circular of the 25th instant, I have the honor to submit the following report of the
part that this brigade took in the recent battles near this place:
After a tedious and laborious march we reached a point about four miles from Crawfish Spring, in the direction of Stevens'
Gap, on the 18th instant, where my brigade was placed on picket and staid (sic) all night.
On the morning of the 19th I marched, at about 7 o'clock, with the rest of the division, and passed Crawfish Spring,
in the direction of Chattanooga, about three miles, when we filed off the road to the right. My brigade, being on the
left of the division, was, agreeably to your order, here deployed into column; the Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania, Col. Thomas
E. Rose commanding, and the Seventy-ninth Illinois, Col. Allen Buckner commanding, in the first line; the Twenty-ninth Indiana,
Lieut. Col. D. M. Dunn commanding, and the Thirtieth Indiana, Lieut. Col. O. D. Hurd commanding, in the second line, in rear
of the First and Third brigades, and ordered to govern myself by their movements, and to support them. After moving
in this manner a short distance, I received an order to move to the right until I reached General Hazen's brigade of General
Palmer's division, and relieve him, as his men were getting short of ammunition. I accordingly moved my whole command
by the right flank about 400 yards, when I found a very brisk engagement going on, and the enemy's line formed in an oblique
direction to the one I was in. I immediately changed front with my first line, and seeing that the enemy were well sheltered,
while my command was badly exposed to their fire, and my men being comparatively fresh, I ordered a charge. The whole
column had previously deployed into line, that having been necessary in order to keep from making too wide an opening between
my left and the right of General Willich's brigade.
The order was most gallantly obeyed by both officers and men, and the enemy gave way in utter rout (sic) and confusion.
In this charge the Twenty-ninth Indiana was on the right, the Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania next, the Seventy-ninth Illinois
next, and the Thirtieth Indiana on the left. We drove them, in this manner, nearly or quite one mile (some officers
think farther), when, finding that my line was getting broken, in consequence of losses in killed and wounded, and that I
had no support on either flank, I ordered a halt. On this charge my command passed some 30 or 40 yards to the right
of a battery, belonging to the enemy, which was nearly deserted by them, and a part of which was captured by one of the other
brigades to my left (General Willich's, I believe). I then formed my command in its original order, and moved about
400 yards to my left and rear, and formed a connection with the right of Willich's brigade, refusing my right slightly, so
as to protect my flank as much as possible, and threw out a heavy line of skirmishers in my front and on my flank. There
was no force (of ours) on my right in sight, and I was fearful that the enemy would attack us on that flank.
In order to be certain, about 4 P.M. I sent out a detachment under Lieutenant Colonel Pyfer, Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania,
to examine the position of the enemy, if possible, and to ascertain the position of the nearest troops on our own line.
He reported a heavy picket force of the enemy about 500 yards to my front and right, and that it was about three-fourths of
a mile from my right to the left of General Turchin's brigade, and that his were the nearest of our troops on that flank.
I strengthened my line of pickets, and made all the preparations possible to resist and attack from that quarter. Just
before dark the enemy made an attack some distance to my left, and gradually swept around to my front, when I was informed
that a heavy column was moving directly against my flank. It was now quite dark, so that it was impossible to distinguish
any person a few feet off. I immediately withdrew my battery to the rear, just in time to save it, as this column swept
around on my right and rear, delivering at the same time a very heavy fire, and capturing nearly the whole of the Seventy-seventh
Pennsylvania, and ab out one-half of the Seventy-ninth Illinois. A large portion of the men succeeded, in the confusion
and darkness, in making their escape, but Colonel Rose, Lieutenant Colonel Pyfer and Major Phillips, all of the Seventy-seventh
Pennsylvania, and Major Fitzsimmons, of the Thirtieth Indiana, who had previously been wounded, but was near the Seventy-seventh
Pennsylvania, together with quite a number of line officers, were captured or wounded so that they were unable to get away.
My second line returned their fire and held their position, I was, as yet, not aware of the extent of the loss of my
brigade, owing to the darkness, and, while endeavoring to move my left more to the front, got into the enemy's lines and was
taken prisoner, but succeeded in making my escape, and on my return found that my brigade, with the rest of the division,
was being withdrawn from its perilous position, as it was almost entirely surrounded by a force largely its superior in numbers.
We bivouacked that night about 300 yards to the right of the Chattanooga road.
Early in the morning of the 20th instant, by your orders, I took a position with the remnant of my brigade, in rear of
the Third brigade, forming the second line.
Shortly afterward, received an order to move to the left, where I found that I was detached from the division--General
Baird's division, of the Fourteenth Army Corps, being between the right of my line and the left of the rest of the division,
and one brigade on my left, forming the extreme left of our line. About 9 o'clock the enemy made an attack on our front,
which was repulsed after a severe fight. From that time until 5 P.M. we were under a constant fire, at times one of
great intensity, but every attack was repulsed, and some of them were attended with great slaughter of the enemy.
At about 5 o'clock, during a very severe attack, and which we were repulsing with our usual success, I received an order
from General Johnson, in person, to withdraw my command, fighting the best way I could, as our whole line was to do the same.
I immediately moved my command by the left flank, in rear of the brigade that had been on my left, toward the Chattanooga
road, and then across the hills in the direction of Rossville. Some little confusion took place in this movement, owing
to the terrific fire we received from the infantry and artillery on our flank and rear while crossing a cornfield; but, with
the assistance of Colonel Buckner, of the Seventy-ninth Illinois Volunteers, I succeeded in getting into good order again,
and retiring, in that manner to near Rossville, where we bivouacked for the night. During this terrible engagement I
am proud to say that all, men and officers alike, behaved in such a manner as to make distinction between them invidious.
The loss of my brigade is shown by the following table. It will be seen that, out of the aggregate to 1,130 who
went into the engagement, there remained but 598 men.
The list of missing, as will be seen, is quite large. A large majority of those reported in that manner, I am satisfied,
were either killed or wounded, as much of the heaviest loss, I suppose, was during the attack of the night of the 19th, as
we received a very heavy cross-fire from the enemy, there must have been a great many struck down by the enemy's bullets.
Very nearly all that were lost at that time are reported missing, and will have to stand that way until we receive more definite
I have the honor to be, very respectively, your obedient servant,
J. B. DODGE,
Colonel, comdg. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Army Corps.
Lieutenant A. S. Smith,
Acting Assistant Adjutant General Second Division