Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

one brigade of which, with Howard in person, reached Sherman just as he had completed the crossing of the river.

When Hooker emerged in sight of the northern extremity of Lookout Mountain, Carlin's brigade of the Fourteenth corps was ordered to cross Chattanooga Creek and form a junction with him. This was effected late in the evening, and after considerable fighting.

Thus, on the night of the twenty-fourth, our forces maintained an unbroken line, with open communications, from the north end of Lookout Mountain, through Chattanooga valley, to the north end of Missionary Ridge.

On the morning of the twenty-fifth, Hooker took possession of the mountain-top with a small force, and with the remainder of his command, in pursuance of orders, swept across Chattanooga valley, now abandoned by the enemy, to Rossville. In this march he was detained four hours building a bridge across Chattanooga Creek. From Rossville he ascended Missionary Ridge, and moved southward toward the centre of the now shortened line.,

Sherman's attack upon the enemy's most northern and most vital pdint was vigorously kept up all day. The assaulting column advanced to the very rifle-pits of the enemy, and held this position firmly and without wavering. The right of the assaulting column being exposed to the danger of being turned, two brigades were sent to its support. These advanced in the most gallant manner over an open field on the mountain side to near the works of the enemy, and lay there partially covered from the fire for some time. The right of these two brigades rested near the head of a ravine or gorge in the mountain side, which the enemy took advantage of, and sent troops covered from view below them, and to their right rear. Being unexpectedly fired into from this direction, they fell back across the open field below them, and re-formed in good order in the edge of the timber. The column which attacked them were speedily driven to their intrenchments by the assaulting column proper.

Early in the morning of the twenty-fifth, the remainder of Howard's corps reported to Sherman, and constituted a part of his forces during that day's battle, the pursuit, and subsequent advance for the relief of Knoxville.

Sherman's position not only threatened the right flank of the enemy, but, from his occupying a line across the mountain and to the railroad bridge across Chickamauga Creek, his rear and stores at Chickamauga Station. This caused the enemy to move heavily against him. This movement of his being plainly seen from the position I occupied on Orchard Knoll, Baird's division of the Fourteenth corps was ordered to Sherman's support; but receiving a note from Sherman, informing me that he had all the force necessary, Baird was put in position on Thomas's left.

The appearance of Hooker's column was at this time anxiously looked for, and momentarily expected, moving north on the ridge, with his I

left in Chattanooga Valley, and his right cast of the ridge. His approach was intended as the signal for storming the ridge in the centre with strong columns, but the time necessarily consumed in the construction of the bridge near Chattanooga Creek detained him to a later hour than was expected. Being satisfied from the latest information from him that he must, by this time, be on his way from Rossville, though not yet in sight, and discovering that the enemy, in his desperation to defeat or resist the progress of Sherman, was weakening his centre on Missionary Ridge, determined me to order the advance at once. Thomas was accordingly directed to move forward his troops constituting our centre—Baird's division, (Fourteenth corps,) Wood's and Sheridan's division, (Fourth corps,) and Johnson's division, (Fourteenth corps.) with a double line of skirmishers thrown out, followed in easy supporting distance by the whole force, and carry the rifle-pits at the foot of Missionary Ridge, and, when carried, to re-form his lines in the rifle-pits, with a view to carrying the top of the ridge.

These troops moved forward, drove the enemy from the rifle-pits at the base of the ridge like bees from a hive, stopped but a moment until the whole were in line, and commenced the ascent of the mountain from right to left almost simultaneously, following closely the retreating enemy without further orders. They encountered a fearful volley of grape and canister from near thirty pieces of artillery and musketry from still well-filled rifle-pits on the summit of the ridge. Not a waver, however, was seen in all that long line of brave men. Their progress was steadily onward until the summit was in their possession. In this charge the casualties were remarkably few for the fire encountered. I can account for this only on the theory that the enemy's surprise at the audacity of such a charge caused confusion and purposeless aiming of their pieces.

The nearness of night, and the enemy still resisting the advance of Thomas's left, prevented a general pursuit that night, but Sheridan pushed forward to Mission Mills.

The resistance on Thomas's left being overcome, the enemy abandoned his position near the railroad-tunnel in front of Sherman, and by twelve o'clock at night was in full retreat; and the whole of his strong positions on Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga Valley, and Missionary Ridge were in our possession, together with a large number of prisoners, artillery, and small arms.

Thomas was directed to get Granger with his corps, and detachments enough from other commands, including the force available at Kingston, to make twenty thousand men, in readiness to go to the relief of Knoxville upon the termination of the battle at Chattanooga—these troops to take with them four days' rations, and a steamboat loaded with rations to follow up the river.

On the evening of the twenty-fifth of November orders were given to both Thomas and Sherman to pursue the enemy early next morning, with all their available force, except that under Granger, intended for the relief of Knoxville.

On the morning of the twenty-sixth, Sherman advanced by way of Chickamauga Station, and Thomas's forces under Hooker and Palmer moved on the Rossville road toward Grapeville and Ringgold.

The advance of Thomas's forces reached Ringgold on the morning of the twenty-seventh, where they found the enemy in strong position in the gorge and on the crest of Taylor's Ridge, from which they dislodged him after a severe fight, in which we lost heavily in valuable officers and men, and continued the pursuit that day until near Tunnel Hill, a distance of twenty miles from Chattanooga.

Davis's division (Fourteenth corps) of Sherman's column reached Ringgold about noon of the same day. Howard's corps was sent by General Sherman to Red Clay to destroy the railroad between Dalton and Cleveland, and thus cut off Bragg's communication with Longstreet, which was successfully accomplished.

Had it not been for the imperative necessity of relieving Burnside, I would have pursued the broken, demoralized, and retreating enemy as long as supplies could have been found in the country. But my advices were, that Burnside's supplies could only last until the third of December. It was already getting late to afford the necessary relief I determined, therefore, to pursue no further. Hooker was directed to hold the position he then occupied until the night of the thirtieth, but to go no further south at the expense of a fight. Sherman was directed to inarch to the railroad crossing of the Hiawassee, to protect Granger's flank until he was across that stream, and to prevent further reinforcements being sent by that route into East-Tennessee.

Returning from the front on the twenty-eighth, I found that Granger had not yet got off, nor would he have the number of men I directed. Besides, he moved with reluctance and complaint. I therefore determined, notwithstanding the fact that two divisions of Sherman's forces had marched from Memphis, and had gone into battle immediately on their arrival at Chattanooga, to send him with his command; and orders in accordance therewith were sent him at Calhoun to assume command of the troops with Granger, in addition to those with him, and proceed with all possible despatch to the relief of Burnside.

General Elliot had been ordered by Thomas, on the twenty-sixth of November, to proceed from Alexandria, Tennessee, to Knoxville, with his cavalry division, to aid in the relief of that place.

The approach of Sherman caused Longstreet to raise the siege of Knoxville and retreat eastward on the night of the fourth of December. Sherman succeeded in throwing his cavalry into Knoxville on the night of the third.

Sherman arrived in person at Knoxville on the sixth, and after a conference with Burnside in reference to "organizing a pursuing force large enough to overtake the enemy and beat him, or

drive him out of the State," Burnside was of the opinion that the corps of Granger, in conjunction with his own command, was sufficient for that purpose, and on the seventh addressed to Sherman the following communication:

"khoxtilli, Dec. 7,1868. "To Major-General Sherman:

"I desire to express to you and your command my most hearty thanks and gratitude, for your promptness in coming to our relief during the siege of Knoxville, and I am satisfied that your approach served to raise the siege. The emergency having passed, I do not deem, for the present, any other portion of your command but the corps of General Granger necessary for operations in this section; and, inasmuch as General Grant has weakened the forces immediately with him in order to relieve us, thereby rendering portions of General Thomas's less secure, I deem it advisable that all the troops now here, except those commanded by General Granger, should return at once to within supporting distance of the forces operating against General Bragg's army. In behalf of my command, I again desire to thank you and your command for the kindness you have done us. A. E. Rukxside,

"Mi^or-General."

Leaving Granger's command at Knoxville, Sherman, with the remainder of the forces, returned by slow marches to Chattanooga.

I have not spoken more particularly of the result of the pursuit of the enemy, because the more detailed reports accompanying this do the subject justice. For the same reason I have not particularized the part taken by corps and division commanders.

To Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, Chief-Engineer, I feel under more than ordinary obligations for the masterly manner in which he discharged the duties of his position, and desire that his services may be fully appreciated by higher authorities.

The members of my staff discharged faithfully their respective duties, for which they have my warmest thanks.

Our losses in these battles were seven hundred and fifty-seven killed, four thousand five hundred and twenty-nine wounded, and three hundred and thirty missing—total, five thousand six hundred and sixteen.

The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was probably less than ours, owing to the fact that he was protected by his intrcnchnients. while we were without cover. At Knoxville, however, his loss was many times greater than ours, making his entire losses at the two places equal to, if not exceeding ours. We captured six thousand, one hundred atid forty-two prisoners, of whom two hundred and thirty-nine were commissioned officers; forty pieces of artillery, sixty-nine artillery carriages and caissons, and seven thousand stand of small arms.

The armies of the Cumberland and the Tennessee, for their energy and unsurpassed bravery in the three days' battle of Chattanooga,

and the pursuit of the enemy; their patient endurance in marching to the relief of Knoxville; and the army of the Ohio for its masterly defence of Knoxville, and repeated repulses of Longstreet's assaults upon that place, are deserving of the gratitude of their country. I have the honor to be, Colonel, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

U. S. Grant,

Major-General U. S. Army.

GENERAL SHERMAN'S REPORT.

Headquarters Department And Arm* Of Tiiie *
Tennessee, Bridgeport, Ala., Dec. 19, 1SC3. f

Brigatlier-General John A. Rawlins, Chief of SUiff to General Grant, Chattanooga, Tenn.: General: For the first time, I am now at leisure to make an official record of the events with which the troops under my command have been connected during the eventful campaign which has just closed.

During the month of September last, the Fifteenth army corps, which I had the honor to command, lay in camps along the Big Black, about twenty miles east of Vicksburgh, Miss.

It consisted of four divisions. The First, commanded by Brigadier-General B. J. Osterhaus, was composed of two brigades, led by BrigadierGeneral C. K. Woods and Colonel J. A. Williamson, of the Fourth Iowa. The Second, commanded by Brigadier-General Morgan L. Smith, was composed of two brigades, led by Generals Giles A. Smith and J. A. D. Lightburn. The Third, commanded by Brigadier-Ccneral J. M. Tuttle, was composed of three brigades, led by Generals J. A. Momer and R. B. Iiuckland and Colonel J. J. Wood, of the Twelfth Iowa. The Fourth, commanded by Brigadier-General Hugh Ewing, was composed of three brigades, led by General J. M. Corse, Colonel Loomis, of the Twenty-sixth Illinois, and Colonel J. R. Cockrell, of the Seventieth Iowa.

On the twenty-second day of September, I received a telegraphic despatch from General Grant, then at Vicksburgh, commanding the department of the Tennessee, requiring me to detach one of my divisions to march to Vicksburgh, there to embark for Memphis, where it was to form part of an army to be sent to Chattanooga to reenforce General Rosecrans.

I designated the First division, and at four P.m. the same day it marched for Vicksburgh, and embarked the next day.

On the twenty-third of September, I was summoned to Vicksburgh by the General Commanding, who showed me several despatches from the General-in-Chief, which led him to suppose he would have to send me and my whole corps to Memphis and eastward, and I was instructed to prepare for such orders.

It was explained to me that in consequence of tiie low stage of water in the Mississippi, boats had arrived irregularly, and had brought despatches that seemed to conflict in meaning, and that John E. Smith's division, of McPherson's corps, had been ordered up to Memphis, and that

I should take that division and leave one of my own in its stead to hold the line of the Big Black. I detailed my Third division, General Tuttle, to remain and report to Major-General J. B. McPherson, commanding the Seventeenth corps, at Vicksburgh; and that of General John E. Smith, already started for Memphis, was styled the Third division, though it still belonged to the Seventeenth army corps.

This division is also' composed of three brigades, commanded by General Mathias, Colonel G. B. Baum, of the Fifty-sixth Illinois, and Colonel J. J. Alexander, of the Fiftieth Indiana.

The Second and Fourth divisions were started for Vicksburgh the moment I was notified that boats were in readiness, and on the twenty-.seventh September I embarked in person in the steamer Atlantic for Memphis, followed by a fleet of boats conveying these two divisions.

Our progress was slow, on account of tfie unprecedentedly low water in the Mississippi and the scarcity of coal and wood. We were compelled in places to gather fence-rails, and to land wagons and haul wood from the interior to the boats; but I reached Memphis during the night of the second of October, and the other boats came in on the third and fourth.

On arrival at Memphis I saw General Hurlbut, and read all the despatches and letters of instructions of General Halleck, and therein derived my instructions, which I construed to be as follows:

To conduct the Fifteenth army corps, and all other troops which could be spared from the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, to Athens, Ala., and thence report by letter for orders to General Rosecrans, commanding the army of the Cumberland at Chattanooga; to follow substantially the railroad castwardly, repairing it as I moved; to look to my own lines for supplies, and in no event to depend on General Rosecrans for supplies, as the roads to his rear were already overtaxed to supply his present army.

I learned from General Hurlbut that Ostcrhaus's division was already out in front of Corinth, and that John E. Smith was still at Memphis, moving his troops and material out by rail as fast as its limited stock would carry them. General J. D. Webster was Superintendent of the railroad, and was enjoined to work night and day and expedite the movement as much as possible; but the capacity of the railroad was so small that I soon saw that I could move horses, mules, and wagons by the road under escort, and finally moved the entire Fourth division by land. The enemy seemed to have had early notice of this movement, and he endeavored to thwart us from the start

A considerable force assembled in a threatening attitude at Salem, south of Salisbury Station, and General Carr, who commanded at Corinth, felt compelled to turn back and use a part of my troops that had already reached Corinth to resist the threatened attack.

On Sunday, October eleventh, having put in

motion my whole force, I started myself for Corinth in a special train, with the battalion of the Thirteenth United States infantry for escort. We reached Collierville Station about noon, just in time to take part in the defence made of that station by Colonel D. C. Anthony, of the Sixtysixth Indiana, against an attack made by General Chalmers with a force of about three thousand cavalry with eight pieces of artillery.

He was beaten off, the damage to the road repaired, and we resumed our journey next day, reaching Corinth at night

I immediately ordered General Blair forward to Iuka with the First division, and as fast as I got troops up pushed them forward of Bear Creek, the bridge of which was completely destroyed, and an'engineer regiment, under command of Colonel Flad, engaged in its repair.

Quite a considerable force of the enemy was in our front, near Tuscumbia, to resist our advance. It was commanded by General Stephen D. Lee, and composed of Roddy's and Furgeson's brigades, with irregular cavalry, amounting in the aggregate to about five thousand.

In person I moved from Corinth to Burnsville on the eighteenth, and to Iuka on the nineteenth of October.

Osterhaus's division was in the advance, constantly skirmishing with the enemy. It was supported by Morgan L. Smith, both divisions under the general command of Major-Gcneral Blair.

John E. Smith's division covered the working party engaged in rebuilding the railroad.

Foreseeing difficulty in crossing the Tennessee, I had written to Admiral Porter at Cairo, asking him to watch the Tennessee and send up some gunboats the moment the stage of water admitted, and had also requested General Allen, at St. Louis, to despatch up to Eastport a steam-tug ferry-boat.

The Admiral, ever prompt and ready to assist us, had two gunboats up at Eastport under Captain Phelps, the very day after my arrival at Iuka, and Captain Phelps had a coal-barge decked over with which to cross horses and wagons before the arrival of the ferry-boat.

Still following literally the instructions of General Halleck, 1 pushed forward the repairs of the railroad, and ordered General Blair, with his two leading divisions, to drive the enemy beyond Tuscumbia, This he did successfully, after a pretty severe fight at Cane Creek, occupying Tuscumbia on the twenty-seventh of October.

In the mean time many important changes in command had occurred, which I must note here, to a proper understanding of the case.

General Grant had been called from Vieksburgh and sent to Chattanooga to command the three armies of the Ohio, Cumberland, and the Tennessee, and the department of the Tennessee had been, devolved on me, with instructions, however, to. retain command of the army in the field.

At Iuka I made what appeared to me the best disposition of matters relating to this depart-1

ment, giving General McPherson full powers as to Mississippi, and General Hurlbut as to WestTennessee, and assigned General Blair to the command of the Fifteenth army corps; and I summoned General Hurlbut from Memphis, and General Dodge from Corinth, and selected out of the Sixteenth corps a force of about eight thousand men, which I directed General Dodge to organize with all expedition and with it to follow me eastward.

On the twenty-seventh October, when General Blair with two divisions was at Tuscumbia, I ordered General Ewing, with the Fourth division, to cross the Tennessee, by means of the gunboats and scow, as rapidly as possible, at Eastport, and push forward to Florence, which he did, and the same day a messenger from General Grant floated down the Tennessee over the Muscle Shoals, landed at Tuscumbia, and was sent to me at Iuka. He bore a short message from the General to this effect:

"Drop all work on the Railroad east of Bear Creek; put your command toward Bridgeport till you meet orders."

Instantly the order was executed, and the order of march was reversed, and all columns directed to Eastport, the only place where I could cross the Tennessee.

At first I only had the gunboats and coalbarge, but the two transports and ferry-boat arrived on the thirty-first October, and the work of crossing was pushed with all the vigor possible.

In person I crossed, and passed to the head of the column in Florence on the first November, leaving the rear division to be conducted by General Blair, and marched to Rogersviilc and the Elk River. This was found to be impassable. To ferry would have consumed too much time, and to build a bridge still more, and there was no alternative but to turn up Elk River by way of (iilbertsboro, Elkton, etc., to the stone bridge at Fayetteville. There we crossed Elk, and proceeded to Winchester and Decherd.

At Fayetteville I received orders from General Grant to come to Bridgeport with the Fifteenth army corps, and leave General Dodge's command at Pulaski and along the railroad from Columbia to Decatur. I instructed General Blair to follow with the Second and First divisions by way of New-Market, Larkinsville, and Hellefonte, while I conducted the other two divisions by Decherd, the Fourth division crossing the mountains to Stevenson, and the Third by University Place and Sweiden's Cave.

In person I proceeded by Sweiden's Lane and Battle Creek, reaching Bridgeport at night of November thirteenth.

I immediately telegraphed to the Commanding-General my arrival and the position of my several divisions, and was summoned to Chattanooga.

I took the first boat during the night of the fourteenth for Kelly's, and rode into Chattanooga on the fifteenth.

I then learned the post assigned me in the

coming drama, was supplied with the necessary maps and information, and rode, during the sixteenth, in company with Generals Grant, Thomas, W. F. Smith, Brannan, and others, to the position on the west bank of the Tennessee, from which could be seen the camps of the enemy, compassing Chattanooga and the line of Missionary Hills with its terminus on Chickamauga Creek, the point that I was expected to take, hold, and fortify.

Pontoons with a full supply of balks and chesses had been prepared for the bridge over the Tennessee, and all things prearranged with a foresight that elicited my admiration. From the hills we looked down upon the amphitheatre of Chattanooga as on a map, and nothing remained but for me to put my troops in the desired position.

The plan contemplated that in addition to crossing the Tennessee and making a lodgment on the terminus of Missionary Ridge, I should demonstrate against Lookout Mountain near Trenton with a part of my command.

All on the Chattanooga were impatient for action, rendered almost acute by the natural apprehension felt for the safety of General Burnside in East-Tennessee.

My command had marched from Memphis, and I had pushed them as fast as the roads and distance would permit; but I saw enough of the condition of men and animals in Chattanooga to inspire me with renewed energy.

I immediately ordered my leading division (Ewing's) to march via Shell Mound to Trenton, demonstrate against Lookout Ridge, but to be prepared to turn quickly and follow me to Chattanooga, and in person I returned to Bridgeport, rowing a boat down the Tennessee from Kelly's, and immediately on arrival put in motion my division in the order they had arrived.

The bridge of boats at Bridgeport was frail, and, though used day and night, our passage was slow, and the roads thence to Chattanooga were dreadfully cut up and encumbered with the wagons of other troops stationed along the road.

I reached General Hooker's headquarters during a rain in the afternoon of the twentieth, and met General Grant's orders for the general attack for the next day. It was simply impossible for me to fill my post in time. Only one division. General John E. Smith's, was in position. General Ewing was still in Trenton, and the other two were toiling along the terrible road from Shell Mound to Chattanooga.

No troops ever were or could be in better condition than mine, or who labored harder to fulfil their part. On a proper representation, General Grant postponed the attack.

On the twenty-first, I got the Second division over Brown's Ferry Bridge, and General Ewing got up, but the bridge broke repeatedly, and delays occurred which no human sagacity could prevent

All labored night and day, and General Ewing

got over on the twenty-third, but my rear division was cut off by the broken bridge at Brown's Ferry, and could not join me, but I offered to go in action with my three divisions, supported by Brigadier-General Jeff. C. Davis, leaving one of my best divisions to act with General Hooker against Lookout Mountain. That division has not joined me yet, but I know and feel that it has served the country well, and that it has reflected honor on the Fifteenth army corps, and the army of the Tennessee.

I leave the record of its history to General Hooker, or whoever has had its services during the late memorable events, confident that all will do it merited honor.

At last, on the twenty-third of November, my Third division behind the hills opposite the mouths of Chickamauga, I despatched the brigade of the Second division, commanded by General Giles A. Smith, up under cover of the hills to North-Chickamauga, to man the boats designed for the pontoon-bridge, with orders at midnight to drop down silently to a point above the mouth of South-Chickamauga, then land the regiments, who were to move along the river quietly, and capture the enemy's river pickets. General Giles A. Smith then to drop rapidly below the mouth of Chickamauga, disembark the rest of his brigade, and despatch the boats across for fresh loads.

These orders were skilfully executed, and every picket but one captured.

The balance of General Morgan L. Smith's division was then rapidly ferried across; that of General John E. Smith followed, and by daylight of November twenty-fourth, two divisions of about eight thousand men were on the east bank of the Tennessee, and had thrown up a very respectable rifle-trench as a tete-du-pont.

As soon as the day dawned, some of the boats were taken from the use of ferrying, and a pontoon-bridge begun under the immediate direction of Captain Dresser, the whole planned and supervised by General W. F. Smith in person. A pontoon-bridge was also built at the same time over Chickamauga Creek, near its mouth, giving communication with the two regiments left on the north bank, and fulfilling a most important purpose at a later stago of the drama.

I will here bear my willing testimony to the completeness of this whole business. All the officers charged with the work were present, and manifested a skill which I cannot praise too highly. I have never beheld any work done so quietly, so well; and I doubt if the history of the war can show a bridge of that extent, (namely, one thousand three hundred and fiftyfeet,) laid down so noiselessly and well in so short a time. I attribute it to the genius and intelligence of General W. F. Smith.

The steamer Dunbar arrived up in the course of the morning, and relieved General Ewing's division of the labor of rowing across, but bynoon the pontoon-bridge was down, and tuy

« AnteriorContinuar »