On August 30, 1862, the end of the Union line was anchored on the small knoll overlooking the wooded ravine on its left. From there, the line stretched to the right across US 421. It ended just south of Mt. Zion Church, the brick building on the far side of the road.
Manson's Fragile Union Line
General Mahlon Manson, the Union commander, saw the Confederates advancing toward the left end of his line. He kept shifting his line east all morning, hoping to counter an expected attack. He did not see the other Confederate force hidden by the ravine west of the road.
Two Confederate Assaults
The first Confederate assault came from the ravine and hit the Union left, halting near the base of the knoll. As the main Confederate advance began, a second assault was initiated by the Tennessee troops massed in the ravine. The hidden Confederates emerged from the ravine, "howling like the wind" and smashed the stunned and ill-trained Indiana defenders. This attack came just as the weakly held Union flank across the road was disintegrating under the pressure of another Confederate flank attack.
The Union Line Breaks and Runs
These coordinated attacks pushed both ends of the Union line toward the middle. The pressure was too much for the inexperienced Union soldiers. After a very brief stand they fled north in confusion. The second Union column under General Charles Cruft was caught in a whirlwind. Fleeing soldiers swept over Cruft's men and they, too, were swept away by the unstoppable Confederate juggernaut.
On a small knoll about 125 yards to your southeast, Confederate infantry, hidden by the adjacent ravine to your left, attacked the left left flank and rear of the Union line.
The Confederates routed the Union soldiers, who retreated in disorder toward Rogersville.