Head Quarters, Reynolds Brigade
Near Dalton Dec. 15/63
In accordance with directions from Division Hd. Qrs., I have the honor to submit
the following report of the operations of my Brigade consisting of the 54th and 63rd Va.
Regts. & the 58th & 60th N.C. Regts. (consolidated,) during the engagement on the 25th
At 7 o'clock on the morning of the 25th, I joined my Brigade posted in the riflepits
at the foot of Missionary Ridge, & covering a space of some fourteen hundred yards on
the left of Gen. Patton Anderson's Division.
At 10 o'clock A.M. the enemy attacked my line. Permitting them to approach
within 200 yards of the riflepits, I ordered fire to be opened on them, and after an action
of about an hour, they were driven back with considerable loss & did not again attempt to
force my position. In this short action, the officers & men of my command, without
exception conducted themselves with coolness & gallantry.
At 2 o'clock P.M. I received orders to fall back from the riflepits to the crest of
Missionary Ridge, which I did by alternate Companies, deployed as skirmishers, and
joined my line of battle on the ground designated. I will here state, that some of the
companies of the 60th N.C. Regt., which were on the extreme left of the line, in moving
up the ridge, were obliged, on account of the peculiar topography of the ground, to
oblique somewhat too far to the right and on reaching the top of the Ridge, found
themselves separated from their command, & owing to the difficulty of joining their own
Regt they remained in line with Gen. Bates' Brigade. A short time after I had taken my
position on the Crest of the Ridge, I observed the enemy advancing to the attack in three
lines of battle. There being two pieces of artillery posted on the left of my line, I directed
them to open fire on the enemy, which was done with excellent effect.
The enemy having reached our abandoned riflepits, I was directed by Gen.
Anderson's Comdg. the Division, who was there present with my Brigade, to cause the
guns to be depressed & open on them with canister. This was instantly done, & so
terrible was the effect of this fire on the dense lines of the enemy, that it caused them to
falter for an instant, but closing up their ranks, they again advanced to the charge. In a
short time the enemy came within range of musketry, & my Brigade opened on them in
fine style and as they advanced rapidly up the face of the ridge my fire, & that of my
troops on my right, was so severe that for a time the enemy were checked. Unfortunately
at this juncture, when every heart beat high with hope, & victory was almost within our
grasp, the troops posted in the riflepits on the right of my Brigade, broke & fled in the
utmost disorder. The enemy seeing the advantage that must result from this disgraceful
& inexplicable pause on the part of the hitherto invincible troops, at once crossed the hill
on my right and opened a heavy fire on my line, completely enfilading my position; this
of course rendered necessary an immediate change of position, I therefore changed front
to the rear on the left Battalion, my troops performing this delicate & dangerous
maneuver under the fire of the enemy in admirable style & without the least confusion or
irregularity. As soon as my new line was formed I opened fire by company, and
continued to engage the enemy until I found that the troops on my left had also given
way, and the enemy occupied on my left & now rear. Having now no supports whatever,
I considered it more prudent to withdraw my small, but gallant Brigade than to remain
with the almost certainty of capture. I therefore retired (it was now dusk) by the right
flank down the ridge, sheltering my troops as much as possible from the fire of the enemy
who by this time had opened our own captured guns upon me from two different &
commanding points on the ridge. Learning that Genl. Bates & the troops on my left were
proceeding towards the Pontoon bridge at Birds Mill, I moved in the direction of our
extreme right, where I yet heard firing. I did this on the principle that in the absence of
orders, it was my duty to go to the support of those yet engaged. On reaching the road
leading to "Shallow Ford" & Chickamauga river, I received orders to conduct my
command to "Shallow Ford" Bridge & report to Genl. Manigault, who would place my
command in position. I reached this point about 10 o'clock, & after remaining some two
hours, took up the line of march for Chickamauga. It is with no little pleasure & pride
that I am enabled to say that both in the riflepits at the foot of the Ridge, & during the
engagement on the ridge, all the officers & men of my Brigade acted with the gallantry &
coolness of veterans. Throughout all the movement none left the ranks, but obeyed every
order promptly & without the slightest confusion or disorder. I am indebted to my Regt.
Comdrs Col. Hardy 58 & 60 N.C. Regts, Lt. Col. Wade comdg. 54th VA Regt. & Maj.
French comdg. 63rd VA Regt., for a hearty cooperation & much assistance in all my
movements during the day. Maj. French was struck by a fragment of a shell, but though
painfully wounded, refused to leave the field until the action was over. Maj. Waever of
the 60th NC Regt. & who was in command of my extreme right also deserves honorable
mention for conspicuous gallantry in conducting the retreat of his command from the
riflepits to the top of the Ridge. He was the last man to leave the trenches, & displayed
an intrepidity & indifference to danger seldom surpassed. Capt. A. T. Stewart 58th NC
and Lieut. Jacob Anderson comdg. Co. "F" 54th VA Regt, acted with great gallantry,
encouraging & setting examples of heroism to their men, Richard B. Ally color bearer
Sergt. Wm. McKinnon & Private A.M. Chumbly Co. "F" all of 54th VA Regt & Sergt.
Dr. W.F. Ester 58th NC were conspicuous for bravery. Co "F" 54th VA Regt particularly
distinguished itself as sharpshooters, performing most effective service.
As to my staff officers I am under especial obligations to the gallant Maj. C.W. Phifer
A.A.G. who bore himself as he has always done in battle, with coolness & the most
distinguished courage. He rendered great assistance in my change of front & all the
maneuvers of the day.
Capt. J. Wm. Matthews A.A.G., Lts W.A.M. Patton. W.H. Claiborne my aids &
my volunteer aid-C.B. Whitfield, rendered efficient service and gallantly discharged
every duty they were called upon to perform. The officers & men attached to the section
of artillery on my left deserve the thanks of our Division Comdrs for their distinguished
gallantry & skill in managing their guns. Amidst a storm of shot & shell they stood by
their guns, nor left their position until nearly all the horses were shot down, & they were
overwhelmed by the enemy.
I am, Maj., Respty
Yr. Obt. Servt.
(Sgd) A.W. Reynolds
Official J.W. Matthews
Transcribed by Christopher A. Baker, University of Florida, 2008.