The battle opens for the Confederates with Sears’s Brigade deployed and advancing from the north, while Cockrell and Young’s Brigades are deployed on the ridge west of the Star Fort and Rowett’s Redoubt. The Union forces are spread out between the two redoubts, the fortifications and rifle pits adjoining them, and Rowett’s Redoubt to the west of the Star Fort.
On the east side of the cut, the 50th and 12th Illinois are deployed on the south and north slopes respectively. The 12th Illinois occupies a naturally strong ledge, and quickly digs fieldworks in the early morning hours. The 50th only dug shallow trenches that were barely visible. The 4th Minnesota mans a line of trenches from the Tennessee Road to the Eastern Redoubt. Portions of the 57th Illinois, a small detachment of the 15th Ohio Cavalry, and 3 cannons of the 12th Wisconsin Battery occupied the Eastern Redoubt itself. On the ridge to the east of the Eastern Redoubt is a Signal Corps station, a simple platform constructed on top of a 60 foot tall pine tree. Signalers manage to send and receive messages in the morning before the main assault began and it became too dangerous to remain.
On the western side of the cut, the Star Fort was manned three companies of the 93rd Illinois and two cannons of the 12th Wisconsin. Two companies of the 93rd were deployed in a trench on the ridge north of the Star Fort, two were deployed near the headquarters building of the regiment as a reserve for the forces in Rowett’s Redoubt, and the remaining three were skirmishing in rifle pits to the west of Rowett’s Redoubt.
The 39th Iowa and seven companies of the 7th Illinois (all ten companies of which were armed with the Henry repeating rifle) occupied Rowett’s Redoubt itself. The redoubt was constructed on the next hillside west of the Star Fort along the Cartersville Road. It was a well built fieldwork with abatis in front to slow and entangle any attacking force. One Napoleon cannon from the 12th Wisconsin was also in the redoubt.
To the south, the 18th Wisconsin was spread out in a long skirmish line keeping a watchful eye for any activity from that direction. The remaining three companies of the 7th Illinois were deployed in rifle pits behind them as support.
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