FROM THE CIVIL WAR TRUST - Early on the morning of the 25th Sherman made his disposition for his main attack. Holding his centre with three brigades, he was then to move along the east and west base of Missionary Ridge with his right and left flanks. Corse advancing from the right centre moved forward, supported by Lightburn on the left and Morgan L. Smith on his right, and occupied a crest in the woods about eighty yards from the intrenched line of the enemy. From this point Corse assaulted the main rebel line, and for over an hour maintained a heavy contest, driving the enemy and at times being driven back, but still holding his crest as first secured. Here Corse, Loomis, and Morgan L. Smith fought the rebels under Hardee with Cleburne's, Gist's, Cheatham's, and Stevenson's divisions in a stubborn struggle all day up to three o'clock, holding their own, lint making little headway. About two o'clock John E. Smith's two brigades, while moving to the support of Ewing, were driven in some disorder by a charge of the enemy, heavily massed. They were quickly reformed and, aided by Corse's troops taking the rebels in the flank with a hot musketry first, the enemy was soon driven back into his line of works.
Here Sherman was fighting the heavy column of the enemy on our left, and the main part of the battle had been his share. Grant was waiting for Hooker to reach the rebel left at Rossville, in the hope that this would afford some relief to the stubborn fighting Sherman had encountered. Finding that Hooker had been delayed by the destruction of the bridge longer than was anticipated, and that the diversion was not to come front that quarter, Grant ordered Thomas to move out the four divisions constituting the centre--Baird on the left, then Wood with Sheridan on his right, and Johnson on the extreme right of the line--with a double line of skirmishers to the front, supported by the entire force, press forward to carry the first line of rifle-pits and there halt and await orders, the movement to commence at three o'clock, at a signal of six guns fired in rapid succession from Orchard Knob.
There was some little delay attending the preliminaries of the movement, and it was not until after half past three that the commands having moved out and taken the alignment were in position for the advance, when the guns sounded one, two, three, four, five, six. With this the troops, impatient all the day with being kept in the breastworks while Sherman's men were hard at work, eagerly pressed onward, divisions, brigades, and regiments striving each with the other for the advance. With the first movement Bragg at once hurried reinforcements from his right and left to strengthen his troops in his works to resist the advance on his centre. Here his line was under the command of Breckinridge, who had his own division under Lewis, Stewart's division, and part of those of Buckner and Hindman under Patton Anderson. The enemy had originally four lines of breastworks. The first one on our front was captured by Thomas on the 23d, when Orchard Knob was taken. This left three lines of rifle-pits remaining. The second one was about half a mile to the rear of the first, near the foot of the ridge. From here to the top was a steep ascent of some five hundred yards, covered with large rocks and fallen timber. About half way up the ridge a small line of works had been thrown up. On the crest of the hill Bragg's men had constructed their heaviest breastworks, protected on our front by some fifty pieces of artillery in position. As our troops advanced, each command cheering and answering back the cheer of the others, the men broke into a double-quick, all striving to be the first to reach the rifle-pits at the foot of the ridge, held by a strong line of the enemy's troops. The rebels opened fire with shot and shell from their batteries, as our troops advanced, changing it soon to grape and canister, which with the fire from the infantry made it terrifically hot. Dashing through this over the open plain, the soldiers of the Army of the Cumberland swept on, driving the enemy's skirmishers, charging down on the line of works at the foot of the ridge, capturing it at the point of the bayonet, and routing the rebels, sending them at full speed up the ridge, killing and capturing them in large numbers. These rifle-pits were reached nearly simultaneously by the several commands, when the troops, in compliance with their instructions, laid down at the foot of the ridge awaiting further orders. Here they were under a hot, plunging, galling fire from the enemy in their works on the crest of the ridge.
Without further waiting, and under no orders from their officers, first one regiment, then another started with its colors up the ascent, until with loud hurrahs the entire line, cheered by their officers, advanced over and around rocks, under and through the fallen timber, charged up the ridge, each determined to reach the summit first. The centre part of Sheridan's division reached the top first, as they were the nearest to the crest, and crossed it to the right of Bragg's headquarters. The rest of the line was soon up, and almost simultaneously the ridge was carried in six places. Here the enemy making a fight for a short time was routed from the last of his lines, and his centre, panic-stricken, broke in full retreat, Regiments were captured almost entire, battery after battery along the ridge was taken. In some cases the rebels were bayonetted at their guns, and the cannon that but a moment before was firing on our troops, were by them captured, turned, and used against the rebels as they were driven in masses to the rear. The charge occupied about one hour from the time of the firing of the guns on Orchard Knob until the troops occupied the rebel lines on the ridge. Sheridan's division reached the ridge a few minutes too late to capture Bragg, Breckinridge, and a number of the rebel generals, who left Bragg's headquarters on the charge of our men up the ridge.
Sheridan advanced with his division, skirmishing with the enemy's rear-guard, but driving them steadily for about a mile on the Chickamauga station road. Here this road runs over a high ridge on which the enemy had posted eight pieces of artillery supported by a strong force to cover their retreat. At this point Sheridan, with Harker's and Wagner's brigades, had an engagement with these troops, but after a movement flanking the rebel's right and left, they hurriedly retreated, leaving two pieces of artillery and a large number of wagons. After this ridge was captured, Sheridan's troops went into bivouac. During the night the full moon flooded the surrounding country with its bright light. At midnight, on Granger's suggestion, Sheridan in the advance was again ordered with his division to press the enemy. He at once advanced his command to Chickamauga Creek, capturing a large number of prisoners and quantities of material and stores.
Wood, on reaching the top of the ridge, with Baird on his left, met with heavy opposition. The enemy was supported by a division from Hardee on the right, advancing just as Baird was getting into position. Here these two divisions were engaged in a sharp contest until after dark. Turchin, with his brigade, which was the left wing of Baird, had taken possession of a small work constructed by the enemy on the ridge when he was attacked by the rebels in a most furious charge, lint gallantly repulsed them, when they drew off in the direction of Tunnel Hill. Missionary Ridge was now entirely within our control, with the exception of the point, where Sherman's advance had been so stoutly resisted. During the night, Bragg drew off Hardee's troops from the front of Sherman, where the latter at once placed his command in position for the pursuit the next day