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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF TITE
and the pursuit of the enemy; their patient en- I should take that division and leave one of my
Third division, though it still belonged to the
gades, commanded by General Mathias, Colonel
G. B. Baum, of the Fifty-sixth Illinois, and Col
onel J. J. Alexander, of the Fiftieth Indiana. TENNESSEE, BRIDGEPORT, ALA., Dec. 19, 1863. / The Second and Fourth divisions were started Brigadier-General John A. Rawlins, Chief of for Vicksburgh the moment I was notified that
Staff to General Grant, Chattanooga, Tenn. : | boats were in readiness, and on the twenty-sevGENERAL: For the first time, I am now at leis- enth September I embarked in person in the ure to make an official record of the events with steamer Atlantic for Memphis, followed by a which the troops under my command have been fleet of boats conveying these two divisions. connected during the eventful campaign which Our progress was slow, on account of the unhas just closed.
precedentedly low water in the Mississippi and During the inonth of September last, the Fif. the scarcity of coal and wood. We were comteenth army corps, which I had the honor to pelled in places to gather fence-rails, and to land command, lay in camps along the Big Black, wagons and haul wood from the interior to the about twenty miles east of Vicksburgh, Miss. boats; but I reached Memphis during the night
It consisted of four divisions. The First, com- of the second of October, and the other boats manded by Brigadier-General B. J. Osterhaus, came in on the third and fourth. was composed of two brigades, led by Brigadier- On arrival at Memphis I saw General Hurlbut, General O. K. Woods and Colonel J. A. William- and read all the despatches and letters of inson, of the Fourth Iowa. The Second, com-structions of General Halleck, and therein demanded by Brigadier-General Morgan L. Smith, rived my instructions, which I construed to be was composed of two brigades, led by Generals as follows: Giles A. Smith and J. A. D. Lightburn. The To conduct the Fifteenth army corps, and all Third, commanded by Brigadier-General J. M. other troops which could be spared from the line Tuttle, was composed of three brigades, led by of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, to Generals J. A. Momer and R. B. Buckland and Athens, Ala., and thence report by letter for Colonel J. J. Wood, of the Twelfth Iowa. The orders to General Rosecrans, commanding the Fourth, commanded by Brigadier-General Hugh army of the Cumberland at Chattanooga; to folEwing, was composed of three brigades, led by low substantially the railroad eastwardly, repairGeneral J. M. Corse, Colonel Loomis, of the ing it as I moved ; to look to my own lines for Twenty-sixth Illinois, and Colonel J. R. Cockrell, supplies, and in no event to depend on General of the Seventieth Iowa.
Rosecrans for supplies, as the roads to his rear On the twenty-second day of September, I re- were already overtaxed to supply his present ceived a telegraphic despatch from General Grant, army. then at Vicksburgh, commanding the department I learned from General Hurlbut that Osterof the Tennessee, requiring me to detach one of haus's division was already out in front of Cormy divisions to march to Vicksburgh, there to inth, and that John E. Smith was still at Memembark for Memphis, where it was to form part phis, moving his troops and material out by rail of an army to be sent to Chattanooga to reënforce as fast as its limited stock would carry them. General Rosecrans.
General J. D. Webster was Superintendent of I designated the First division, and at four P.. the railroad, and was enjoined to work night and the same day it marched for Vicksburgh, and day and expedite the movement as much as posembarked the next day.
sible; but the capacity of the railroad was so On the twenty-third of September, I was sum- small that I soon saw that I could move horses, moned to Vicksburgh by the General Command- mules, and wagons by the road under escort, and ing, who showed me several despatches from the finally moved the entire Fourth division by land. General-in-Chief, which led him to suppose he The enemy seemed to have had early notice of would have to send me and my whole corps to this movement, and he endeavored to thwart us Plemphis and eastward, and I was instructed to from the start. prepare for such orders.
A considerable force assembled in a threatenIt was explained to me that in consequence of ing attitude at Salem, south of Salisbury Station, the low stage of water in the Mississippi, boats and General Carr, who commanded at Corinth, had arrived irregularly, and had brought de- felt compelled to turn back and use a part of my spatches that seemed to conflict in meaning, and troops that had already reached Corinth to resist that John E. Sunith's division, of McPherson's the threatened attack. corps, had been ordered up to Memphis, and that! On Sunday, October eleventh, having put in
motion my whole force, I started myself for ment, giving General McPherson full powers as Corinth in a special train, with the battalion of to Mississippi, and General Hurlbut as to Westthe Thirteenth United States infantry for escort. Tennessee, and assigned General Blair to the We reached Collierville Station about noon, just command of the Fifteenth army corps; and I in time to take part in the defence made of that summoned General Hurlbut from Memphis, and station by Colonel D, C. Anthony, of the Sixty-General Dodge from Corinth, and selected out sixth Indiana, against an attack made by General of the Sixteenth corps a force of about eight Chalmers with a force of about three thousand thousand men, which I directed General Dodgo cavalry with eight pieces of artillery.
to organize with all expedition and with it to folHe was beaten off, the damage to the road re- low me eastward. paired, and we resumed our journey next day, On the twenty-seventh October, when General reaching Corinth at night.
Blair with two divisions was at Tuscumbia, I or. I immediately ordered General Blair forward dered General Ewing, with the Fourth division, to to Iuka with the First division, and as fast as I cross the Tennessee, by means of the gunboats got troops up pushed them forward of Bear and scow, as rapidly as possible, at Eastport, Creek, the bridge of which was completely de- and push forward to Florence, which he did, and stroyed, and an engineer regiment, under com- the same day a messenger from General Grant mand of Colonel Flad, engaged in its repair, floated down the Tennessee over the Muscle
Quite a considerable force of the enemy was Shoals, landed at Tuscumbia, and was sent to in our front, near Tuscumbia, to resist our ad-me at luka. He bore a short message from the vance. It was commanded by General Stephen General to this effect: D. Lee, and composed of Roddy's and Furgeson's “ Drop all work on the Railroad east of Bear brigades, with irregular cavalry, amounting in Creek; put your command toward Bridgeport the aggregate to about five thousand.
till you meet orders." In person I moved from Corinth to Burnsville Instantly the order was executed, and the oron the eighteenth, and to Iuka on the nineteenth der of march was reversed, and all columns directof October.
ed to Eastport, the only place where I could cross Osterhauis's division was in the advance, con- the Tennessee. stantly skirmishing with the enemy. It was At first I only had the gunboats and coalsupported by Morgan L. Smith, both divisions barge, but the two transports and ferry-boat arunder the general command of Major-General rived on the thirty-first October, and the work Blair.
of crossing was pushed with all the vigor possiJohn E. Smith's division covered the working ble. party engaged in rebuilding the railroad.
In person I crossed, and passed to the head Foreseeing difficulty in crossing the Tennes of the column in Florence on the first November, see, I had written to Admiral Porter at Cairo, leaving the rear division to be conducted by asking him to watch the Tennessee and send General Blair, and marched to Rogersville and up some gunboats the moment the stage of the Elk River. This was found to be impassable. water admitted, and had also requested General To ferry would have consumed too much time, Allen, at St. Louis, to despatch up to Eastport a and to build a bridge still more, and there was steam-tug ferry-boat.
no alternative but to turn up Elk River by way The Admiral, ever prompt and ready to assist of Gilbertsboro, Elkton, etc., to the stone bridge us, had two gunboats up at Eastport under Cap- at Fayetteville. There we crossed Elk, and protain Phelps, the very day after my arrival at ceeded to Winchester and Decherd. luka, and Captain Phelps had a coal-barge deck-! At Fayetteville I received orders from General ed over with which to cross horses and wagons Grant to come to Bridgeport with the Fifteenth before the arrival of the ferry-boat.
army corps, and leave General Dodge's comStill following literally the instructions of Gen- mand at Pulaski and along the railroad from Coeral Halleck, I pushed forward the repairs of lumbia to Decatur. I instructed General Blair to the railroad, and ordered General Blair, with his follow with the Second and First divisions by two leading divisions, to drive the enemy beyond way of New-Market, Larkinsville, and BelleTuscumbia. This he did successfully, after a fonte, while I conducted the other two divisions pretty severe fight at Cane Creek, occupying by Decherd, the Fourth division crossing the Tuscumbia on the twenty-seventh of October. mountains to Stevenson, and the Third by Uni
In the mean time many important changes in versity Place and Sweden's Cave. command had occurred, which I must note here, In person I proceeded by Sweden's Lane and to a proper understanding of the case.
| Battle Creek, reaching Bridgeport at night of General Grant had been called from Vicks- November thirteenth. burgh and sent to Chattanooga to command the I immediately telegraphed to the Commandthree armies of the Ohio, Cumberland, and the ing-General my arrival and the position of my Tennessee, and the department of the Tennes- several divisions, and was summoned to Chattasee had been devolved on me, with instructions, nooga. however, to retain command of the army in the I took the first boat during the night of the field.
fourteenth for Kelly's, and rode into ChattanooAt luka I made what appeared to me the best ga on the fifteenth.. disposition of matters relating to this depart-1 I then learned the post assigned me in the coming drama, was supplied with the necessary got over on the twenty-third, but my rear divimaps and information, and rode, during the six- sion was cut off by the broken bridge at Brown's teenth, in company with Generals Grant, Thom- Ferry, and could not join me, but I offered to go as, W. F. Smith, Brannan, and others, to the po- in action with my three divisions, supported by sition on the west bank of the Tennessee, from Brigadier-General Jeff. C. Davis, leaving one of which could be seen the camps of the enemy, my best divisions to act with General Hooker compassing Chattanooga and the line of Mission-against Lookout Mountain. That division has ary Hills with its terminus on Chickamauga not joined me yet, but I know and feel that it Creek, the point that I was expected to take, has served the country well, and that it has rebold, and fortify.
flected honor on the Fifteenth army corps, and Pontoons with a full supply of balks and the army of the Tennessee. chesses had been prepared for the bridge over I leave the record of its history to General the Tennessee, and all things preärranged with Hooker, or whoever has had its services during a foresight that elicited my admiration. From the late memorable events, confident that all the hills we looked down upon the amphitheatre will do it merited honor. of Chattanooga as on a map, and nothing re- At last, on the twenty-third of November, my mained but for me to put my troops in the de- Third division behind the hills opposite the sired position.
mouths of Chickamauga, I despatched the briThe plan contemplated that in addition to gade of the Second division, commanded by Gencrossing the Tennessee and making a lodgment eral Giles A. Smith, up under cover of the hills on the terminus of Missionary Ridge, I should to North-Chickamauga, to man the boats dedemonstrate against Lookout Mountain near signed for the pontoon-bridge, with orders at Trenton with a part of my command
midnight to drop down silently to a point above All on the Chattanooga were impatient for ac- the mouth of South-Chickamauga, then land the tion, rendered almost acute by the natural ap- regiments, who were to move along the river prehension felt for the safety of General Burn- quietly, and capture the enemy's river pickets. side in East-Tennessee.
General Giles A. Smith then to drop rapidly My command had marched from Memphis, and below the mouth of Chickamauga, disembark I had pushed them as fast as the roads and dis- the rest of his brigade, and despatch the boats tance would permit; but I saw enough of the across for fresh loads. condition of men and animals in Chattanooga to These orders were skilfully executed, and evinspire me with renewed energy.
ery picket but one captured. I immediately ordered my leading division. The balance of General Morgan L. Smith's di(Ewing's) to march via Shell Mound to Trenton, vision was then rapidly ferried across; that of demonstrate against Lookout Ridge, but to be pre- General John E. Smith followed, and by daylight pared to turn quickly and follow me to Chatta- of November twenty-fourth, two divisions of nooga, and in person I returned to Bridgeport, about eight thousand men were on the east rowing a boat down the Tennessee from Kelly's, bank of the Tennessee, and had thrown up a and immediately on arrival put in motion my di- very respectable rifie-trench as a téte-du-pont. vision in the order they had arrived.
As soon as the day dawned, some of the boats The bridge of boats at Bridgeport was frail, were taken from the use of ferrying, and a and, though used day and night, our passage pontoon-bridge begun under the immediate diwas slow, and the roads thence to Chattanooga rection of Captain Dresser, the whole planned were dreadfully cut up and encumbered with and supervised by General W. F. Smith in the wagons of other troops stationed along the person. A pontoon-bridge was also built at road.
the same time over Chickamauga Creek, near I reached General Hooker's headquarters dur- its mouth, giving communication with the two ing a rain in the afternoon of the twentieth, and regiments left on the north bank, and fulfilling met General Grant's orders for the general at- a most important purpose at a later stage of the tack for the next day. It was simply impossible drama. for ine to fill my post in time. Only one divi- I will here bear my willing testimony to the sion, General John E. Smith's, was in position. completeness of this whole business. All the General Ewing was still in Trenton, and the officers charged with the work were present, other two were toiling along the terrible road and manifested a skill which I cannot praise too from Shell Mound to Chattanooga.
highly. I have never beheld any work done so No troops ever were or could be in better con- quietly, so well; and I doubt if the history of dition than mine, or who labored harder to fulfil the war can show a bridge of that extent, their part. On a proper representation, General (namely, one thousand three hundred and fifty Grant postponed the attack.
feet,) laid down so noiselessly and well in so On the twenty-first, I got the Second division short a time. I attribute it to the genius and over Brown's Ferry Bridge, and General Ewing intelligence of General W. F. Smith. got up, but the bridge broke repeatedly, and de- ! The steamer Dunbar arrived up in the course lays occurred which no human sagacity could of the morning, and relieved General Ewing's prevent.
division of the labor of rowing across, but by All labored night and day, and General Ewing noon the pontoon-bridge was down, and my
Third division were across with men, horses, ar-turned to his own corps at Chattanooga. As tillery, and every thing. General Jeff. C. Davis night closed, I ordered General Jeff. C. Davis to was ready to take the Missionary Hills.
keep one of his brigades at the bridge, one close The movement had been carefully explained to up to my position, and one intermediate. Thus all division commanders, and at one P.M. we we passed the night, heavy details being kept at marched from the river in three columns in ech- work on the intrenchments on the hill. elon; the left, General Morgan L. Smith, the During the night the sky cleared away bright, column of direction, following substantially and a cold frost filled the air, and our camp-fires Chickamauga Creek; the centre, General J. E. revealed to the enemy and to our friends in Smith, in columns, doubled on the centre at full Chattanooga our position on Missionary Ridge. brigade intervals to the right and rear; the right, About midnight I received at the hands of MaGeneral Ewing, in column at the same distance jor Rowley, of General Grant's staff, orders to to the right and rear, prepared to deploy to the attack the enemy at dawn of day, and notice that right, on the supposition that we would meet an General Thomas would attack in force early in enemy in that direction.
· the day. Each head of column was covered by a good Accordingly, before day I was in the saddle, line of skirmishers, with supports. A light driz- attended by all my staff, rode to the extreme left zling rain prevailed, and the clouds hung low, of our position, near Chickamauga, thence up the cloaking our movements from the enemy's tower hill held by General Lightburn, and round to the of observation on Lookout. We soon gained the extreme right of General Ewing. foot-hills, our skirmishers kept up the face of the Catching as accurate an idea of the ground as hill, followed by their supports, and at half-past possible by the dim light of morning, I saw that three P.m. we gained with no loss the desired our line of attack was in the direction of Mispoint.
sionary Ridge, with wings supporting on either A brigade of each division was pushed up rap-flank; quite a valley lay between us and the idly to the top of the hill, and the enemy, for the next hill of the series, and this hill presented first time, seemed to realize the movement, but steep sides, the one to the west partially cleared, too late, for we were in possession. He opened but the other covered with the native forest; with artillery, but General Ewing soon got some the crest of the ridge was narrow and wooded. of Captain Richardson's guns up that steep hill, The further point of the hill was held by the and we gave back artillery, and the enemy's skir-enemy with a breastwork of logs and fresh earth, mishers made one or two ineffectual dashes at filled with men and two guns. The enemy was General Lightburn, who had swept around and also seen in great force on a still higher hill begot a further hill, which was the real continua- yond the tunnel, from which he had a fair plungtion of the ridge.
ling fire on the hill in dispute. From studying all the maps, I had inferred. The gorge between, through which several that Missionary Ridge was a continuous hill, but roads and the railroad tunnel pass, could not be we found ourselves on two high points, with a seen from our position, but formed the natural deep depression between us and the one immedi- | place d'armes where the enemy covered his ately over the tunnel, which was my chief ob- masses, to resist our contemplated movement of jective point. The ground we had gained, how turning his right and endangering his communiever, was so important that I could leave nothing cations with his dépôt at Chickamauga. to chance, and ordered it to be fortified during As soon as possible, the following dispositions the night. One brigade of each division was left were made: on the hill, one of General Morgan L. Smith's The brigades of Colonels Cockrell and Alexanclosed the gap to Chickamauga Creek, two of der and General Lightburn were to hold our hill General John E. Smith's were drawn back to the as the key point; General Corse, with as much base in reserve, and General Ewing's right was of his brigade as could operate along the narrow extended down into the plain, thus crossing the ridge, was to attack from our right centre; Genridge in a general line facing south-east.
eral Lightburn was to despatch a good regiment The enemy felt our left flank about four P.M., from his position to coöperate with General and a pretty sharp engagement with artillery and Corse; and General Morgan L. Smith was to muskets ensued, when he drew off, but it cost us move along the east base of Missionary Ridge, dear, for General Giles A. Smith was severely connecting with General Corse, and Colonel wounded, and had to go to the rear, and the com- Loomis, in like manner, to move along the west mand of the brigade then devolved on Colonel base, supported by the two reserve brigades of Tupper, One Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois, who General John E. Smith. managed it with skill during the rest of the op- The sun had already risen before General erations.
Corse had completed his preparations and his At the moment of my crossing the bridge, bugle sounded the “forward." General Howard appeared, having come with The Fortieth Illinois, supported by the Fortythree regiments from Chattanooga along the east sixth Ohio, on our right centre, with the Twenbank of the Tennessee, connecting my new position tieth Ohio, Colonel Jones, moved down the face with that of the main army in Chattanooga. He of our hill, and up that held by the enemy. The left the three regiments, which I attached tem- line advanced to within about eighty yards of porarily to General Ewing's right, and he re- the intrenched position, where General Corse
found a secondary crest, which he gained and and being required to support General Ewing, held.
ordered up Colonel Runion's and General MatTo this point he called his reserves, and asked thias's brigades across the fields to the summit for reënforcements, which were sent, but the that was being fought for. They moved up unspace was narrow, and it was not well to crowd der a heavy fire of cannon and musketry, and the men, as the enemy's artillery and musketry joined to Colonel Wolcott, but the crest was so fire swept the approach to his position, giving narrow that they necessarily occupied the west him great advantage.
face of the hill. The enemy at the time being As soon as General Corse had made his prepar- massed in great strength in the tunnel gorge, ations he assaulted, and a close, severe contest moved a large force, under cover of the ground ensued, lasting more than an hour, giving and and the thick bushes, and suddenly appeared on losing ground, but never the position first ob- the right and rear of this commandtained, from which the enemy in vain attempted An occasional shot from Fort Wood and Or. to drive him.
chard Knoll, and some musketry fire and artil. General Morgan L. Smith kept gaining ground lery over about Lookout, was all that I could on the left spur of Missionary Ridge, and Col-detect on our side ; but about three p.m. I noonel Loomis got abreast of the tunnel and the ticed the white line of musketry fire, in front of railroad embankment on his side, drawing the Orchard Knoll, extending further right and left, enemy's fire, and to that extent relieving the as- and on. We could only hear a faint echo of saulting party on the hill-crest.
sound, but enough was seen to satisfy me that Calander had four of his guns on General General Thomas was moving on the centre. I Ewing's hill, and Captain Wood his Napoleon knew our attack had drawn vast masses of the battery on General Lightburn's; also, two guns enemy to our flank, and felt sure of the result. of Dillon's battery were with Colonel Alexander's Some guns which had been firing at us all day brigade.
were silent, or were turned in a different direcThe suddenness of the attack disconcerted the tion. men, and, exposed as they were in the open The advancing line of musketry fire from Orfield, they fell back in some disorder to the lower chard Knoll disappeared to us behind a spur of end of the field, and re-formed. These two bri- the hill, and could no longer be seen, and it was gades were in the nature of supports, and did not not until night closed that I knew that the troops constitute a part of the real attack.
in Chattanooga had swept across Missionary The movement, seen from Chattanooga, five Ridge, and broken the enemy's centre. miles off, gave rise to the report, which even Of course, the victory was won, and pursuit General Meigs had repeated, that we were repulsed was the next step. I ordered General Morgan on the left. Not so. The real attacking columns L. Smith to feel the tunnel, and it was found of General Corse, Colonel Loomis, and General vacant, save by the dead and wounded of our Smith were not repulsed. They engaged in a own and enemy's, commingled. close struggle all day persistently, stubbornly, The reserve of General Jeff. C. Davis was and well. When the two reserve brigades of ordered to march at once, by the pontoon-bridge General John E. Smith fell back as described, across the Chickamauga at its mouth, and push the enemy made a show of pursuit, but were forward for the dépôt. caught in flank by the well-directed fire of our General Howard had reported to me, in the brigade on the wooded crest, and hastily sought early part of the day, with the remainder of his his cover behind the hill.
| army corps, (the Eleventh,) and had been posted Thus matters stood about three P.M.
to connect my left with Chickamauga Creek. The day was bright and clear, and the amphi. He was ordered to repair an old broken bridge theatre of Chattanooga lay in beauty at our feet. about two miles up Chickamauga, and to follow I had watched for the attack of General Thomas General Davis at four A. m., and the Fifteenth ar" early in the day.” Column after column of my corps to march at daylight. But General the enemy were streaming toward me, gun after Howard found to repair the bridge more of a gun poured its concentric shot on us from every task than at first supposed, and we were comhill and spur that gave a view of any part of the pelled all to cross Chickamauga on the new ponground held by us.
| toon-bridge at its mouth. All directed their fire as carefully as possible By about eleven A.M., General Jeff. C. Da. to clear the hill to our front without endangering vis's division appeared at the dépôt, just in our own men. The fight raged furiously about time to see it in flames. He entered with one ten A.M., when General Corse received a severe brigade, and found the enemy occupying two wound and was carried off the field, and the hills partially intrenched just beyond the dópôt. command of the brigade, and of the assault at These he soon drove away. that key point, devolved on that fine young offi- The dépôt presented a scene of desolation that cer, Colonel Wolcott, of the Forty-sixth Ohio, war alone exhibits. Corn-meal and corn, in who filled his post manfully. He continued the huge burning piles, broken wagons, abandoned contest, pressing forward at all points. Colonel caissons, two thirty-two pounder rifled guns, Loomis had made good progress to the right; with carriages burned, pieces of pontoons, balks, and at about two P.M. General John E. Smith, chesses, etc., (destined, doubtless, for the famous judging the battle to be most severe on the hill, I invasion of Kentucky,) and all manner of things