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till dark this evening, I believe I am not premature in announcing a complete victory over Bragg. Lookout Mountain top, all the rifle-pits in Chattanooga Valley, and Missionary Ridge entire, have been carried and now held by us.
I have no idea of finding Bragg here to-morrow. U. S. Grant,
To Major-General H. W. Hallcck, General-in-
The operations of to-day have been more successful than yesterday, having carried Missionary Ridge from near Rossville to the railroad tunnel, with a comparatively small Joss on our side, capturing about forty pieces of artillery, a large quantity of small arms, camp and garrison equipage, besides the arms in the hands of the prisoners. We captured two thousand prisoners, of whom two hundred were officers of all grades, from colonels down.
We will pursue the enemy in the morning.
The conduct of the officers and troops was every
thing that could be expected. Missionary Ridge
was carried simultaneously at six different points.
Geo. II. Thomas,
FROM GENERAL THOMAS.
Major-General Hallcck, General-in-Chief:
General Davis, commanding division. Fourteenth corps, operating with General Sherman, gained possession of Cliickamauga depot at halfpast twelve to-day. My troops having pursued by the Rossville and Greysville road, came upon the enemy's cavalry at New-Bridge, posted on east side of creek. They retired on the approach of our troops. The column will be detained for a few hours to rebuild the bridge, but Hooker thinks ho can reach Greysville, and perhaps Ringgold, to-night. Many stragglers have been picked up to-day, perhaps two thousand. Among the prisoners are many who were paroled at Vicksburgh. George II. Thomas,
Major-General. FROM GENERAL GRANT. Chattanooga, Tex.*., 1 A.m., Nov. 2T, 1863. Major-General Halleck, (jeneral-in-Chief:
I am just in from the front The rout of the enemy is most complete. Abandoned wagons, caissons, and occasionally pieces of artillery, are everywhere to be found. I think Bragg's loss will fully reach sixty pieces of artillery. A largo number of prisoners have fallen into our hands. The pursuit will continue to Red Clay in the morning, for which place I shall start in a few hours. U. S. Grant,
FROM GENERAL THOMAS. Chattaxoooa, Texn., Nov. 2T, 1863—12 P.m. Major-GeneralH. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief: General Palmer reports Johnson's division, Fourteenth corps, surprised A. P. Stewart's divi
sion last night, taking four guns, two caissons, and many prisoners. Hooker reports his arrival at Ringgold at nine A.m. to-day; found the road strewn with caissons, limbers, and ambulances. He commenced skirmishing with enemy at eleven A.m., in Railroad Pass or Gap, near Ringgold — about half Osterhaus's and third Geary's division engaged, and forced the enemy to abandon the position he had taken in the passes. Both divisions suffered severely, the enemy making obstinate resistance. On the morning of the twenty-fourth, I sent Colonel Long, commanding Second brigade, Second cavalry division, across South-Chickamauga to make raids on East-Tennessee and Georgia Railroad. He returned this evening, bringing two hundred and fifty prisoners, and reports he has destroyed the railroad from Tyner's Station to the Hiawassee, and ten miles south-west of Cleveland. Ho also destroyed eighty wagons and large quantity commissary stores and other supplies at Cleveland. The prisoners we have taken since the twentythird now sum up more than five thousand. Geo. II. Thomas, Major-General Commanding.
GENERAL GRANT'S REPORT.
Headquartrrs Military Division Op Thr 1
Mississippi, Ix Field,
Chattanooga, Tbxx., Dec. 28,1S6S. (
Colonel J. C. Kelton, Assktant-Adjutant General, Washington, D. C.: Colonel: In pursuance of General Orders No. 337, War Department, of date Washington, October sixteenth, 1803, delivered to me by the Secretary of War at Louisville, Kentucky, on the eighteenth of the same month, I assumed command of the "Military Division of the Mississippi," comprising the departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and tho Tennessee, and telegraphed the order assuming command, together with the order of the War Department referred to, to Major-General A. E. Burnside, at Knoxville, and to Major-General W. S. Rosecrans, at Chattanooga.
My action in telegraphing these orders to Chattanooga in advance of my arrival there, was induced by information furnished me by the Secretary of War of the difficulties with which the army of the Cumberland had to contend in supplying itself over a long, mountainous, and almost impassable road from Stevenson, Alabama, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and his fears that General Rosecrans would fall back to the north side of the Tennessee River. To guard further against the possibility of the Secretary's fears, I also telegraphed to Major-General Thomas, on the nineteenth of October, from Louisville, to hold Chattanooga at all hazards, that I would bo there as soon as possible. To which he replied, on samo date: "I will hold the town till we starve."
Proceeding directly to Chattanooga, I arrived there on the twenty-third of October, and found that General Thomas had, immediately on being placed in command of the department of tho Cumberland, ordered the concentration of MajorGeneral Hooker's command at Bridgeport, preparatory to securing the river and main wagon-road between that place and Brown's Ferry, immediately below Lookout Mountain. Tho next morning, after my arrival at Chattanooga, in company with Thomas and Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, Chief-Engineer, I made a reconnoissaneo of Brown's Ferry and the hills on the south side of the river and at the mouth of Lookout valley. After the rccohnoissance, the plan agreed upon was for Hooker to cross at Bridgeport to the south side of the river, with all the force that could be spared from the railroad, and move on the main wagonroad by way of Whitesides to Wauhatchie in Lookout valley. Major-General J. M. Palmer was to proceed by the only practicable route north of the river, from his position opposite, Chattanooga to a point on the north bank of the Tennessee River, and opposite Whitesides, then to cross to the south side to hold the road passed over by Hooker.
In the mean time, and before the enemy could be apprised of our intention, a force under the direction of Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, Chief-Engineer, was to be thrown across the river, at or near Brown's Ferry, to seize the range of hills at the mouth of Lookout valley, covering the Brown's Ferry road, and orders were given accordingly.
It was known that the enemy held the north end of Lookout valley with a brigade of troops, and tho road leading around the foot of the mountain from their main camp in Chattanooga valley to Lookout valley. Holding these advantages, he would have had little difficulty in concentrating a sufficient force to have defeated or driven him back. To remedy this, the seizure of the range of hills at the mouth of Lookout valley, and covering the Brown's Ferry road, was deemed of the highest importance. This, by the use of pontoon-bridges at Chattanooga and Brown's Ferry, would secure to us, by the north bank of the river across Moccasin Point, a shorter line by which to reenforce our troops in Lookout valley than the narrow and tortuous road around the foot of Lookout Mountain afforded the enemy for reenforcing his.
The force detailed for this expedition consisted of four thousand men, under command of General Smith, Chief-Engineer, one thousand eight hundred of which, under Brigadier-General XV. B. Ilazen, in sixty pontoon boats, containing thirty armed men each, floated quietly from Chattanooga past the enemy's pickets, to the foot of Lookout Mountain, on tho night of the twenty-seventh of October, landed on the south side of the river at Brown's Ferry, surprised the enemy's pickets stationed there, and seized the hills covering the ferry, without the loss of a man killed, and but four or five wounded. The remainder of the forces, together with the materials for a bridge, were moved by tho north bank of the river across Moccasin Point to Brown's Ferry, without attracting the attention of the enemy; and before day dawned, the whole force was ferried to the south bank of the
river, and the almost inaccessible heights rising from Lookout valley, at its outlet to the river, and below the mouth of Lookout Creek, wero secured.
By ten o'clock A.m., an excellent pontoonbridge was laid across the river at Brown's Ferry, thus securing to us the end of the desired road nearest the enemy's forces, and the shorter line over which to pass troops if a battle became inevitable. Positions were taken up by our troops from which they could not have been driven except by vastly superior forces, and then only with great loss to the enemy. Our artillery was placed in such position as to completely command the roads leading from the enemy's main camp in Chattanooga valley to Lookout valley.
On the twenty-eighth, Hooker emerged into Lookout valley at Wauhatchie, by the direct road from Bridgeport by way of Whitesides to Chattanooga, with the Eleventh army corps under Major-General Howard, and Geary's division of the Twelfth army corps, and proceeded to take up positions for the de'fence of the road from Whitesides, over which he had marched, and also the road leading from Brown's Ferry to Kelly's Ferry, throwing the left of Howard's corps forward to Brown's Ferry.
The division that started, under command of Palmer, for Whitesides, reached its destination, and took up the position intended in the original plan of this movement. These movements, so successfully executed, secured to us two comparatively good lines by which to obtain supplies from the terminus of the railroad at Bridgeport, namely, the main wagon-road by way of Whitesides, \Yrauhatchie, and Brown's Ferry, distant but twenty-eight miles, and the Kelly's Ferry and Brown's Ferry road, which, by the use of tho river from Bridgeport to Kelly's Ferry, reduced the distance for wagoning to but eight miles.
Up to this period, our forces at Chattanooga were practically invested, the enemy's lines extending from the Tennessee River, above Chattanooga, to the river at and below the point of Lookout Mountain, below Chattanooga, with the south bank of the river picketed to near Bridgeport, his main force being fortified in Chattanooga valley, at the foot of and on Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, and a brigade in Lookout valley. True, we held possession of the country north of the river, but it was from sixty to seventy miles, over the most impracticable roads to army supplies.
The artillery horses and mules had become so reduced by starvation that they could not hi/o been relied upon for moving any thing. An attempt at retreat must have been with men alone, and with only such supplies as they could carry. A retreat would have been almost certain annihilation, for the enemy, occupying positions within gunshot of, and overlooking, our very fortifications, would unquestionably have pursued retreating forces. Already more than ten thousand animals had perished in supplying halfrations to the troops by the long and tedious route from Stevenson and Bridgeport to Chattanooga over Waldrous Ridge. They could not have been supplied another week.
The enemy was evidently fully apprised of our condition in Chattanooga, and of the necessity of our establishing a new and shorter line by which to obtain supplies, if we would maintain our position ; and so fully was he impressed of the importance of keeping from us these lines—lost to him by surprise, and in a manner he little dreamed of—that, in order to regain possession of them, a night attack was made by a portion of Longstreet's forces on a portion of Hooker's troops (George's division of the Twelfth corps) the first night after Hooker's arrival in the valley. The attack failed, however, and Howard's corps, which was moving to the assistance of Geary, finding that it was not required by him, carried the remaining heights held by the enemy west of Lookout Creek. This gave us quiet possession of the lines of communication heretofore described south of the Tennessee River. Of these operations I cannot speak more particularly, the sub-reports having been sent to Washington without passing through my hands.
By the use of two steamboats—one of which had been left at Chattanooga by the enemy and fell into our hands, and one that had been built by us at Bridgeport and Kelly's Ferry—we were enabled to obtain supplies with but eight miles of wagoning. The capacity of the railroad and steamboats was not sufficient, however, to supply all the wants of the army, but actual suffering was prevented.
Ascertaining from scouts and deserters that Bragg was detaching Longstreet from the front and moving him in the direction of Knoxville, Tenn., evidently to attack Burnside, and feeling strongly the necessity of some move that would compel him to retain all his forces and recall those he had detached, directions were given for a movement against Missionary Ridge, with a view to carrying it and threatening the enemy's coinmu nications with Longstreet, of which I informed Burnside by telegraph on the seventh of November.
After a thorough reconnoissance of the ground, however, it was deemed utterly impracticable to make the move until Sherman could get up, because of the inadequacy of our forces and the condition of the animals then at Chattanooga; and I was forced to leave Burnside, for the present, to contend against superior forces of the enemy until the arrival of Sherman with his men and means of transportation. In the mean time, reconnoissances were made, and plans matured for operations. Despatches were sent to Sherman, informing him of the movement of Longstreet, and the necessity of his immediate presence at Chattanooga.
On the fourteenth of November, I telegraphed to Burnside as follows:
"Your despatch and Dana's just received. Being there, you can tell better how to resist Longstreet's attack than I can direct. With
Vou VIII.—Doc. 13
your showing, you had better give up Kingston at the last moment, and save the most productive part of your possessions. Every arrangement is now made to throw Sherman's force across the river, just at and below the mouth of Chickamauga Creek, as soon as it arrives. Thomas will attack on his left at the same time; and, together, it is expected to carry Missionary Ridge, and from there rush a force on to the railroad between Cleveland and Dalton. Hooker will at the same time attack, and, if he can, carry Lookout Mountain. The enemy now seems to be looking for an attack on his left flank. This favors us. To further confirm this, Sherman's advance division will march direct from Whitesides to Trenton. The remainder of his force will pass over a new road just made from Whitesides to Kelly's Ferry, thus being concealed from the enemy, and leave him to suppose the whole force is going up Lookout valley.
"Sherman's advance has only just reached Bridgeport. The rear will only reach there on the sixteenth. This will bring it to the nineteenth as the earliest day for making the combined movement as desired. Inform me if you think you can sustain yourself till that time. I can hardly conceive of the enemy breaking through at Kingston, and pushing for Kentucky. If they should, however, a new problem would be left for solution. Thomas has ordered a division of cavalry to the vicinity of Sparta. I will ascertain if they have started, and inform you. It will be entirely out of the question to send for ten thousand men, not because they cannot be spared, but how could they be fed after they got one day east of here?
"U. S. Grant,
"To Major-General A. E. Bcbnside."
On the fifteenth — having received from the General-in-Chief a despatch of date the fourteenth, in reference to Burnside's position, the danger of his abandonment of East-Tennessee unless immediate relief was afforded, and the terrible misfortune such a result would be to our arms; and also despatches from Mr. C. A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War; and Colonel Wilson of my staff, sent at the instance of General Burnside, informing me more fully of the condition of affairs as detailed to them by him—I telegraphed him as follows:
CnirriSOoOA, November 15,1S63.
I do not know how to impress on you the necessity of holding on to East-Tennessee in strong enough terms. According to the despatches of Mr. Dana and Colonel Wilson, it would seem that you should, if pressed to do it, hold on to Knoxville and that portion of the valley you will necessarily possess holding to that point. Should Longstreet move his whole force across the Little Tennessee, an effort should be made to cut his pontoons on that stream even if it sacrificed half the cavalry of the Ohio army.
By holding on, and placing Longstreet between the Little Tennessee and Knoxville, he should not be allowed to escape with an army capable of doing any thing this winter. I can hardly conceive the necessity of retreating from EastTennessee. If I did at all, it would be after losing most of the army, and then necessity would suggest the route. I will not attempt to lay out a line of retreat. Kingston, looking at the map, I thought of more importance than any one point in East-Tennessee.
But my attention being called more closely to it, I can see that it might be passed by, and Knoxville and the rich valley about it possessed, ignoring that place entirely. I should not think it advisable to concentrate a force near Little Tennessee to resist the crossing, jf it would be in danger of capture; but I would harass and embarrass progress in every way possible, reflecting on the fact that the army of the Ohio is not the only army to resist the onward progress of the enemy. U. S. Grant,
To Major-General A. E. Burn-side.
Previous reconnoissances made, first by Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, Chief-Engineer, and afterward by Thomas, Sherman, and myself, in company with him, of the country opposite Chattanooga and north of the Tennessee River, extending as far east as the mouth of the South-Chickaraauga and the north end of Missionary Ridge, so far as the same could be made from the north bank of the river without exciting suspicions on the part of the enemy, showed good roads from Brown's Ferry up the river and back of the first range of hills opposite Chattanooga, and out of view of the enemy's positions. Troops crossing the bridge at Brown's Ferry could be seen, and their numbers estimated by the enemy; but not seeing any thing further of them as they passed up in rear of these hills, he would necessarily be at a loss to know whether they were moving to Knoxville, or held on the north side of the river for further operations at Chattanooga. It also showed that the north end of Missionary Ridge was imperfectly guarded, and that the banks of the river from the mouth of South-Chickamauga Creek, eastward to his main line in front of Chattanooga, was watched only by a small cavalry picket. This determined the plan of operations indicated in my despatch of the fourteenth to Burnside.
Upon further consideration—the great object being to mass all the forces possible against one given point, namely, Missionary Ridge, converging toward the north end of it—it was deemed best to change the original plan, so far as it contemplated Hooker's attack on Lookout Mountain, which would give us Howard's corps of his command to aid in this purpose; and on the eighteenth the following instructions were given Thomas:
"All preparations should be made for attacking the enemy's position on Missionary Ridge by Saturday at daylight. Not being provided with a map giving names of roads, spurs of the mountain, and other places, such definite instructions cannot be given as might be desirable. How
ever, the general plan, you understand, is for Sherman, with the force brought with him, strengthened by a division from your command, to effect a crossing of the Tennessee River, just below the mouth of the Chickamauga, his crossing to be protected by artillery from the heights of the north bank of the river, (to be located by your Chief of Artillery,) and to secure the heights from the northern extremity to about the railroad tunnel before the enemy can concentrate against him. You will cooperate with Sherman.
"The troops in Chattanooga valley should all be concentrated on your left flank, leaving only the necessary force to defend fortifications on the right and centre, and a movable column of one division in readiness to move whenever ordered. This division should show itself as threateningly as possible on the most practicable line for making an attack up the valley. Your effort, then, will be to form a junction with Sherman, making your advance well toward the northern end of Missionary Ridge, and moving as near simultaneously with him as possible. The junction once formed, and the ridge carried, connections will be at once established between the two armies by roads on the south bank of the river. Farther movements will then depend on those of the enemy. Lookout valley, I think, will be easily held by Geary's division, and what troops you may still have there belonging to the old army of the Cumberland.
"Howard's corps can then be held in readiness to act either with you at Chattanooga or with Sherman. It should be marched on Friday night to a position on the north side of the river, not lower down than the first pontoon-bridge, and then held in readiness for such orders as may become necessary. All these troops will be provided with two days' cooked rations, in haversacks, and one hundred rounds of ammunition, on the person of each infantry soldier. Special care should be taken by all officers to see that ammunition is not wasted or unnecessarily fired away. You will call on the engineer department for such preparations as you may deem necessary for carrying your infantry and artillery over the creek. U. S. Grant,
"To Major-General George H. Thomas."
A copy of these instructions was furnished Sherman with the following communication:
Inclosed herewith I send you copy of instructions to Major-General Thomas, for, having been over the ground in person, and having beard the whole matter discussed, further instructions will not be necessary for you. It is particularly desirable that a force should be got through to the railroad between Cleveland and Dalton, and Longstreet thus cut off from communication with the South; but being confronted by a large force here, strongly located, it is not easy to tell how this is to be effected until the result of our first effort is known I will add, however, what is not shown in my instructions to Thomas, that a brigade of cavalry has been ordered here, which,
if it arrives in time, will be thrown across the Tennessee above Chickamauga, a.id may be able to make the trip to Cleveland or thereabouts.
U. S. Grant,
To Major-General W. T. Sherman.
Sherman's forces were moved from Bridgeport by way of Whitesides—one division threatening the enemy's left front in the direction of Trenton —crossing at Brown's Perry, up the north bank of the Tennessee to near the mouth of SouthChickainauga, where they were kept concealed from the enemy until they were ready to form a crossing. Pontoons for throwing a bridge across the river were built, and placed in North-Chickamauga, near its mouth, a few miles further up, without attracting the attention of the enemy. It was expected we would be able to effect the crossing on the twenty-first of November; but, owing to heavy rains, Sherman was unable to get up until the afternoon of the twenty-third, and then only with Generals Morgan L. Smith's, John E. Smith's, and Hugh Ewing's divisions of the Fifteenth corps, under command of MajorGeneral Frank P. Blair, of his army.
The pontoon-bridge at Brown's Ferry having been broken by the drift consequent upon the rise in the river, and rafts sent down by the enemy, the other division—Osterhaus's—was retained on the south side, and was, on the night of the twenty-third, ordered, unless it could get across by eight o'clock the next morning, to report to Hooker, who was instructed, in this event, to attack Lookout Mountain, as contemplated in the original plan.
A deserter from the rebel army, who came into our lines on the night of the twenty-second November, reported Bragg falling back. The following letter, received from Bragg by flag of truce on the twentieth, tended to confirm this report:
Headquarters Armt Of Tub Tknnk&iric, )
Major-General IT. S. Grant, Commanding Uni-
I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant, Braxton Braog,
Not being willing that he should get his army off in good order, Thomas was directed, early on the morning of the twenty-third, to ascertain the truth or falsity of this report, by driving in his pickets and making hiin develop his lines. This lie did, with the troops stationed at Chattanooga and Howard's corps, (which had been brought into Chattanooga because of the apprehended danger to our potoon-bjidges from the rise in the river and the enemy's rafts,) in the most gallant style, driving the enemy from his first line, and securing to us what is known as "Indian Hill," or "Orchard Knoll," and the low range of hills
south of it. These points were fortified durinothe night, and artillery put in position on them? Ihc report of this deserter was evidently not intended to deceive, but he had mistaken Bragg's movements. It was afterward ascertained that one division of Buckner's corps had gone to join Longstreet, and a second division of the same corps had started, but was brought back in consequence of our attack.
On the night of the twenty-third of November bherman, with three divisions of his army, strengthened by Davis's division of Thomas's corps, which had been stationed along the north bank of the river, convenient to where the crossing was to be effected, was ready for operations. At an hour sufficiently early to secure the south bank of the river, just below the mouth of SouthChickamauga, by dawn of day, the pontoons in the North-Chickamauga were loaded with thirty armed men each, who floated quietly past the enemy's pickets, landed, and captured all but one of the guard, twenty in number, before the enemy was aware of the presence of a foe. The steamboat Dunbar, with a barge in tow, after having finished ferrying across the river the horses procured from Sherman, with which to move Thomas's artillery, was sent up from Chattanooga to aid in crossing artillery and troops • and by daylight of the morning of the twentyfourth of November, eight thousand men were on the south side of the Tennessee, and fortified in rifle-trenches.
By twelve o'clock M., the pontoon-bridges across the Tennessee and the Chickamauga were laid, and the remainder of Sherman's forces crossed over, and at half past three P.m. the whole of the northern extremity of Missionary Ridge, to near the railroad tunnel, was in Sherman's possession. During the night he fortified the position thus secured, making it equal, if not superior in strength to that held by the enemy.
By three o'clock of the same day, Colonel Long, with his brigade of cavalry, of Thomas's army, crossed to the south side of the Tennessee and to the north of Chickamauga Creek, and made a raid on the enemy's lines of communication. He burned Tyner's Station, with many stores, cut the railroad at Cleveland, captured near a hundred wagons and over two hundred prisoners. His own loss was small.
Hooker carried out tho part assigned him for this day equal to the most sanguine expectations YY ith Geary's division (Twelfth corps) and two brigades of Stanley's division (Fourth corps) of Ihomass army, and Osterhaus's division (Fifteenth corps) of Sherman's army, he scaled the western slope of Lookout Mountain, drove the enemy from his rifle-pits on the northern extremity and slope of tho mountain, capturing many prisoners, without serious loss.
Thomas having done on the twentv-third, with his troops in Chattanooga, what was intended for the twenty-fourth, bettered and strengthened his advanced positions during the day, and pushed the Eleventh corps forward along the south bank of the Tennessee Biver, across Citico Creek,