Gibson in Gray

Report of Colonel Alfered J. Vaughn, 13th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry
 commanding Preston Smith's Brigade at the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia

Barry Dunagan's Genealogy and History

   Gibson in Gray

47th Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A.

             In Field, in front of Chattanooga, Tenn., October 4, 1863

Major; I beg leave to submit the following report of the action of General Preston Smith's Brigade ( composed of the 154th and Thirteenth Tennessee Regiments, under command of Col. A.J. Vaughn, Jr.; 12th and 47th Tennessee Regiments, under command of Col. W.M. Watkins; 11th Tennessee Regiment, under command of Col. G.W. Gordon; 29th Tennessee Regiment, under command of Col. Horace Rice; Scott's Battery under command of 1st Lieut. John H. Marsh; and a battalion of sharpshooters composed of two companies from the 12th and 47th Tennessee Regiments, one from 154th Tennessee Regiment, one from the 11th and one from the 29th Tennessee Regiments, under command of Maj. J.W. Dawson, 154th Senior Tennessee Regiment and Maj. William Green, 11th Tennessee Regiment, Cheatham's Division, Polk's Corp, Army of Tennessee in the battle of Chickamuga and the occupation of Missionary Ridge in September 19, 20,21, and 22;
     On the evening of September 17, orders were recieved to move General Preston Smith's Brigade out on the Ringgold road to the intersection of Lee and Gordon's Mills Road; thence to Rock Church, where we bivouacked for the night in line of battle.

     Early on the morning of September 18, we were ordered to move forward in the direction of the ford below Lee and Gordon's Mill and West Chickamauga. Our advance during the day was very slow, having to wait for Buckner's Corp to pass to the front and effect a crossing of the creek, which they suceeded in doing after heavy skirmishing. We bivouacked at night in line of battle half mile south of West Chickamauga. Early on the morning of September 19, the brigade moved forward and crossed the creek and formed in line of battle on the left of Jackson's Brigade.

     As soon as the division effected a crossing, we moved forward near a mile; formed line in similiar order in rear of Buckner's Corp; remained in this position a short time, when we recieved orders to move by the right flank in double quick to the support of General Walker, who for sometime had been actively engaging the enemy. On arriving at the scene of action we found General Walker stoutly resisted, and his command much exhausted from long and continued action. We were ordered to form line immediately. Formed, as before, on the left of General Jackson's Brigade. As soon as formed we were ordered to advance and engage the enemy. We advanced but a short distance before we met the enemy advancing. We engaged him at once, and furiously drove him before us 600 or 800 yards, forcing him to take shelter behind the breastworks from which he had advanced in the morning. We moved steadily forward until within musket range of their works, notwithstanding, we were subjected to a severe and concentrated fire, both of musketry and artillery, the brigade kept up a steady and determined fire until the supply of ammunition was nearly exhausted. General Smith, being apprised of this, at once informed General Cheatham of the fact, at the same time assuring him he was able to hold the position until he could forward a brigade to his relief. Whereupon, General Strahl was ordered forward, and as soon as he occupied General Smith's position, General Smith withdrew his brigade and moved some 400 yards to the rear and reformed his line.
     During this engagement, begining at about 12m and closing about 2p.m., the officers and men of the different regiments of the brigade acted with conspicous gallantry, discharging every duty and reponding to every order with commendable promptness.

     Since acted so well I cannot particularize. Scott's Battery, under command of First Lieutenant John H. Marsh, advanced with the brigade and took position as ordered, under a heavy and destructive fire of the enemy, so much so that a number of men and horses were disabled before the battery was placed for action. Immediately a rapid and well directed fire was opened upon the enemy with telling effect upon his ranks. This fire was vigorously maintained until the brigade was relieved and ordered to the rear.

    It was in this engagement that First Lieut. John H. Marsh was severely, if nor dangerously wounded while gallantly encourging his men and inspiring them by his own distinguished coolness and heroism. The command the3n devolved upon Second Lieut. A.T. Watson, who throughout the engagement acted with commendable bravery.

     In bringing on the engagement and in driving the enemy, the battalion of sharpshooters did efficient service, both officers and men, acted well their parts.

     After supplying the command with ammunition and taking position as ordered, it was found that Scott's Battery was so disabled by the loss of men and horses as to be unfit for action during the evening. Turner's Battery, of Maney's Brigade, was ordered to report ot General Smith. It was placed on the right of the brigade, and did effective service in checking the second advance of the enemy. Throughout the evening Lieut. Turner poured a murdeous fire into the enemy's ranks. His coolness and disregard of danger elicited the highest praise from the officers and men of the entire brigade. It was while supporting this Major Dawson, 154th Senior Tennessee Regiment, in command of the battalion of sharpshooters, was severely wounded in the groin.

    The enemy, finding it impossible to drive us from our position, sullenly retired out of range, and comparatice quiet prevailed along our lines until 6 p.m., when General Smith, being informed a night attack was determined upon, was ordered that so soon as General Deshler's Brigade, of Major General Cleburne's Division, should advance to his front, to move his brigade forward as General Deshler's support. After having advanced in this order some 200 yards, the engagement was commenced on the right, and extended to Deshler's Brigade, in our front. Advancing a short distance farther, it being quite dark, a portion of this brigade became somewhat confused and fell back on our line. General Smith orderede them to move forward, which order was obeyed, and we continued to advance but a short distance when they, a second time fell back on our line and were again urged forward by General Smith. Instead of moving direct to the front, they obliqued to the left and uncovered the two right regiments of General Smith's Brigade. In the darkness General Smith did not know this, and a third time coming upon troops at a halt in his immediate front, presuming them to belong to General Deshler's command, he and Capt. Thomas H. King, volunteer aide, rode to the front to ascertain the delay. On riding up to the line (which proved to be the enemy) and asking who was in command of these troops, he was discovered to be a Confederate officer, and he and Capt. King were both killed. I, at the same time was in front of my regiment, accompained by Capt. Donelson, acting assistant adjutant general to General Smith, to know the cause of the delay of what I supposed to be a portion of General Deshler's command. Riding up to a soldier, I asked him what command he belonged. Discovering that I was a Confederate officer, he fired at me, missing me, but killing Capt. Donelson, who was by my side. I immediately ordered some files from the 12th Tennessee Regiment to shoot him, which they did, killing him instantly. The line in front, seeing their situation, cried out, "Don't shoot, we surrender." I then rode forward and found them in the act of grounding their arms. Discovering a stand of colors in my front, I asked, " Who has those colors?", the reply was , "The color bearer," I then said , "Sir, to what command do you belong?", He replied, " To the 77th Pennsylvania Regiment." I then took from him the stand of colors and handed them to Capt. Carthel, 47th Tennessee Regiment, and ordered him to turn them, with the prisoners captured (about 300 in number) over to General Cheatham.

    The reason I have been thus explicit in detailing the facts connected with the capture of the stand of colors is because they were claimed to have been captured by General Deshler's command.

     Being informed that General Smith had been killed, I assumed the command of the brigade, the command of my regiment devolved upon Lieut. Col. R.W. Pitman.
     After there was no more firing of consquence, orders were recieved from Major General Cheatham to biviuac in line of battle for the reminder of the night.

     On the 20th, my brigade was not actively engaged, being held as a reserve. We were, however, subjected to a heavy artillery fire, killing and wounding several men. Late in the evening we were ordered to the extreme right, where re remained until the morning of September 21. I then ordered the batallion of sharpshooters, under command of Majors Green and Purl, to deploy so as to cover the front of my brigade and move as far as the top of Missionary Ridge, or discover the whereabouts of the enemy. In a short time they reported the enemy in the valley around Chattanooga. At 3 p.m. we were ordered to the extreme right of the line, and biviuacked for the night near Bird's Mill.

     On the morning of September 22, we moved on the Shallow Ford Road in the direction of Chattanooga. When we arrived at the foot of Missionary Ridge, we formed line of battle on the left of General Maney's Brigade and advanced to the top of the ridge meeting but little resistance, though the enemy was posted strongly.

     Accompanying this will be found the reports of several regimental commanders; Major William Green, commanding battalion of sharpshooters, and Lieut. A.T. Watson, commanding Scott's Battery of the action taken by their respective commands, to which your attention.

     A list of the casualties of the brigade has already been forwarded to headquaters.

     I cannot close this report without alluding to the very efficient service rendered me by Capt. J.W. Harris, inspector general, General Smith's staff, in carrying and executing all orders in the most prompt manner possible. Also, Capt. Emmett Cockrill, aide to General Smith, deserves especial notice manner in which he discharged every duty assigned him.

     Thanks are due Major King, brigade commissary, for keeping the troops so well provided with rations during the campaign from LaFayette, Ga.,to this place. Also, to Major Beecher, brigade quartermaste, for the efficient manner in which our wounded me were carried from the field. Thanks are also due Capt. Henry K. Beatty, brigade ordnance officer, for the prompt and efficient manner in which the command was kept constantly supplied with ammunition. Also special credit is due Lieut. J.W. Cochran, brigade provost marshal, for the promptness and efficiency displayed in discharging the duties of his office.

     Especial attention is called to Colonel Rice's report in reference to the gallant conduct of Ed. H. Clayton, courier to General Smith.
                                                                                                          A.J. Vaughn, Jr.
Maj. James D. Porter, Jr.
Assistant Adjutant General