September 20, 1863.

The combat of the 19th proved inconclusive. Not so that of the 20th. Confederates under John C. Breckinridge came near success early on Sunday when they turned George Thomas’s left, but were repulsed. Their success, however, only strengthened Thomas’s concern for his northern flank, and redoubled calls for reinforcements. By 11 a.m, the Union right was dangerously weakened in order to meet those calls. James Longstreet’s attack against the newly-vacated line in Brotherton Field quickly overwhelmed those few defenders – the men of Jefferson C. Davis’s small division – quickly. Then Hindman’s troops assailed Horseshoe Ridge.

Four days later, Private Joel H. Puckett of the 24th Alabama recounted that morning’s experiences to his wife:

Camp near Chattanooga, Sept 24, 1863

Dear Mollie,

Sunday morning we charged his breastworks and drove him about a mile. Our reg was engaged from nine to twelve A.M. [p.m.] Here we sustained a heavy loss in our company. Mollie here at one time I bid you goodbye for ever. Loften was killed in the first charge. We captured a great many waggons, 8 pieces of artillery, lots or Ordinance, small arms canteens etc.

We rested until 3 p.m. Our company was thrown out as skirmishers and when we found him [the Federals] he was on a Vicksburg hill in mass. Our reg charged that hill three times. Many a brave man fell, but we piled that ground with Yankee slain. Our division was fighting McCooks Corpse and we still had that hill to take inch by inch.

I saw many wounded by my side, and thank God we slept that night on the battlefield, and the Yankees never stopped till they reached Chattanooga. I took one prisoner by myself and help to take others. [G]ot me a pair of blue pants, a splendid pr of boots, 3 rings shell [?] an gutta percha [gum blanket] a fine tooth comb and 80 dols in green back, also 2 zinc canteens.

A. Loften was shot in the head. Pate in arm – amputated. Clordy knee – leg amputated. Hooper – head. Moor – hand. Archibald – shoulder and foot. Leonard – arm amputated. These were the worst wounded. Our reg lost 114 killed and wounded. The enemy’s loss was immense. I only speak of the battle where I saw it. The rest of us are all well.

J. H. Puckett.

 

 

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