The Army of the Cumberland
Henry M. Cist

Part 3 out of 5

the effect that the centre of the rebel line of battle was opposite
our extreme right, and that we would probably be attacked by the
entire rebel army early on the following morning." Johnson then
coolly adds: "His prediction proved true." Yet with these facts
staring them in the face, McCook and Johnson made no other efforts
to strengthen the right of the line, and Johnson, on the arrival
of his reserve brigade later, posted it in the woods a mile and
a half from his front "near his headquarters." General Kirk was
mortally wounded in the attack on his command, but lived long enough
after the battle to make a report of the part taken in the engagement
by his brigade. He states in his report, that he suggested to
Johnson to send his reserve brigade to support the main lines, and
that Johnson declined to do so.

The location of Johnson's headquarters, and Johnson being there,
makes him responsible for the capture of Willich, and the breaking
up of that brigade. Willich had been on the line for an hour before
daylight with his brigade under arms, and from what he heard of
the movements of the enemy to his front, he was satisfied that a
change should be made in the position of his division, and started
to Johnson's headquarters to communicate with him. Before he
could return to his troops, the enemy was upon them, and drove them
from the position they held, without their making a stand. Being
without either division or brigade commander, they drifted to the
rear. Willich had a horse shot under him, and was captured without
giving an order, before he reached his command.

When the artillery was posted in line of battle on the 30th,
roads were cut through the cedars to allow the batteries to reach
the front line. The heavy loss of guns, reported by Rosecrans,
was occasioned by these batteries being unable to reach the roads
through the cedar thickets in the retreat, and in many instances
guns were abandoned in the woods, through which it was impossible
to haul them.

Bragg alleges in his official report that our troops were surprised,
and cites the fact that his men passed through the camps where
breakfast was being prepared. He was right as to this fact, but
wrong about his deduction. Willich's brigade was the only one that
was not through the morning meal, and this was by reason of his
troops being under arms for nearly two hours prior to this time,
after which Willich gave them orders to prepare their meal. Kirk's
brigade had been under arms since five o'clock in the morning, ready
for action an hour before the battle commenced, and in Post's brigade
the men were in order of battle for an hour before the first dawn
of light. The front of all these brigades was covered with heavy
picket lines well thrown out. General Sill reported to General
Sheridan at two o'clock in the morning, "great activity on the part
of the enemy immediately in his front, with movements of troops
to their left," and from four o'clock in the morning until seven,
Sheridan's troops were standing under arms, and the cannoneeers
were at their places.

It is difficult to determine which to admire more, the heavy,
quick, decided onset of the rebels, as with ranks well closed up,
without music, and almost noiselessly, they moved in the gray light
of the early December morning, out of the cedars, across the open
fields, hurling the full weight of their advancing columns upon
our right, with all the dash of Southern troops, sweeping on with
rapid stride, and wild yells of triumph, to what appeared to them
an easy final victory; or, later in the afternoon, when our troops
that had been driven from the field early in the morning, were
reformed under the eye of the commanding general, met and threw
back from the point of the bayonet, and from the cannon mouth, the
charge after charge of the same victorious troops of the earlier
portion of the day. One was like the resistless sweep of a whirlwind
in its onward course of destruction, the other the grand sturdy
resistance of the rocky coast, which the waves only rush upon to
be dashed to pieces. In each of these, the two armies displayed
their distinctive feature to the best. Under Thomas, the Centre
of the army evinced, in a marked degree, the staying qualities
of that commander, which afterward were shown so conspicuously at

Chapter IX.

In Murfreesboro.

During the first six months of 1863, the military operations of the
Army of the Cumberland were of a minor character. The exhaustion
attending the severe fighting of the last week of the previous
year, kept that army in camp for some time to restore the losses
of arms and material, to reclothe the army, to recruit the strength
of the troops, to forward the needed supplies, and to build
the necessary works to fortify Murfreesboro as a new base. The
rebuilding of the Muldraughs Hills' trestleworks, and the heavy
repairs elsewhere needed on the railroad north of Nashville,
together with having the road from Nashville to Murfreesboro placed
in proper order, all required time and were necessary to be done,
to supply the wants of the army in the immediate present. But
the future was what demanded the greatest thought and most careful
planning. The problem that gave Buell the greatest trouble to
solve--the protection of his lines of communication and supplies--was
now forced upon Rosecrans. The enemy with more than one-half of
his cavalry force absent during the battle of Stone's River, under
Morgan in Kentucky and Forrest in West Tennessee, outnumbered that
arm of the service of the Army of the Cumberland during the battle
almost two to one. These troopers were nearly all old veterans,
accustomed to the severest hardships of service, and it was wonderful
the rapidity with which they got over ground and the amount of
fatigue they could undergo. To afford perfect protection to his
line supplying the army from its base at Louisville, as against
these raiding bands, if infantry was to be employed, Rosecrans's
entire force was needed, posted by brigades at the vulnerable points.
To make an advance and thus lengthen his lines, simply increased
the present difficulties. Without making the necessary preparation
to protect his line of supplies, Rosecrans would hamper his forward
movement and retard and cripple his advance when commenced. The
only proper force to meet the enemy's troopers was cavalry. In
the early days of the Army of the Ohio, under Buell, a number of
unsuccessful attempts were made to chase and fight cavalry with
infantry, and in every instance the effort was crowned with failure,
the only result being the discomfort and complete exhaustion of
the marching troops.

The repair of the most complete wrecking the Louisville road ever
suffered, demanded Rosecrans's attention the first thing after
the Battle of Stone's River. When the army left Nashville, on the
advance to meet Bragg, the supplies in that city were very limited.
With the disabling of the road it was impossible at that time to
forward sufficient supplies to meet the wants of the command, and
for the first few weeks while the army remained at Murfreesboro the
troops were on half rations, and many of the articles constituting
the "ration" entirely dispensed with, leaving but three or four on
the list. The surrounding country for miles was scoured for forage
and provisions. Everything of that kind was gathered in by raiding
parties, not leaving sufficient for the actual necessities of the
inhabitants. To such an extent did this go, that to the officers
with means to purchase such provisions as were to be had, potatoes
and onions became luxuries. The whole army was threatened with

The number and extent of these raids, and the damage sustained by
the Louisville and Nashville Railroad during the year from July 1,
1862, is concisely set forth in the report of the superintendent
of that road. His report shows that during this time "the road has
been operated for its entire length only seven months and twelve
days;" "all the bridges and trestleworks on the main stem and
branches, with the exception of the bridge over Barren River and
four small bridges, were destroyed and rebuilt during the year.
Some of the structures were destroyed twice and some three times.
In addition to this, most of the water stations, several depôts,
and a large number of cars were burnt, a number of engines badly
damaged, and a tunnel in Tennessee nearly filled up for a distance
of eight hundred feet."

By reason of this condition of things, Rosecrans determined to
increase the cavalry arm of his army, so that he could meet the
ten or twelve thousand cavalry of the enemy in their detached raids
on more of an equal footing. From the commencement of operations
in Tennessee under Buell, the enemy's cavalry had been steadily
increasing in numbers and in efficiency, until at this time it was
a greater problem how to meet this arm of the enemy's force than
his infantry. Rosecrans made repeated urgent applications to the
department at Washington for additional cavalry; for horses and
improved arms for those already under his command. He detailed
infantry to be mounted and armed as cavalry, organizing a brigade
of "mounted infantry" under Colonel John T. Wilder.

On Bragg's retreating from Murfreesboro, he took position with a
portion of his army and established his headquarters at Shelbyville.
He then ordered part of his command to move to Tullahoma, and there
intrench, throwing up extensive earthworks and fortifications.
Later, he placed his troops in winter quarters. In addition to the
cavalry that had formerly been under Bragg, Van Dorn in February
reported to him with his command of three brigades of cavalry,
about five thousand effective troops. Bragg placed Van Dorn and
Wheeler to protect the front and flanks of his army, assigning the
former to the left, with his headquarters at Columbia, and directing
the latter to take position on the right, constituted each command
a corps. To Wheeler's command he assigned Morgan's, Wharton's, and
Martin's divisions. Forrest's command was assigned to Van Dorn.
Some important events took place during the first six months of 1863,
that had a bearing on the fortunes of the Army of the Cumberland.

On January 9th, in recognition of the services of that army, by General
Order No. 9 of the War Department, that command was reorganized,
and the Centre, Right, and Left were constituted corps d'armee, with
the designation of Fourteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first Corps,
under the same commanders, who were thus advanced to this higher
command. During this month, Steedman, in command of Fry's old
division, was ordered from Gallatin to the front, and posted at
Triune and La Vergne. Reynold's division was ordered from Gallatin
to Murfreesboro. A slight change was also made in the boundaries
of the Department. On the 25th, by order of the War Department,
the commands of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson were transferred from
the department under Grant, to that under Rosecrans, and later Fort
Heiman. To Rosecrans was then committed the care and control of
the Cumberland River, his second and secondary line of communication
and supplies connecting his two principal depots.

On January 26th, Bragg ordered Wheeler on an expedition to capture
Fort Donelson. Wheeler directed Forrest to move his brigade with
four guns on the river road, via the Cumberland Iron Works, to
the vicinity of Dover, which was the real position occupied and
fortified by Federal forces, and not the old site of Fort Donelson,
while Wheeler with Wharton's command of some twenty-five hundred
men moved on a road to the left. Rosecrans, hearing from his scouts
that this movement was contemplated, ordered Davis in command of
his division and two brigades of cavalry under Minty, to march by
the Versailles road, and take Wheeler in the rear. Steedman was
directed to watch Wheeler's movements by way of Triune. Davis
despatched Minty to move with his cavalry around by way of Unionville
and Rover, while he moved with the infantry direct to Eaglesville.
At Rover, Minty captured a regiment of some three hundred and fifty
men. Davis and Steedman's forces united at Franklin, the latter
marching by way of Nolinsville. Wheeler, advancing rapidly, passed
between the troops in pursuit, and, on February 3d, his entire
force attacked the post at Dover, occupied by Colonel Harding with
the Eighty-third Illinois, some six hundred men in the command.
The rebels opened fire at once, and made vigorous assault in force
upon Harding's position. His little command repulsed the enemy
with heavy loss. Again they advanced, making a more determined
assault than before, but again they were driven back with still
greater loss. In this last repulse Harding ordered his men to charge
beyond his works, which they did with great gallantry, capturing
forty-two of the rebels. Wheeler then withdrew with a total loss
of one hundred and fifty killed, four hundred wounded, and one
hundred and fifty captured. Colonel Harding lost sixteen killed,
sixty wounded, and fifty captured. Efforts were made to cut off
the retreat of Wheeler's force by Davis's command, re-enforced by
five hundred cavalry, which went as far west as Kinderhook and Bon
Aqua Springs, but Wheeler took the road through Centreville, where
he crossed Duck River.

In the latter part of the engagement at Dover, Harding was aided
by the fire from six gunboats which were acting as convoys for a
fleet of transports conveying reinforcements to Rosecrans's command,
consisting of eighteen regiments of infantry, with four batteries
of artillery that had been serving in Kentucky under the command
of General Gordon Granger. The troops forming this column were
under the immediate command of Crook, Baird, and Gilbert. After
the danger at Dover had passed, the fleet steamed up to Nashville,
and there the troops disembarked. During February Crook was sent
with his command to take post at Carthage, on the Cumberland River,
and watch the movements of the enemy from there to Rome, and Gilbert
was ordered to proceed with his brigade to Franklin.

On March 4th, Gilbert at Franklin ordered Colonel Coburn, with five
regiments of infantry, four detachments of cavalry under Colonel
Jordan, and Aleshire's battery, the whole command nearly three
thousand strong, to proceed south from Franklin with a wagon-trail
of one hundred wagons, ostensibly on a foraging expedition, but
also to reconnoitre the enemy's front toward Columbia. Coburn's
command some twelve miles south of Franklin, was to meet a force
moving from Murfreesboro toward Columbia, and these commands were
to co-operate and determine the position of the enemy. Unknown to
Gilbert, Van Dorn, on assuming command in Columbia, in February,
determined to establish outposts and picket-lines within sight of
Franklin and Triune, and to move his headquarters north of Duck
River to Spring Hill. Jordan's cavalry struck the enemy only three
miles from town, formed in line of battle. Opening with artillery,
Jordan advanced, and, after a sharp conflict, the enemy retreated
to Spring Hill. That night Coburn notified Gilbert that he was
confronted by a largely superior force, and suggested that he fall
back. Gilbert, however, ordered him to advance. Proceeding next
morning, the column met the enemy drawn up in line of battle a short
distance from Thompson's Station. Forrest's command occupied the
extreme right, with a battery of artillery on the left of this,
and some paces retired was Armstrong's brigade. On the left of his
command and in line with it was the Texan brigade under Whitfield,
with two guns on each side of the Columbia turnpike, making a force
of 10,000 men under Van Dorn. It was about half-past nine o'clock
in the morning when Coburn struck these troops in line. He
immediately deployed his infantry across the pike and to the right,
and ordered his command to advance. The enemy's battery posted at
the pike opening fire, Coburn's troops charged it handsomely, his
entire command moving in line of battle down the pike. When within
one hundred and fifty yards, Armstrong's and Whitfield's brigades
sprang forward and opened a destructive fire. Coburn's troops held
their lines for over half an hour under heavy fire, replying with
the same, when he ordered his command to fall back. Finding this
large force in his front, he directed Jordan with his cavalry to
cover his retreat. Van Dorn now advanced his line, pressed forward
his right and left to surround Coburn and capture the entire force.
Jordan formed two detachments, dismounted behind a stone fence to
check the advance of Forrest and enable the artillery to escape.
Forrest made two sustained attempts to dislodge these detachments
from their position, but he was repulsed each time; on a third
attempt they were surrounded and captured. The regiment in charge
of the train with the artillery and cavalry now moved off rapidly
on the pike to Franklin, and Coburn, being surrounded by the rebels
in overwhelming numbers, and finding his ammunition exhausted,
surrendered. His loss was 40 killed, and 150 wounded, and 2,200
prisoners, including his wounded. The enemy's loss was 35 killed
and 140 wounded. The rebels lost heavily in officers, several of
the most valued of Forrest's falling in the repulses of his command.

The surrender of Coburn weakened the forces at Franklin, and revealed
the enemy in such strong force on the immediate front, that Gordon
Granger at once ordered Baird to proceed by rail to Franklin, and
moving his own headquarters there, assumed the command in person.

On the 7th, Sheridan's division was ordered to the front to
reconnoitre the enemy's position. He reached Franklin, and the force
at that place was further increased by the arrival of a brigade from
Nashville. On the 9th, Minty's brigade of cavalry also reported,
and on the day following, Granger with his troops advanced from
there upon Van Dorn's encampment at Spring Hill. In support of
Granger's movement on Van Dorn, Rosecrans ordered Davis to move
with his division from Salem to Eaglesville, with R. S. Granger's
brigade in supporting distance, posted at Versailles. Gordon
Granger drove Van Dorn from Spring Hill, and the next day compelled
his entire command to retire south of Rutherford's Creek. On
account of the high water the pursuit was not continued further.

During March the rebel cavalry under Morgan met with one of the
most decisive repulses yet experienced by that command. On the
18th of March Colonel Hall with his command, the second brigade
of Reynolds's division, was sent from Murfreesboro after Morgan.
Starting northeast from that place he advanced beyond Statesville,
when hearing that Morgan was advancing on him he retired toward
Milton, posted his command on some high ground near that place and
awaited the attack. Morgan endeavored first to turn the right and
then the left of Hall's command, but in each of these attempts he
was driven off with heavy loss. He then dismounted the main portion
of his command and ordered an attack to be made on the front. A
vigorous assault was at once made with a heavy force, but this
was also repulsed, Morgan losing a large number of men. After an
engagement lasting some four hours, in which Hall's brigade fought
with the utmost determination, Morgan's command, being repulsed
at all points and in every assault, withdrew from the field with a
loss of some ninety-five killed, three hundred and fifty wounded,
and twenty prisoners.

Early in April, Morgan's troopers were defeated with great loss.
On the 2d of April Stanley advanced with his cavalry to Liberty,
where Morgan met them with his entire command. The two forces
encamped within two miles of each other. On the morning of the 3d,
Stanley advanced, intending to engage Morgan's command at once, but
found that he had retreated to what he regarded as a very strong
position at Snow Hill. Morgan, however, had left a strong force
at Liberty to watch Stanley's movements. As Stanley advanced,
he struck this force and quickly drove upon it with part of his
command, sending a portion around to the right, which turned the
enemy's left flank. Pressing Morgan's command from both positions,
it soon gave way at all points, and was in full retreat. Morgan's
officers tried to rally their men, but the latter were thoroughly
demoralized and had no fight in them. The teamsters became
panic-stricken and added to the general rout. It was two weeks
before Morgan succeeded in getting his men together again.

Early in April, Rosecrans ordered Colonel Streight to the command
of a brigade he had organized for the purpose of making a raid on
the lines of communication of the rebels, and to move through the
country south and southeast, destroying as he went all property of
use to them. Streight's command started from Nashville, partially
mounted, going by way of Clarksville to Fort Henry, at which place
he took steamer from Eastport, Miss. En route to Fort Henry his
command secured as many animals as they could, but only four-fifths
of the men were mounted, and they poorly. The animals were nearly
all mules, and very few of them were fit for the service required.
It was expected that the command would capture enough good animals
to carry the expedition successfully through, but this was not
realized. Leaving Eastport on the 21st, he passed through Tuscumbia
three days later, and reached Moulton on the 26th. From here on
the 28th he pressed forward through Day's Gap on Sand Mountain,
in the direction of Blountsville. In the gap their rear guard was
overtaken and attacked on the 30th by the enemy's cavalry under
Forrest, who had pressed forward, riding night and day. Selecting
the best mounted of his men, he pushed at once to Streight's camp.
Here coming upon the rear of Streight's force as it was leaving
camp, Forrest opened with artillery firing. Dismounting his men,
Streight formed his command on the crest of a hill on each side
of the road and awaited the enemy's attack. As Forrest advanced,
Streight ordered a charge to be made which drove the enemy at all
points, capturing their two pieces of artillery. Forrest lost in
killed and wounded seventy-five men, a large percentage of whom
were killed. Streight's loss was twenty-one killed and wounded. A
good many of horses were captured from the enemy, on which Streight
mounted a number of his men. On the same afternoon the enemy
attacked again, but was driven back with considerable loss, after
a severe engagement lasting from three o'clock until dark. On May
1st, the Federal forces reached Blountsville at noon. Here all
the wagons save one were burned, and the ammunition placed on pack
mules, after distributing to the men all that they could carry.
At three o'clock Streight started again, and skirmishing commenced
at once on their rear. Pressing on, the command marched until
twelve o'clock that night. Resuming their march in the morning,
the rear skirmished all the forenoon of the 2d with the rebels.
Arriving at Gadsden, Streight remained long enough to destroy a
large quantity of provisions in store there for the enemy. It was
expected at this place that a small steamer would be found, upon
which a detachment of men could be sent to capture Rome. In this
Streight was disappointed. From this point Streight's animals became
much exhausted, and the men were falling to the rear and getting
captured. To prevent this the command had to go much slower. Forrest
coming up about one o'clock on the 2d, attacked the command while
the horses were being fed at Blount's farm. Here Colonel Hathaway
fell, shot through the breast. Again the rebels were repulsed,
but they constantly pressed upon the rear of Streight's command,
keeping up a brisk skirmish fire. The enemy were kept in check at
Blount's farm until after dark. In the meantime the main command had
crossed the Coosa. Here the river was so high that the ammunition
was damaged by being wet. From this place Streight sent a detachment
to burn the Round Mountain iron works, one of the principal
manufactories of munitions of war in the South. It was burned to
the ground and all the machinery destroyed. On arriving at the
other branch of the Coosa a bridge was found, and, as soon as the
command had crossed, it was destroyed. On the morning of the 3d,
as the men were preparing their breakfast, the enemy again attacked.
Shortly afterward Forrest sent in a flag of truce, demanding the
surrender of the entire command. This was at first refused, but
on consultation with his officers, and considering the damaged
condition of his ammunition and the complete exhaustion of his
command, Streight, after making a personal inspection of Forrest's
artillery, finally yielded, and the entire force of 1,466 officers
and men was surrendered.

On April 20th, Thomas sent J. J. Reynolds with three brigades of
infantry and Minty's brigades of cavalry, together with Wilder's
brigade of mounted infantry, to proceed to McMinnville, capture what
force was there, destroy the railroad from Manchester to McMinnville,
and co-operate with a force to move from Carthage against Morgan.
Reynolds made a successful raid on the railroad and nearly destroyed
it; burned all the bridges, trestle-work, cars, and locomotives on
the road, also the depôt in McMinnville, and several cotton mills.
A large amount of supplies was captured, some one hundred animals
picked up. The command from Carthage failed to aid in the expedition,
and Morgan's command in the main effected their escape.

Colonel Lewis D. Watkins on the 27th made a gallant charge on the
Texas Legion, encamped close to Van Dorn's main command near Spring
Hill. Dashing in upon the enemy early in the morning, he was among
them before they could rally for defence, capturing one hundred
and twenty-eight prisoners, over three hundred animals, and their
camp equipage without the loss of a man.

It was during the six months waiting at Murfreesboro that the
unfortunate controversy arose between Rosecrans and the authorities
at Washington, represented by General Halleck, as Commander-in-Chief,
and Mr. Secretary Stanton of the War Department. The Army of
the Cumberland, during the period of the active movements of that
command, congratulated itself that the field of operations was so
far removed from Washington City, that it did not come under the
influence of the authority that seemed to paralyze every effort of
the commands immediately around the seat of war at the East. But
in this they were mistaken. The future student of the history of
the war, in the light of the full official records, will wonder most
at the fact that, under the orders from Washington, the commanders
in the field were at all able to finally crush the rebellion. It
was only when the armies at the East were placed under a general
who was practically untrammeled in the exercise of his power, and
who conducted his campaigns upon military principles, and not as
the result of orders from Washington that the beginning of the end
of the rebellion in the East began to dawn. In Tennessee we have
seen how Halleck gave Buell orders and then attached such conditions
to them as to render their proper execution absolutely impossible.
There was nothing to prevent Buell from occupying Chattanooga in
June, 1862, as he was directed, while Bragg with his command was in
Northern Mississippi, except the utterly useless condition attached
to his orders, that he should repair the Memphis and Charleston
Railroad as he moved east. Buell urged, in forcible terms, the
foolishness and even impropriety of this delay, but Halleck, who knew
much of the theory of war as learned from books, and in a general
way wished to apply these principles to the practical movements
of troops, overruled Buell. The latter knew that the enemy in
his front always resolutely refused to be bound in his operations
by such rules in conducting campaigns. The result of Halleck's
wisdom soon became manifest when Bragg started for Kentucky, after
the waste of Buell's time in repairing this railroad, which, when
completed, was at once turned over to the enemy in good condition
for immediate use against our own forces. On Buell fell the force
of the blow that some one had to bear for this failure to take
advantage of a patent opportunity. Buell's obedience to Halleck's
orders rendered Bragg's advance into Kentucky possible, while Buell's
failure to bring Bragg to a decisive action in Kentucky, and his
refusal to follow Bragg into the mountains of Eastern Kentucky
and Tennessee, was deemed sufficient cause by Halleck to issue the
order removing him from his command. If Halleck's order to Buell
to repair this railroad had never been issued, Bragg's campaign in
Kentucky would never have been made. Halleck's removal of Buell
was the direct result of the latter's obedience to orders received
from the former. On Rosecrans assuming command, almost the first
order he received from Halleck was one directing him to advance into
East Tennessee after Bragg. With a full knowledge of the military
situation obtained from Buell, Rosecrans proceeded at once to protect
the line established by Buell, and await the advance of Bragg in
the vicinity of Nashville. The battle of Stone's River was for the
time sufficient to prove, even to Halleck, that Buell and Rosecrans
were correct, and Rosecrans was allowed for the time to attend to
his command without being interfered with. During the encampment
at Murfreesboro, the first object of Rosecrans was to properly
mount and equip his cavalry. In this he received at first faint
encouragement, which soon ceased altogether.

On March 1st Halleck, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the
United States, wrote a letter, sending a copy to Rosecrans and
Grant, offering the position of the then vacant major-generalship
in the regular army, to the general in the field who should first
achieve an important and decisive victory. Grant very quietly folded
up the letter, put it by for future reference, and proceeded with
the plans of his campaign, saying nothing. To Rosecrans's open,
impulsive, and honorable nature, engaged with all his powers in
furthering the interests of the Government and the general welfare
of his command, this letter was an insult, and he treated it
accordingly. On March 6th he prepared his reply, and forwarded
it to Washington. In this letter he informs the General-in-Chief
that, "as an officer and as a citizen," he felt "degraded at such
an auctioneering of honors," and then adds: "Have we a general
who would fight for his own personal benefit when he would not for
honor and for his country? He would come by his commission basely
in that case, and deserve to be despised by men of honor. But are
all the brave and honorable generals on an equality as to chances?
If not, it is unjust to those who probably deserve most."

The effect of this letter was to widen the breach between the
authorities at Washington and Rosecrans. Halleck's letter and
Rosecrans's reply were both characteristic of the men. Halleck, fresh
from the results of a large law practice in California--principally
devoted to the establishment of the validity of land grants in favor
of his clients, in the success of which large contingent fees were
gained--saw nothing improper in such an offer to an officer of
sufficient ability and standing to be in command of one of the armies
of the United States. With Rosecrans, all the honest, generous
impulses of a high-principled, honorable gentleman, who had
imperiled his life on many a battlefield, fighting solely from a
sense of duty to his country, led to the expression of his contempt
for the author of such an offer. The mistake that Halleck made was
in thinking that what would prove a tempting offer to a man like
himself, would be so to Rosecrans. No one will attempt to maintain
the wisdom of Rosecrans's course as a matter of policy, however
much they may sympathize with and admire the spirit of his letter.
It was an impolitic letter, and one that aided in drawing the ill-will
and resentment of Halleck and Stanton upon him in full force later.

From this time forward, all the requests of Rosecrans for the
improvement of the efficiency of his army were treated with great
coolness, and in many instances it was only after the greatest
importunity that he was able to secure the least attention to his
recommendations for the increased usefulness of his command. His
repeated applications for more cavalry, and that they be armed
with revolving rifles, were treated with little attention. In the
meantime nearly every communication from Washington intimated that
he was unnecessarily delaying his advance upon Bragg in his works
at Shelbyville and Tullahoma. Grant, on his Vicksburg campaign,
became very anxious for the advance of the Army of the Cumberland,
to engage Bragg and prevent reinforcements being sent from him to
Pemberton or Johnston, operating on his front and rear; and urged
Rosecrans to move, and wrote to Halleck, requesting him to direct
an advance of the Army of the Cumberland on Bragg's position.
Rosecrans regarded it for the best interest of the country for his
army to remain constantly threatening Bragg, in order to hold the
entire army of the latter in his immediate front, and also in the
event of the defeat of Grant, and a concentration of the enemy on
Rosecrans's position, that he should be close to his base, his army
being then the reserve. If an advance succeeded in driving Bragg
from Tullahoma, a greater danger than his remaining inactive on
our front might ensue. To Bragg, the occupancy of Middle Tennessee
was of sufficient importance to justify him in remaining inactive
with his entire command, waiting for the advance of Rosecrans some
six months. If driven from Tennessee, his troops were ready to
unite with the command in Mississippi and defeat Grant's movements.
If Bragg could be held in Tennessee after until after Grant's success
was assured, then, by waiting at Murfreesboro with his army quiet,
Rosecrans could render better service than by moving on the enemy.
This was a matter of military judgment, on one side espoused by
Rosecrans and all his corps and division commanders, who were on
the ground, and on the other by Halleck, Stanton, and Grant; and
this question served to increase the feeling against Rosecrans in
those quarters. Bragg also considered that his presence on the
front of the Federal army would prevent any troops from it being
sent to aid Grant. And thus the year wore away until early summer.
Still another consideration with Rosecrans, was the character of
the soil in Tennessee from a short distance south of Murfreesboro
to the foot of the Cumberland Mountains. This was a light sandy
loam, that in winter and spring, during the rains of those seasons,
became like quicksand, allowing the artillery and wagon to sink
almost to the hub, and rendering the rapid movement of a large army
absolutely impossible.

During the early part of June, Rosecrans commenced placing his
troops in position, preparatory to a general advance. He ordered
the brigade that had been encamped at Gallatin, under General Ward,
to Lavergne, and despatched Gordon Granger to take post at Triune,
moving his command from Franklin up to that place. Crook was
ordered from Carthage to report to Murfreesboro, and on his arrival,
was placed in Reynolds's division. Rosecrans organized a reserve
corps, consisting of three divisions designated as First, Second,
and Third, under Baird, J. D. Morgan, and R. S. Granger, respectively,
and he assigned Gordon Granger to the command of this corps.

Early in June, Garfield, then Chief-of-Staff of the General
commanding, urged Rosecrans to make an advance movement, both as a
military and political measure with reference to the sentiment of
the North. General Rosecrans had matured his plans for an advance,
but decided to refer the question to his general officers in command
of corps and divisions. The matter being submitted to them, the
universal sentiment of these officers was that the movement should
be further delayed. However, on the 23rd of June, Rosecrans having
made all necessary arrangements for his command, according to his
plans, and learning of the favorable prospects at Vicksburg, and
of the movement of the force under Burnside into East Tennessee
to take and hold Knoxville, issued the necessary orders for the
advance of his army on that of the enemy.

Chapter X.

The Advance on Tullahoma.

At the time of the advance of the Army of the Cumberland, Polk's
corps of Bragg's army occupied the main position at Shelbyville,
strongly intrenched behind heavy works thrown up during the six
months of waiting. These added to the natural strength of the
position, and extended from Horse Mountain on the east, to Duck River
on the west, and were covered by a line of abattis. The town was
noted for the strong Union sentiment of its inhabitants, of which
fact the rebels took full advantage to the loss and distress
of the people. It is situated about twenty-five miles south of
Murfreesboro, and some twenty miles North of Tullahoma, on a branch
railroad from the main Nashville line, starting west from Wartrace.
Bragg's right was posted at Wartrace, with Hardee's corps occupying
the passes at Liberty, Hoover, and Bellbuckle Gaps. These gaps
were all held by strong forces of the enemy, supported by the main
command. Polk had an advance in Guy's Gap with his entire command
in supporting distance. Bragg's extreme right was protected
by cavalry with headquarters at McMinnville, while his cavalry on
the left, under Forrest, had headquarters at Columbia, threatening

At this time the main base of supplies of the enemy was at
Chattanooga, to which the entire country south of Duck River had
been made tributary. From Duck River, south, the country is rough,
with rocky ranges of hills, which divide the "barrens" from the
fertile parts of Middle Tennessee. These "barrens" constitute a
high rolling plateau of ground between the ranges of hills at Duck
River and the Cumberland Mountains. It is here that the soil during
a rainy season offers the greatest obstacle to active campaigning.
Situated on the "barrens," at the junction of the McMinnville
branch with the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, was Tullahoma,
a small straggling village, where Bragg had established his main
depot and made a large intrenched camp. The defiles of Duck River,
a deep, narrow stream with but few fords or bridges, covered its
front, with a rough rocky range of hills immediately south of the
river. The principal roads as they passed through these hills
bore southwardly toward the line of the enemy's communications and
Tullahoma. The Manchester pike passed through Hoover's Gap and
reached the "barrens" by ascending a long, difficult cañon called
Matt's Hollow. The Wartrace road passed through Liberty Gap, and
from there it ran into the road along the railroad through Bellbuckle
Gap. The direct road to Shelbyville goes through Guy's Gap.

Rosecrans was satisfied from the information he had received that
Bragg intended to fight in his intrenchments at Shelbyville, in
the event of the army advancing in that direction. The "effective
total present," as reported by Bragg as the strength of his army
on June 20, 1863, at Shelbyville, was 43,089, of all arms. If he
were attacked at Shelbyville and beaten, he would then be in good
position to retreat to his strong intrenchments at Tullahoma, and
on his retreat could so retard Rosecrans's advance through the narrow
winding roads leading up to the "barrens," as to fully protect his
own line of retreat and inflict severe loss on the advancing force
without exposing his own troops. Rosecrans's plan of campaign was
to render useless Bragg's intrenchments by turning his right, and
then if possible secure his line of retreat by moving on the railroad
bridge at Elk River. Bragg by this means would either be forced
to accept battle on ground chose by Rosecrans, or be compelled to
beat a retreat on a disadvantageous line, neither as direct nor by
as good roads as he would have from Shelbyville and Tullahoma due
south. To carry out this plan it was necessary to impress Bragg
with the idea that our advance would be in force on Shelbyville,
and, if possible, to keep up this impression until the main body
of our army reached Manchester. The success of this would keep
Bragg's attention on the movement on his front at Shelbyville, and
enable our army to pass through the dangerous defile of Hoover's
Gap, a narrow passage-way three miles long, between two hills, and
so on through Matt's Hollow, an equally dangerous defile, being a
gorge two miles long with hardly room anywhere for wagons to pass
each other. These passes were only eight miles from Hardee's
headquarters and sixteen from Shelbyville.

The plan then of Rosecrans in the advance on Tullahoma, was to make
a feint with Granger's corps and the main portion of the cavalry,
on Polk's command in his strong position at Shelbyville, and to
mass the three main corps on Bragg's right at Wartrace. The army
being all ready for the opening campaign, on the 23d of June General
R. B. Mitchell with his command--the First Cavalry Division--commenced
the advance from Triune on the Eaglesville and Shelbyville pike,
in the feint on Polk's command, made a furious attack on Bragg's
cavalry and drove in his infantry guards on their main force,
pressing the whole line on that front. Granger with the three
divisions of his corps and Brannan's division of Thomas's corps,
on that day moved with three days' rations from Triune to Salem.

On the same day, Palmer's division and a brigade of cavalry marched
to the vicinity of Bradyville, for the purpose of seizing with
his advance the head of the defile leading over an obscure road by
Lumley's Station to Manchester, and so up to the "barrens." All
the other troops were supplied with twelve days' rations of bread,
coffee, sugar, and salt, with six days' pork and bacon, and six
days' meat on hoof, and were held in readiness to move southward.
These movements being made, the next day the entire army pressed
forward on the advance.

In the evening of the 23d, the corps commanders met at army
headquarters. The plan of the campaign was fully explained to them,
and each one received in writing his orders as to his part in the

"Major-General McCook's corps to advance on the Shelbyville road,
turn to the left, move two divisions by Millersburg, and advancing
on the Wartrace road seize and hold Liberty Gap. The third division
to advance on Fosterville and cover the crossing of General Granger's
command from the Middleton road, and then move by Christiana to
join the rest of the corps.

"General Granger to advance on the Middleton road, threatening that
place, and cover the passing of General Brannan's division of the
Fourteenth Corps, which was to pass by Christiana and bivouac with
the rear division of the Twentieth Corps.

"The Fourteenth Corps, Major-General Thomas, to advance on the
Manchester pike, seize and hold with its advance, if practicable,
Hoover's Gap, and bivouac so as to command and cover that and
the Millersburg road, so that McCook and himself could be within
supporting distances of each other.

"Major-General Crittenden to leave Van Cleve's division of the
Twenty-first Army Corps at Murfreesboro, concentrate at Bradyville
with the other two, and await orders."

One brigade of cavalry under Turchin was sent with Crittenden to
establish a lookout toward McMinnville. All the remaining cavalry
under Stanley was to meet Mitchell as he came in from Versailles
and at once attack the rebel cavalry at Middleton.

These movements were all promptly executed in the midst of heavy
drenching rains, as it only could rain in the mountains and hills
of Tennessee, whenever the Army of the Cumberland made a forward
movement. The ground was so softened on all the dirt roads as to
render them next to impassable.

The Twentieth Corps, consisting of Johnson's, Davis's, and Sheridan's
divisions, started on the Shelbyville pike, and by different cross
roads moved to the left to Millersburg, where Davis's and Sheridan's
divisions encamped for the night. Johnson's division was advanced
up to Liberty Gap, with the Thirty-ninth Indiana, under Colonel
Harrison, thrown forward to skirmish. Harrison developed the
enemy in front of the Gap. Willich's brigade was moved forward,
and drove the skirmishers in the rebel front back upon their main
line, placed on the crest of the hills, on each side of the entrance
to the gap. Here the enemy was too strongly posted to attack his
front. Another brigade under Colonel John F. Miller, who had been
transferred from Negley's division to Johnson's, was then brought
forward. These two brigades were at once deployed in line, making
a front of such length as to envelop both flanks of the enemy's
line, and advancing, these brigades gallantly drove the rebels
through the defile, a distance of two miles. After clearing the
gap, the troops returned to the north end of it and there bivouacked.
On the following day, late in the afternoon, an attack was made
on Willich's and Miller's brigades, to drive them out of the north
end of the gap. Johnson's failure to hold the southern entrance
enabled the enemy again to enter it, and to secure it entirely they
made this attack. The engagement opened with a heavy fire on the
centre of the command, the enemy attacking in force. They were
handsomely repulsed. Renewing the attack, Hardee then endeavored
to secure positions on the hills to the right and left, so as
to command Johnson's flanks with his fire, but each movement was
met by Johnson's troops, supported by Carlin's brigade of Davis's
division, and every attack was repulsed. Beaten at every point,
late in the evening the enemy withdrew entirely, taking position
at Bellbuckle. The fighting at Liberty Gap was the most severe
of the campaign, and in this attack Johnson's command, including
Carlin's brigade, lost two hundred and thirty-one killed and
wounded. The enemy's loss was still greater. It was in repelling
one of the attacks on the left that Colonel Miller fell severely
wounded with a minie ball through his left eye while leading his

On the 24th, General Thomas moved direct on the Manchester pike
from Murfreesboro, Reynold's division in advance, starting at
4 o'clock in the morning, under orders, if possible, to seize and
hold Hoover's Gap. At 7 A.M., Rousseau's division followed in support
of Reynold's division, which encountered the mounted videttes of
the enemy a few miles beyond our picket station, forced them upon
their reserve, and then resolutely pressing on drove the entire
force on the run, through Hoover's Gap and beyond McBride's Creek.
Wilder, finding the enemy about to attack him with two brigades
from the division of Fairfield, occupied a strong position on the
hills at the southern entrance of the gap. Reynolds at once moved
his two infantry brigades forward and occupied the gap in the rear
of Wilder's command, prepared to resist the enemy on the front.
Wilder's brigade was immediately attacked by the enemy's force.
Reynolds supported him at once with his other brigades, which were
posted on the ridge of woods on the extreme right to prevent the
enemy turning our right flank, then heavily engaged by a superior
force. With these reinforcements the enemy was driven back out
of the woods, and three regiments were posted on the right, making
that position secure. Major Coolidge, commanding the brigade of
regulars of Rousseau's division, was ordered to reinforce Reynolds,
and every preparation was made for an attack on the following
morning. The other brigades of Rousseau's command, with Negley's
division, occupied the gap in the rear of Reynolds during the night.
Early on the morning of the 25th, Scribner was ordered with his
brigade to the front, in support of the batteries and to form a
picket line on the extreme left.

On the 24th, Crittenden, with Wood's and Palmer's divisions,
marched to Bradyville, leaving Van Cleve's division to garrison
Murfreesboro. Granger, with his three divisions and Brannan's,
advanced from Salem to Christiana. Turchin's division of cavalry
under Stanley moved on the Woodbury pike to Cripple Creek, and
thence through Salem. During the day Mitchell advanced from Rover
through Versailles to Middleton, where he had a sharp engagement
with the enemy's cavalry.

The plans of the enemy not being yet fully developed, and in view
of the uncertainty that existed whether he would fall on McCook's
front, or mass on Thomas near Fairfield, Rosecrans issued the
following orders for the 25th:

"Major-General Crittenden to advance to Lannon's Stand, six miles
east of Beech Grove, and open communications with General Thomas.

"General Thomas to attack the rebels on the flank of his advance
position at the forks of the road, and drive the rebels toward

"General McCook to feign and advance, as if in force, on the Wartrace
road by the Liberty Gap passes.

"General Stanley, with his cavalry, to occupy their attention at
Forsterville, and General Granger to support him with his infantry
at Christiana."

In the event that Thomas succeeded in his attack and drove the enemy
toward Wartrace, he was then to cover that road with a division,
and taking the remainder of his troops was to move rapidly on
Manchester. McCook was then to move in and take Thomas's place at
Beech Grove, holding Liberty Gap with a division, and was finally to
withdraw that and follow Thomas with his entire command to Manchester.

The same day that Crittenden's command marched to Holly Springs,
Brannan's division reached the main command of Thomas, and went
into camp with Rousseau at Hoover's Mills. Reynolds had a slight
skirmish with the enemy on his front. On the night of the 25th,
Rousseau was ordered up with his division to take position immediately
in the rear of Reynolds, preparatory to an attack on the enemy's
position at Beech Grove the next morning. Minty's brigade of
cavalry pressed forward at all points and drove the enemy to Guy's
Gap. Long took position at Lumley's Station. The remainder of
Turchin's division moved in the advance with General Crittenden.

The incessant rains that had fallen since the opening of the campaign
delayed the advance, by preventing Brannan joining the Fourteenth
Corps as soon as was expected. During the night of the 25th
it rained so continuously that it was almost impossible for the
troops to move, but by extraordinary exertions the divisions were
all in position by 10.30 A. M. At 4 o'clock in the morning Brannan's
division moved up to take part in the attack. At 8 A. M. Negley's
division took position to support the attack of the other divisions.
If the enemy's position at Beech Grove was carried, then Rousseau
and Brannon were to push on to Manchester that night if possible.
At 10.30 A.M. the advance was ordered. Moving forward on the
rebels in force on the heights north of Garrison Creek, our army
drove them steadily and rapidly toward Fairfield, Rousseau and
Brannan operating on their left flank from the hills north of the
Fairfield road, while Reynolds advanced against their front and right.
The enemy had prepared for an obstinate resistance, and attempted
to enfilade Thomas's troops from the high ground on his right. This
was effectually prevented by a gallant charge of Walker's brigade
and the regulars under Major Coolidge, who drove the enemy from
this position. Thomas pushed forward his troops, driving the rebels
in the direction of Fairfield, who covered their retreat with two
batteries of artillery, occupying positions behind strong lines
of skirmishers flanked by heavy cavalry force. The rebels thus
retired to Fairfield, near to which place our pickets were advanced.
Reynold's division and the baggage moved forward during the night
toward Manchester. Late in the afternoon Wilander's brigade
seized Matt's Hollow, and thus secured that passage. Thomas placed
his divisions in line of battle extending from the Fairfield road
to within five miles of Manchester. McCook remained in camp at
Liberty Gap during the day, while Granger rested at Christiana.
Crittenden's command pressed forward as rapidly as possible on
toward Manchester, struggling over almost impassable roads.

Rosecrans's headquarters, on the 27th, reached Manchester. The advanced
position secured by Thomas's command rendered the concentration of
the whole army on the enemy's left, through Hoover's Gap, at this
time an easy matter. With this done, Bragg would either be forced to
fight in resisting the further advance of the army under Rosecrans,
or abandon Middle Tennessee altogether. Early on the morning of the
27th, Reynolds's advance brigade--Wilder's mounted infantry--took
possession of Manchester, capturing forty prisoners, a guard at
the railroad depot, and taking the town completely by surprise.
Reynolds's entire division reached Manchester during the morning.
General Thomas then moved Rousseau's and Brannan's divisions
in pursuit of the enemy, driving him as far as Fairfield, and
ascertained at that place that the rebels had retreated entirely.
These two divisions then turned into the Fairfield and Manchester
road, Brannan's reaching the latter place at 10 P.M. and Rousseau's
at midnight. Negley's division had, during the day, been moving
in support of these two divisions toward the Fairfield road, by
way of Noale Fork, and arrived at Manchester at 8 P.M. Thomas's
corps being now together, it was manifest that the enemy must leave
his intrenchment at Shelbyville, and that our army must be prepared
to meet him at Tullahoma, only twelve miles distant. Rosecrans
gave the necessary orders at once to the other corps commanders
to close up their columns on Manchester, and be prepared for the

On the extreme right our cavalry, on the 27th, did brilliant work.
Supported by the reserve corps under Granger, Stanley advanced
from Christiana to Guy's Gap, where the advance of the rebel army
under Wheeler, with Martin's and a portion of Wharton's divisions,
was encountered. Charging down on them with Minty's brigade, closely
followed by Mitchell's division, Stanley routed and drove them
out of the gap into their intrenchments just north of Shelbyville.
Here they again made a stand. Dashing ahead, Minty encountered them
in their works, and drove them in disorder from their intrenchments
into Shelbyville. While Minty was pushing them on the front,
Mitchell came up, turned their right, cutting off their direct
line of retreat, and both forces united in driving them beyond the
town, completely defeated. Wheeler lost all his artillery and some
five hundred prisoners. A large number of the rebels were driven
into Duck River and drowned while attempting to cross. The flight
was so hurried that Wheeler himself only escaped by swimming the
river. This successful movement established the fact that Bragg
had abandoned his strong line of defence at Shelbyville, and the
question now to be answered was whether he would accept battle at
Tullahoma, or retire with his entire command across the Cumberland
Mountains and the Tennessee River, fighting as he fell back.

While the concentration of his command at Manchester was being
effected, Rosecrans determined to break the line of railroad in
the rear of Bragg's army, if possible. On the morning of the 28th
Wilder, with his brigade of mounted infantry, started at reveillé
by way of Hillsboro, to burn Elk River bridge, and to destroy the
railroad between Dechard and Cowan. John Beatty, with his brigade
of infantry marched to Hillsboro for the purpose of covering and
supporting Wilder's movement. The latter reached Elk River and
crossed his command, floating his mountain howitzers on a raft made
of an old saw-mill. He then moved on to Dechard, where, after a
slight skirmish with a detachment of the enemy, he destroyed the
depot full of commissary goods, the water tanks, the railroad bridge
over the Winchester road, and tore up some three hundred yards of
the railroad. Earlier in the day Wilder sent part of his command,
under Colonel Munroe, to destroy the railroad bridge over Elk River.
Withers's division of Bragg's army reached this point only a few
moments ahead of Munroe, and prevented the burning of the bridge.
Finding that the enemy was in pursuit of him at all points, Wilder
next moved to Tantalon and Anderson with detachments of his command,
but was compelled to retire, as these points were strongly guarded
by heavy forces of the enemy's infantry. Crossing the mountains
that night on his return over the Tracy City road, and so on to
Pelham, the troops slept at the foot of the mountains, and started
the next morning just in time to escape Forrest, who was in pursuit
with ten regiments of cavalry. Wilder reached Manchester at 1 P.M.
of the 30th.

Sheridan's division of McCook's corps reached Manchester on the
29th. The command--troops and animals--suffered severely on their
march over the heavy roads. Crittenden's command, which had been on
the road since the 26th, reached Manchester also on the 29th, after
marching with all speed, badly worn, by reason of the terrible rains
and fearful roads. The condition of the latter may be inferred from
the fact that it required four days of incessant labor for Crittenden
to advance the distance of twenty-one miles. The concentration
of the entire army being effected, orders were given for the final
movement on the 30th, as follows:

"The Fourteenth Corps to occupy the centre at Concord Church and
Bobo Cross Roads, with a division in reserve.

"The Twentieth Corps to take the right on Crumpton's Creek, two
divisions in echelon retired, one in reserve.

"The Twenty-first Corps to come up on the left near Hall's Chapel,
one division in front and one in reserve."

The rain had rendered the roads over which this movement was to be
made as soft and spongy as a swamp, into which the wagons cut to
the hubs, and even horses could only pass over with the greatest
exertion. The troops on the 30th were compelled to drag along the
artillery through the mud into position. While the orders for the
movements of the troops were being executed on the 30th, Thomas
sent Steedman's brigade of Brannan's division, and two regiments
of Negley's division on separate roads to reconnoitre the enemy's
position, and Sheridan sent Bradley's brigade of his own division
on another road, for the same purpose. These reconnoissances all
returned, and reported having found the enemy in force within a
mile or two of Tullahoma, on all roads except the one leading to
Estill Springs. Scouts coming in confirmed this, adding that it
was the general belief that Bragg would not leave his intrenchments
at Tullahoma without a fight.

On the same day Rosecrans ordered his topographical engineers
to ascertain the nature of the ground, in order to determine the
practicability of moving by columns in mass in line of battle from
the position in front, to gain the rear of the rebel position.
Their report being favorable, all arrangements were completed, and
the second division of Crittenden's corps was moved into position.

On July 1st, Thomas, hearing from a citizen that the enemy were
evacuating Tullahoma, ordered Steedman with his brigade, supported
by two regiments of Reynolds's division on the left, to advance
cautiously and ascertain if the report was true. Pushing forward his
advance, Steedman, meeting with no opposition, entered the place at
noon, capturing a few prisoners. Rosecrans being at once notified
of this, immediately ordered Rousseau's and Negley's divisions in
pursuit. Pressing forward with all possible haste by Spring Creek,
these divisions overtook the rear guard of the enemy late in the
afternoon at Bethpage Bridge, two miles above the railroad crossing,
where, after a sharp skirmish, in which a good many of our men
were wounded, the rebels were driven steadily back, until darkness
prevented further pursuit. The enemy, occupying the heights south
of the river, commanded the bridge with their artillery, which they
had placed behind epaulements.

On the 2d, the ammunition was brought forward, and McCook, with
Sheridan's and Davis's divisions, was ordered in pursuit on the
roads west of the railroad. Sheridan, on arriving at Rock Creek
Ford, found Elk River so swollen with the heavy rains of the past
week as to be barely fordable for cavalry. On the south bank of
the river the enemy had posted a force of cavalry to resist the
crossing. Sheridan opened fire at once on them, drove them away,
and occupied the ford. During the night the enemy burned the bridge
on the line of advance of Thomas, who found equal difficulty in
crossing. Here the river was very deep, and he ordered Rousseau's,
Brannan's, and Reynolds's divisions up the river to Jones's Ford.
Hambright's brigade was thrown across the river, and the other
troops went into camp on the north bank. Hambright captured several
rebel prisoners, who told him that Bragg's army was in full retreat
by way of Pelham and Cowan, across the Cumberland Mountains. Turchin,
with a small brigade of cavalry, moved forward from Hillsboro on
the Dechard road. On reaching the fords of Elk River at Morris
Ferry he found the rebel cavalry strongly posted. He attacked them
at once, re-enforced by Mitchell's command, and forced a passage
of the river after a sharp fight. Night closed the pursuit.

On the 3d, Sheridan succeeded in crossing Elk River, supported by
Davis's division, and pursued the enemy to Cowan, where he learned
that Bragg had crossed the mountains with part of his artillery
and infantry by the University and Sweden's Cove, sending Hardee's
corps into Sequatchie Valley, and covering his retreat with his
cavalry. Thomas crossed Rousseau's and Brannan's divisions at
Jones's Ford and ordered them to take position on the Winchester
and Hillsboro road. He directed Negley and Reynolds to cross their
divisions at the ford on the Winchester and Manchester pike. On
the 4th, Rousseau was ordered to march to the Dechard and Pelham
roads, and to take up position at Brackenfield's Point toward
the University. Reynolds encamped at Penningtown, and Brannan's
division at Taite's. The cavalry sent from Sheridan's position,
and by Stanley from the main column, developed the fact that the
enemy was entirely across the mountains, and the troops were now
ordered into camp to await supplies from the depot at Murfreesboro.

Bragg's army reached Chattanooga the first week in July. Here
he established his headquarters with Polk's corps retained in and
around town for the purposes of observation, with the exception
of Anderson's brigade of Withers's division, which was ordered
to Bridgeport, at the crossing of the Nashville and Chattanooga
Railroad over the Tennessee River. Hardee's corps was distributed
along the line of the Knoxville Railroad, with Tyner's Station as
the centre. At Chattanooga Bragg at once commenced fortifying his
position, which work he steadily prosecuted for some weeks, awaiting
the development of Rosecrans's plans. He also threw up defensive
works at each of the crossings of the Tennessee as far north as
Blyth's Ferry. Forrest was sent to Kingston, on the north bank of
the Tennessee River, with orders to picket the approaches to the
river from Sequatchie Valley, as well as the various crossings of
the river, and to maintain a watchful observation of Burnside's
movements in East Tennessee.

The Tullahoma campaign, with the exception of the one immediately
following, which placed the Army of the Cumberland across the
Tennessee and terminated in the battle of Chickamauga, was the most
brilliant of the great strategic campaigns carried to a successful
issue by General Rosecrans. The movements of the army occupied
nine days, during which time the enemy was driven from two strongly
fortified positions, with a loss in prisoners captured of 1,634,
eleven pieces of artillery, and a large amount of stores and supplies.
The result of this campaign gave to Rosecrans possession of Middle
Tennessee, and placed the armies back in the relative positions
occupied by them prior to Bragg's advance into Kentucky, a little
less than one year previous. The campaign was conducted throughout,
in one of the most extraordinary series of rain-storms ever known
in Tennessee at that season of the year. This, with the resistance
interposed by Bragg at our advance at Hoover's Gap, retarded operations
thirty-six hours, and in front of Manchester a detention of sixty
hours occurred. These delays and the storms prevented us getting
possession of Bragg's communication and forcing him to a very
disastrous battle. General Rosecrans in his official report of
this campaign says: "These results were far more successful than
were anticipated, and could only have been obtained by a surprise
as to the direction and force of our movements."

Bragg made no official report of the Tullahoma campaign, but in a
statement to General J. E. Johnston of his operations at that time,
he says that he offered battle behind his works at Shelbyville to
Rosecrans, which was refused; that the latter passed to his, Bragg's,
right on two occasions, threatening his rear. He being not able
to cope with the Federal army retreated to the Tennessee. Bragg
adds: "The Tennessee will be taken as our line."

During these nine days of active campaigning the Army of the
Cumberland, numbering less than sixty thousand effective men, with
a loss of 560 killed, wounded, and missing, compelled the army under
Bragg, numbering something less than forty-five thousand effective
men, to retreat a greater distance and out of far stronger positions
than the united armies under Sherman were able to compel the same
army with but slight additional strength under General Joe Johnston,
to fall back, in four months of active field campaigning, with a
very much larger relative loss. The proportion of the forces of
the opposing armies during the Tullahoma campaign was far nearer
equal than that on to Atlanta, while the natural and military
obstacles to be overcome were largely the greater in the Tullahoma
campaign. To Bragg the forward movement of the Federal army in
full strength was a surprise, but to find that army so far in his
rear and so near to cutting his line of communications was a much
greater surprise. These might not have been guarded against, but
nothing displayed the marked superiority of Rosecrans over his
opponent, as a great strategist, so much as the grand success of
the final movement of the campaign, from Manchester south. The
general who--as even the rebels, in their worship of their leader
General Lee, admitted--was able in Western Virginia to completely
outgeneral Lee, on the Tullahoma campaign again demonstrated his
ability as the greatest strategic general of the war.

Brilliant campaigns, however, without battles, do not accomplish the
destruction of an army. A campaign like that of Tullahoma always
means a battle at some other point. This was true after the Atlanta
campaign, where Sherman got the glory and Thomas did the fighting.
This was equally true as to the Tullahoma, and the fact that these
two armies were yet somewhere to meet and engage in deadly strife,
was apparent to the commanders of both armies. Where and when that
meeting was to be was the problem that engaged the minds of both
these commanders. In the Tullahoma campaign the elements were on
the side of Bragg's army, both in preventing the rapid movements of
the Federal army, and in furnishing a perfect barrier to a successful
pursuit when the retreat was under way, by the high water in the
swollen streams, the bridges over which Bragg destroyed as he fell

The concluding line of Bragg's letter to Johnston, that "The
Tennessee will be taken as our line," demonstrated that, to his
mind at least, his Kentucky movement of the year before did not
meet with the success he anticipated. Here now he was waiting his
opportunity to contest his last foothold on the State of Tennessee
at the far corner in Chattanooga. With Rosecrans, his army required
after these days of hard campaigning a rest to repair the wear
and tear of the heavy marching, and the resupplying of his entire
command. The railroads in his rear required his attention first.
These were placed in order up to his army, and the repairs on the
road to the front were then to be pushed to the Tennessee River. In
three weeks time these were completed, and on the 25th, the first
supply train was pushed through to the Tennessee River. Then Rosecrans
established his new depot of supplies at Stevenson, Alabama, and
hastened, as rapidly as he could, the accumulation of supplies at
that point.

Chapter XI.

The Movement to Chickamauga.

The withdrawal of the army under Bragg to Chattanooga again made
that point the objective of a campaign. But several things had to
be taken into consideration before this was entered into. Burnside
had been ordered from Cincinnati to East Tennessee through Kentucky,
and it was necessary to know the force and position of his command.
If Knoxville and Cumberland Gap were under his control, then it
would be reasonably safe to follow out a plan of operations looking
to flank Bragg's left by a movement across the Tennessee over the
ranges of mountains of Northern Georgia. But to do this, part
of the force under Grant, now inactive after Vicksburg, should be
ordered up at least as far east as the Tennessee, to protect the
line of supplies and prevent any movement of the enemy to the rear
on that flank of Rosecrans's army. Another weighty consideration
was that of forage for the animals of the command. By the middle
of August, corn in the valleys of Southern Tennessee and Northern
Alabama would be ripe, and subject to the wants of the army. It
was General Rosecrans's plan to wait until these movements could
be accomplished and until the corn had ripened, and knowing the
difficulties in the way at the best, of his successfully accomplishing
his plans for the campaign, he wished at least to have that best
in his favor.

In making his final preparations for his operations against
Chattanooga, General Rosecrans considered two plans. One was to
appear on the front of Chattanooga and attempt a direct attack on
the town and reduce it by a lengthy siege. The other was to flank
Bragg out of Chattanooga, as he had been compelled by the movement
on the Tullahoma campaign to abandon his strongholds one by one.

The first plan could hardly be entertained, as Bragg was at his
base, with but short lines to all important points under control
of the rebel government, and at a place where in a very short time
heavy reinforcements could be sent him, while Rosecrans in front
of Chattanooga would be in a rough, sterile country, far away from
his base of supplies, with a long wagon-haul over rocky mountain
ranges from his nearest depôt. To attempt the movement on the left,
or through Sequatchie Valley, would concentrate Bragg's entire
army at the contemplated point of crossing the Tennessee. This
plan Bragg was prepared for, and was resting, quietly awaiting the
movements of our army carrying it into effect. But it was not the
purpose of Rosecrans to meet this expectation of his opponent. The
genius of Rosecrans contemplated one of the most brilliant military
movements of the war to obtain possession of this great stronghold
of Nature, the gateway to East Tennessee and Northern Georgia,
Chattanooga. At that time this place was of the utmost importance
to each of the contending forces, and the highest prize in a military
point of view that the Army of the Cumberland ever contended for.

To properly understand the magnitude and importance of the
campaign that Rosecrans was now entering on, it is necessary that
the topography of the country should be considered. The position
of our army after the Tullahoma campaign was on the northwester base
of the Cumberland range, in camp occupying McMinnville, Tullahoma,
Dechard, and Winchester, with Chattanooga south of east. Immediately
in front was the first great barrier in the advance movement--the
Cumberland Mountains--a lofty range of rocks dividing the waters
flowing into the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. The range rises
far to the north and extends to the southwest into Alabama. North
of Chattanooga the mountains are much bolder, more difficult to
cross, with almost sheer declivities on each of the sides.

Beyond the main range, in the direct road to Chattanooga, running
south, flows the Sequatchie River through the valley of that name,
formed by another range jutting off slightly to the east from the
main range, and between it and the Tennessee River. This spur
is known by the name of Walling's Ridge [NOTE from Brett and Bob:
This is probably what is now known as Walden's Ridge which was
named after a Mr. Walling or Wallen as subsequently described. This
Ridge was quite sparsely populated with an estimate of 11 families
at the time of the civil war, so it's history is not exactly
well documented. Subsequent references use Walling's Ridge to be
consistent with the original text.], after an early settler and
Indian hunter. It abuts close on the Tennessee in precipitous
rocky bluffs.

South of the Tennessee, and separated from the mountain ranges
north by this river, are the two ranges known as Sand and Lookout
Mountains. The northern extremity of the former is called Raccoon
Mountain. Here the river cuts its channel as a great chasm through
these mountain ranges, so sharply defined that the masses abut
directly upon the water in heavy palisades of rock.

The tops of all these mountain ranges are of poor soil but generally
with considerable timber; rough, with but few roads, and these
almost impassable for wagons and nearly destitute of water. The
western slope of Sand Mountain reaches nearly to the Tennessee
River. Between this latter range and Lookout Mountain is Lookout
Valley with the creek of that name flowing through it into the
Tennessee a short distance below Chattanooga. This valley is also
known as Wills Valley, and at that time was traversed by a railroad
branching from the Nashville road at Wauhatchie, terminating at

Beyond this was Lookout range, 2,400 feet above the sea, with
almost perpendicular sides, heavily wooded and with little water,
abutting abruptly on the Tennessee, some two miles south of the
town, with only three practical wagon roads over it--one close to
the river, one at Johnson's Crook, and the third at Winston's Gap,
twenty-six and forty-two miles respectively south of Chattanooga.

To the east of Lookout Mountain is Chattanooga Valley with the town
at the head of it and the creek of that name flowing through, with
Dry Creek as a branch emptying its waters into the Tennessee just
south of the town. Beyond this to the east is Missionary Ridge,
and parallel to it and just beyond is Chickamauga Valley, with
the creek of that name running through it emptying into the river
above Chattanooga, formed by East, Middle, and West Chickamauga
Creeks, uniting with Pea Vine Creek between the latter two as a
tributary. Chattanooga and West Chickamauga Creeks have a common
source in McLemore's Cove, which is formed by Pigeon Mountain on
the east, jutting to the north as a spur of Lookout Mountain, with
the latter on the west, Missionary ridge running out as it enters
this cove. The wagon road from Chattanooga to Rome, known as the
La Fayette road, crosses Missionary Ridge into Chickamauga Valley
at Rossville and proceeds thence nearly due south, crossing
Chickamauga Creek at Lee and Gordon Mills, thence to the east of
Pigeon Mountain, passing through La Fayette some twenty-two miles
south of Chattanooga; it then continues on to Summerville, within
twenty-five miles of Rome, and so on to the latter place.

Beyond these ranges is Taylor's ridge, with a number of lesser
ranges between it and the Atlanta Railroad, running through Dalton.
Both Pigeon Mountain and Taylor's Ridge are very rough mountain
ranges, with but few roads, and these only through gaps. At Dalton
is the junction of the East Tennessee with the Atlanta Railroad,
in the valley of the head waters of the Coosa River, which valley
is here some ten miles wide and is the great natural passage-way
into East Tennessee from the south.

To follow Bragg to Chattanooga and to cross the Tennessee above
that place involved moving the army either to the north of the
Sequatchie Valley by Dunlap or by Therman and Walling's Ridge, some
sixty-five to seventy miles through a country poorly supplied with
water, with no forage, and by narrow and difficult wagon roads. This
route would take Rosecrans further away from his base of supplies
and line of communication than that south of the river. It was
over this northern route that Bragg anticipated the onward movement
of the Army of the Cumberland. This would enable him to make a
protracted defence of the town and retard the advance for weeks,
if not months. But Rosecrans's plan of the campaign contemplated a
much more hazardous movement and a far speedier one for the possession
of Chattanooga. To accomplish this, however, it was necessary
to cross the Cumberland Mountains with subsistence, ammunition,
a limited supply of forage, and a bridge train; then to cross his
army over the Tennessee River, after that over Sand or Raccoon
Mountain into Lookout Valley, and from there to cross Lookout
Mountain, and finally the lesser ranges--Missionary Ridge--if he
went directly to Chattanooga, or to cross Missionary Ridge, Pigeon
Mountain, and Taylor's Ridge, if he struck the railroad at Dalton
or south of it. This involved the carrying by his army of ammunition
for two great battles and twenty-five days' subsistence.

As soon as the repairs were made on the main line to Stevenson,
Rosecrans ordered Sheridan's division to make an advance movement
with two brigades to Bridgeport and one to Stevenson. Van Cleve
had been ordered up with his divisions from Murfreesboro and was
posted at McMinnville. On August 8th, stores being accumulated at
the front, orders were issued to corps commanders to supply their
troops, as soon as possible, with rations and forage sufficient
for the general advance.

The movement over the Cumberland Mountains began on August 16th,
and the troops were ordered to move as follows:

"Crittenden's corps in three columns to move through the Sequatchie
Valley. Minty's cavalry to move on the left by Sparta, and after
covering the left flank of Van Cleve to proceed to Pikesville.

"Thomas to move Reynolds and Brannan from University by way
of Battle Creek, where they were to take post, concealed near its
mouth. Negley and Baird to go by way of Tantallon and halt on Crow
Creek between Anderson and Stevenson.

"McCook to move Johnson by Salem and Larkin's Ford to Bellefont.
Davis by Mount Top and Crow Creek to near Stevenson. The three
brigades of cavalry by Fayetteville and Athens to cover the line
of the Tennessee from Whitesburg up."

These orders were complied with, and the movements completed by
the evening of August 20th. Crittenden sent Hazen's brigade on
a reconnoissance to Harrison's Landing, where he found the enemy
throwing up works. On the next day Hazen took post at Poe's
cross-roads. Wilder was sent to reconnoitre from Harrison's
Landing to Chattanooga. On reaching Chattanooga, he was supported
by Wagner's brigade, and both commands opened fire on the next day,
shelling the town from across the river. This bombardment of the
place caused it to be evacuated by the rebel troops, to points
beyond range outside, and the withdrawal by Bragg of his stores
to points of convenience on the railroad to the rear. Bragg then
ordered Anderson's brigade to withdraw from Bridgeport.

The feint under Crittenden was so well timed that Bragg concentrated
his immediate command at and above Chattanooga, leaving the crossing
of the river by the main portion of our army later, unobstructed.
Rosecrans had posted his army so that demonstrations were made
simultaneously from Whitesburg to Blythe's Ferry, a distance of
one hundred and fifty miles, and Bragg did not know just where to
look for his real advance, but definitely concluded that it would
NOT be made anywhere in the vicinity of Bridgeport. On the 26th,
five days after the surprise at Chattanooga, Burnside's advance
into East Tennessee was announced by the presence of his cavalry in
the vicinity of Knoxville. Bragg then ordered Buckner to evacuate
Knoxville, and occupy Loudon. The demonstration at Blythe's Ferry
on the Tennessee, opposite the mouth of the Hiawasse, caused Bragg
to order him to retire to Charleston, and soon thereafter to
Chattanooga. On the 30th, information was given General Thomas
that Johnston, with 15,000 men from Mississippi, had re-enforced

Under cover of the apparent activity of the left of our army in front
of and above Chattanooga, Rosecrans effected safely the crossing
of the first great barrier to the objective point, and reached the
banks of the Tennessee opposite the enemy, concealing as far as he
could the movements of his troops, and the position of his pontoons
and trains. He then had the river reconnoitered, that the best
points might be selected and the means at once provided for the
crossing. As soon as the crossings had been determined on, the
proper dispositions were made to begin the movement.

The Tennessee River, at the various points where our army was to
cross, is very wide; and, swollen by recent rains, was quite high
for that season of the year. The troops crossed the river at four
points. As there were not enough pontoons for two bridges, Sheridan
had commenced trestlework for part of one at Bridgeport. Reynolds
advanced to Shellmound, seizing the place. Here he captured a
number of boats, and with these and other material picked up, he was
enabled to cross at that point, while Brannan crossed his division
from the mouth of Battle Creek on rafts. The main crossing of
McCook's corps was at Caperton's Ferry, about forty miles below
Chattanooga, where the pontoon bridge was laid by Davis's division,
after driving a detachment of rebel cavalry from the opposite side.

The movement across the river was commenced on August 29th, and
completed on September 4th. Baird, in command of a division of
Thomas's corps, crossed the river at Bridgeport after the repairs
were completed to the bridge. Negley's division crossed at Caperton's
Ferry. The four divisions of Thomas's corps with great difficulty
crossed Sand Mountain, and concentrated near Trenton in Will's
Valley, east of Sand Mountain. On September 6th Negley's division,
being in the advance, reached Johnson's Crook where Beatty's brigade
was sent at once up the mountain to seize Steven's Gap. Before
proceeding far he met the enemy's pickets, and, night coming on,
he went into camp just west of the gap. The Eighteenth Ohio went
a short distance on the road to the top of Lookout Mountain, met
the enemy's pickets and withdrew. The next day, Baird's division
supporting Negley, the latter with two brigades, moved forward,
and with his advance gained possession of the top of the mountain,
and secured the forks of the road. The entire of Negley's division
reached this point on the 9th, at the head of Johnson's Crook,
and with one brigade held the pass while another was sent a short
distance north on the mountain to seize Cooper's Gap, with a regiment
in the advance to occupy and hold the entrance on the east. Another
regiment was sent forward to hold Stevens's Gap, which was found
heavily obstructed with fallen timber. Negley still being in the
advance, moved the day following across Missionary Ridge, and took
up a position in McLemore's Cove on the road through Dug Gap. Here
he found the enemy's cavalry drawn up in line, and learned from
citizens that the rebels were in strong force concentrated in his
front in Dug Gap, with infantry, artillery, and cavalry. Baird's
division was in supporting distance of Negley.

Early in the morning of the 9th Reynolds sent the Ninety-second
Illinois (mounted infantry) to make a reconnoissance along the
top of Lookout Mountain, to discover the enemy's movements and to
determine the rumors in regard to the evacuation of Chattanooga.
At 11 A.M. the regiment entered the town as the rear of the enemy's
column was leaving the place. The next day the four divisions of
the Fourteenth Corps were in supporting distance of each other,
with Negley still in front of Dug Gap, the enemy holding the east
entrance with a heavy force, and the Gap full of obstructions.
Negley discovered early on the following day that his situation
was critical, and that he was in danger of losing his train. He
determined to fall back to a strong position in front of Stevens's
Gap, which movement he proceeded to execute, and succeeded in the
face of the enemy by his energy and skill, with the prompt co-operation
of Baird, in securing his position in front of the gap without the
loss of a single wagon. The next day the location of Bragg's army
at La Fayette with Johnston's reinforcements was fully determined,
and Thomas's corps now awaited the movements of the other troops
with reference to the concentration of the army.

In the meantime Davis's and Johnson's divisions of McCook's corps,
crossing the river at Caperton's Ferry, moved over Sand Mountain
into Will's Valley, and thence--Davis being in the advance--moved
into and seized Winston's Gap, some twenty-five miles from Caperton's
Ferry, and about forty-two from Chattanooga. Sheridan's division
crossed the river at the railroad bridge, moved through Trenton,
and on the 6th encamped twelve miles from Winston's Gap. McCook
sent several detachments on the 8th and 9th to different points,
reconnoitering the enemy. One went to Alpine and two into Broomtown
Valley, but nothing was discovered of Bragg's whereabouts. On the
evening of the 9th Rosecrans sent orders to McCook, stating that
the enemy had evacuated Chattanooga and were retreating southward,
and directing him to move rapidly upon Alpine and Summerville in
pursuit, to intercept his line of retreat, and to attack on his
flank. The day following McCook reached Alpine, where he discovered
the situation. The enemy had not retreated very far from Chattanooga,
the exact location as yet unknown. McCook learned that he could
not communicate with Thomas, as his couriers could not pass through
the valley, occupied as it was by the enemy in force, and that
his corps was entirely isolated at Alpine. That, had he gone
to Summerville, he would have been exposed to an attack from the
entire rebel army, which his reconnoissance later determined was
concentrated in force near La Fayette. On the following day McCook
remained in camp waiting for Thomas to move up on him. He, however,
sent his wagon-train back to the summit of Lookout Mountain. On
the 12th McCook waited in camp for reports from the cavalry as to
the position and movements of the enemy.

Crittenden's corps had during the time moved down the Sequatchie
Valley, in readiness for an active campaign. He then crossed the
river at Bridgeport, Shell Mound, and Battle Creek, and on September
4th his entire corps was across the river. He was ordered to move
up the valley of Running Water Creek and Whiteside, leaving one
division on the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad,
and to push forward as near as possible to Chattanooga, threatening
the enemy in that direction. At 6 A.M. on the 9th Crittenden was
informed by a despatch from Rosecrans that Chattanooga had been
abandoned by the enemy, and that he was to push forward at once
with five day's rations and make a vigorous pursuit. During the
morning Crittenden with Wood's division occupied the town, and
Wood was placed in command. Palmer's and Van Cleve's were turned
off south after they passed the spur of Lookout Mountain, and
encamped at Rossville, five miles south of Chattanooga. In the
afternoon of the same day Crittenden was ordered to leave a brigade
at Chattanooga, and with the balance of his command to pursue the
enemy with the utmost vigor, the line of march to be through Ringgold
and on to Dalton. The next day Crittenden left Wagner--who had
crossed the river from the front of the town during the night--in
command, and ordered forward Palmer's, Van Cleve's, and the two
brigades of Wood's division in pursuit, marching on the Rossville
and Riggold road. During the afternoon Palmer reported the enemy's
cavalry strong on his front, that he had only been able to march
six miles, had encamped at Chickamauga Creek, and that his advance
had been checked by a charge of the rebel cavalry. That night
Crittenden received several reports from his front that the enemy
was in force near La Fayette, and threatening to retake Chattanooga.

During the 11th, Wood, with his two brigades, was on a reconnoissance
at Gordon's Mills, and Crittenden was ordered to occupy Ringgold
and report. These movements determined to Rosecrans's satisfaction
the position of the enemy in force in the vicinity of La Fayette.
He immediately ordered Crittenden to close his entire command
upon Wood, crossing as quickly as possible to the Rossville and La
Fayette road, to some point near Lee and Gordon's Mills. Early on
the morning of the 12th, Wilder was ordered back to Ringgold and
directed to follow on the line of march of the infantry, covering
the left flank. Crittenden succeeded during the day in effecting
a concentration of his command at Lee and Gordon's Mills, which
point Wilder's brigade reached after a severe skirmish during the
day near Leet's tanyard, where he lost thirty men killed and wounded.
With the knowledge that Bragg was concentrating his forces awaiting
reinforcements behind Pigeon Mountain, in the vicinity of La Fayette,
and that his own army was scattered a distance of thirty miles from
flank to flank--from Lee and Gordon's Mills to Alpine--Rosecrans felt
that it was a matter of life and death to effect the concentration
of his army in the shortest possible space of time.

During these movements of the army under Rosecrans, what was Bragg
doing? On August 20th, the movement of our army over the Cumberland
Mountains was reported to Bragg, and he then knew that he might
look for an immediate advance. The movement of our army across the
Tennessee was also reported to Bragg by his scouts, but was regarded
by him as incredible. These reports were soon after confirmed by
the news that our cavalry had occupied Trenton and had advanced
up the Will's Valley Railroad as far as Wauhatchie, within seven
miles of Chattanooga, as a covering force under which Rosecrans's
columns of infantry were advancing. Our army was now as near the
line of communication of the rebel army, as the latter was to the
line to Nashville, and with less risk in its advance movements
should Bragg commence operations to the north. Bringing his cavalry
forward at once, Bragg soon ascertained that the general movement
of our army was toward his left and rear in the direction of Dalton
and Rome, keeping Lookout Mountain between the armies. He then
determined to meet our army as its columns debouched from the defiles
of the mountains. To hold Chattanooga would require at least two
strong divisions, and he felt that his force would not permit this
and make a successful attack also. Bragg put his army in motion on
September 7th and 8th, and took up position from Lee and Gordon's
Mills to La Fayette, on the road running south from Chattanooga,
with the front to the east side of Lookout Mountain, and on the
east bank of Chickamauga Creek, establishing his headquarters at
the former place.

The positions of our detached corps was fully known to Bragg on
the 8th. Learning of Negley's movement of the 9th into McLemore's
cove, Bragg rightly interpreted it to mean that a hurried pursuit
was being made after his force, under the idea that he was in full
retreat. With his own force concentrated in front of the centre,
Bragg at once saw how Rosecrans had exposed the corps of his army
to be attacked and defeated in detail, and that evening he gave
order to Hindman to prepare his division to move against Negley,
and ordered Hill to send or take Cleburne's division, join Hindman,
and immediately move upon Negley. On receipt of these orders,
Hill replied that his part of the movement was impracticable, as
Cleburne was sick, and that both gaps--Dug and Catlett's--had been
closed by felling timber which would require twenty-four hours to
remove. Hindman having marched during the night of the 9th some
ten miles, was now in position, some three miles from Negley in
the cove. Bragg not wishing to lose so favorable an opportunity
of striking his opponent's force, ordered Buckner with his command
to move from Anderson and join Hindman in the cove, which he did
during the afternoon of the 10th. After these commands had united,
the commanders held a consultation and determined that a change in
the plan of operations should be made. Bragg having removed his
headquarters to La Fayette, "so as to secure more prompt and decided
action in the movements ordered against the enemy's centre," now
directed Polk to send his remaining division to support Hindman
during the operations in the cove. Despatching an officer to Bragg
with a report as to this change of plans, Hindman and Cleburne
waited his return. Bragg refused to make any change, and sent a
verbal order to Hindman to proceed at once to carry out his previous
instruction. Bragg at the same time sent written orders by courier
to Hindman, notifying him of the movements of our forces, that Polk
had been directed to cover his rear, and ordered him to attack and
force his way through Negley to La Fayette at the earliest hour
in the morning, and adds "Cleburne will attack in front the moment
your guns are heard." Walker's reserve corps was also ordered to
move promptly, join Cleburne's division at Dug Gap and unite in
the attack. All obstructions were removed from Dug and Catlett's
Gaps, and Breckenridge's division of Hill's corps was kept in
position south of La Fayette to check any movement of our troops
from that direction, thus putting 30,000 troops in position to crush
Negley and Baird. Bragg shortly after daylight joined Cleburne,
where they waited nearly all day for Hindman's guns to open--when
Cleburne was to attack--on the flank and rear of Negley and
Baird's divisions. After waiting long past noon in great anxiety
for Hindman's attack, about the middle of the afternoon his first
gun was heard. Cleburne at once pressed forward and discovered
that Negley had fallen back to Steven's Gap.

Bragg, finding his attempt against Thomas's corps a failure, then
determined to hurl his columns upon Crittenden's divided corps,
approaching from Chattanooga, by withdrawing the troops engaged
in the movement on Thomas's command to La Fayette, and directing
Polk's and Walker's corps to move immediately in the direction of
Lee and Gordon's Mills. Bragg knew Crittenden's corps was divided,
but supposed only one division had been sent to Ringgold. At six
o'clock on the evening of the 12th, Bragg wrote again to Polk,
notifying him of Crittenden's position of the 11th, and stated: "This
presents you a fine opportunity of striking Crittenden in detail,
and I hope you will avail yourself of it at daylight to-morrow.
This division crushed, and the others are yours. We can then turn
on the force in the cove. Wheeler's cavalry will move on Wilder
so as to cover your right. I shall be delighted to hear of your
success." Later in the evening two additional orders were issued
to Polk, urging him to attack promptly at "day-dawn," on the 13th;
that our army was concentrating, and that it should be quick and
decided." At eleven o'clock that night Polk sent a dispatch stating
that he had taken a strong position for defense and asked that he
be heavily re-enforced. Bragg sent him an immediate order not to
defer his attack, as his command was numerically superior to the
opposing force, and told him that to secure success, prompt and
rapid movements on his part were necessary. Early on the morning
of the 13th, Bragg, at the head of Buckner's command, went to the
front, and found no advance had been made by Polk as ordered, and
that Crittenden had united his forces and recrossed the Chickamauga.

Again the attempt to strike our army in detail had failed, and now
Bragg gave orders to his commanders to concentrate along the east
bank of Chickamauga in position for battle, and as soon as his
reinforcements under Longstreet from Virginia were up to attack
with the entire command. Wheeler, with two divisions of cavalry
on the extreme left, was ordered to engage the attention of Thomas
in McLemore's Cove, covering the main movement of the rebel army;
Forrest with his own and Pegram's divisions of cavalry covered
the right and front. Bragg ordered B. R. Johnson's brigade from
Ringgold, where he had been stationed protecting the railroad,
to take position near Reed's bridge on the extreme right of his
line. Walker's corps was then formed on Johnson's left, opposite
Alexander's Bridge. Buckner's corps was formed on the left
of Walker, near Ledford's Ford. Polk's corps was placed in line
opposite Lee and Gordon's Mills on Buckner's left, with Hill on the
extreme left. Two brigades that had just arrived from Mississippi
were placed under Johnson on the right, making his command a
division of three brigades strong. To this division in the earlier
movements three brigades of Longstreet's corps from Virginia were
temporarily attached. On the 18th, Hood reporting, was placed in
command of this column on the right.

The rebel army on the 17th were in position, and that evening
Bragg issued his orders for his forces to cross the Chickamauga,
commencing the movement at six o'clock on the morning of the 18th.
Bragg's plan of battle for the 18th was for the column under
Johnson--later under Hood--to cross in force at Reed's Bridge,
rapidly turn to the left by the most practicable route, and sweep
up the Chickamauga toward Lee and Gordon's Mills. Walker's corps
next on the left, crossing at Alexandria Bridge, was to unite in
the movement, pressing our army vigorously on flank and rear, in
the same direction. Buckner, crossing at Ledford's Ford, was to
join in the movement to the left, pressing our army back up the
stream from Polk's front. The latter to push forward to the front
at Lee and Gordon's Mills, and if not able to cross there, to bear
to the right and cross at Dalton's Ford or Alexander's Bridge,
and unite in the attack wherever he could find an opposing force.
Hill, to cover the left flank of the rebel army from an advance by
our forces in the cove, to ascertain by pressing his cavalry to the
front if we were reinforcing our corps at Lee and Gordon's Mills,
and if so to attack on the flank. This plan contemplated the
destruction of the left of our army, the seizing of the La Fayette
road, and, if possible, occupying and holding the roads in Chattanooga
Valley, cutting off all access from Chattanooga. These movements
were not executed as rapidly as was contemplated by Bragg, owing to
the resistance made by our cavalry and Wilder's mounted infantry,
and the difficulties arising from bad and narrow roads. Johnson
was repeatedly urged to commence the movement on the right, but he
delayed his advance until late in the afternoon, when Hood arrived
and effected the crossing. Walker moved up to Alexander's Bridge,
at which point Wilder hotly contested his crossing, and finally
broke up the bridge. Walker moved down the creek to Byron's Ford,
where he crossed and joined Hood on the right during the night.
On Walker's crossing, Wilder was compelled to fall back.

The concentration of our army continued on the 13th, Thomas held
his position of the 12th, with Negley's, Baird's, and Brannan's
divisions remaining in camp, waiting the arrival of McCook, who
had been ordered to close up to the left. Reynolds's division was
concentrated on the road from Cooper's or Frick's Gap to Catlett's
Gap, and the next day moved forward and took position at Pond
Spring, with his two infantry brigades, and was joined here by
Wilder. Reynolds sent Turchin to make a reconnoissance with the
Ninety-second Illinois mounted infantry, to the mouth of Catlett's
Gap, driving the rebel cavalry pickets from Chickamauga Creek
to the gap, where he found the enemy posted with strong reserves.
Brannan on the same day reconnoitered the position of the enemy
toward Dug Gap, sending a brigade to Chickamauga Creek, east of
Lee's Mills, one mile to the right and south of Reynolds, at Pond
Spring. Turchin made another reconnoissance on the 16th toward
Catlett's Gap, and found the enemy strongly posted there with
infantry and artillery. The next day Thomas moved his entire
corps and closed upon Crittenden's right along Chickamauga Creek,
and was joined at night by McCook on his right. The four divisions
of Thomas's command on the afternoon of the 18h moved to the left
to Crawfish Springs. Here Rosecrans, anticipating the movement
of Bragg to secure the road to Chattanooga, and recognizing the
importance of holding it, ordered Thomas with his corps to march
on the cross-road leading by the Widow Glenn's to the Chattanooga
and La Fayette road, and take position on that road near Kelly's
farm, connecting with Crittenden's corps on his right at Gordon's
Mills. During the entire night of the 18th the troops of Thomas's
corps were moving to the left, and at daylight on the 19th the
head of the column reached Kelly's farm; Baird's division in the
advance, taking position at the forks of the road, facing toward
Reed's and Alexander's Bridges over the Chickamauga. Wilder had
been driven across the State road to the heights east of Widow
Glenn's house the evening before, by the advance in force of the
enemy over these bridges, and Baird's right rested close to Wilder's
brigade. Baird's division was closely followed by Brannan, who was
placed in position on the left of Baird, on the two roads leading
to the bridges.

Orders were received by McCook at midnight on the 13th, directing
two divisions of his corps to move to Thomas's support, and that he
send his train back under guard of his remaining division. McCook
moved his command, by way of Valley Head, up the mountain at Alpine
on the night of the 13th, and down on the 14th into Lookout Valley,
except one brigade from each division forming his train guard
under command of Lytle, encamped at Little River in the mountains.
Sheridan's marched down Lookout Valley to Johnson's Crook, while
Johnson's and Davis's divisions were sent from Valley head on the
direct road to Stevens's Gap. General Lytle was ordered to make
a reconnoissance with two brigades toward Dougherty's Gap at the
head of McLemore's Cove, and on the night of the 18th General Lytle
joining the corps with two of his brigades, McCook's command was
closed up on the Fourteenth Corps, except Post's brigade of Davis's
division, ordered by General Rosecrans to hold Stevens's Gap at
all hazards.

Crittenden on the 13th, under orders from headquarters, posted
Wood's division in a strong position at Lee and Gordon's Mills, under
orders to resist any advance of the enemy to last, and in case of
extremity, if Granger was not in position to support, then to fall
back to some point where he could guard the road to Chattanooga and
the one around the point of Lookout Mountain, and hold both roads,
as long as he had a man under him. The next day Crittenden moved
the two remaining divisions of his corps to a position on the
southern spur of Missionary Ridge, his right communicating with
Thomas, where he was to remain, covering the road in Chattanooga
Valley. Finding no movement of the enemy on his front, on the 15th
Crittenden was ordered to return with his command and take position
near Crawfish Spring, with Van Cleve on the left and Palmer on
the right. During the day Minty with the cavalry made an extended
reconnoissance on the front, finding the enemy in force at all points.
Wood, holding position on Chickamauga Creek, at Lee and Gordon's
Mills, on the morning of the 18th reported the enemy advancing with
strong line of skirmishers on his left and asked for supports. Van
Cleve was placed on Wood's left and Palmer then took Van Cleve's
position on Wood's right. Wilder in the afternoon reported
Minty's cavalry driven back after being re-enforced with two of his
regiments; that the enemy was flanking him and that he would fall
back on Wood. Palmer later in the day was placed on the left
of Van Cleve's new position on the line of Chickamauga Creek, his
last brigade reaching its position at four o'clock on the morning
of the 19th; Wood holding his position on the creek at Lee and
Gordon's Mills, which at this point runs between steep rocky bluffs
in an eastwardly course, with the road to Chattanooga via Rossville
crossing it at right angles; Van Cleve on his left and Palmer
on the left of Van Cleve; the general course of the line being
northeasterly along the Chickamauga and Rossville road.

Chapter XII.

The Battle of Chickamauga.

Colonel Dan. McCook, of Granger's reserve corps, who had been posted
on the road leading to Reed's Bridge, on the evening of the 18th,
made a reconnoissance to Chickamauga Creek as far as Reed's Bridge,
which he burned. On the 19th, meeting Thomas, he reported that an
isolated brigade of the enemy was on the west side of the creek,
and as the bridge was destroyed a prompt movement in that direction
might succeed in capturing the entire force. Thomas ordered Brannan
to post a brigade on the road to Alexander's Bridge as support
to Baird, and with his other brigades to reconnoitre the road
to Reed's Bridge in search of this brigade of the enemy. Brannan
moved at nine o'clock A.M., and Baird, under orders from Thomas,
threw forward his right wing so as to get into line with Brannan.
Baird was also ordered to keep a sharp outlook on his right flank
and watch the movements of the enemy in that quarter. Shortly after
these movements a part of Palmer's division reported to Thomas and
was placed in position on the right of Baird. Rosecrans, when he
sent Thomas to the left--the critical point--told him that he was
to hold the road to Rossville, and if hard pressed, that he should
be re-enforced with the entire army.

Under Bragg's orders, Walker's corps on the 18th crossed the west
side of Chickamauga a little below Alexander's Bridge and then moved
up the stream opposite this point. Bushrod Johnson's command the
same day crossed at Reed's bridge, and then marched up the stream
some three miles and took position on the morning of the 19th.
Walker resumed his movement to his left up the stream, under the
impression that our centre was still at Lee and Gordon's Mills,
Bragg's plan being to mass Walker's and Johnson's commands and
attack our left flank. The advance movement of Brannan's division,
Croxton's brigade in front, about ten o'clock encountered the enemy,
being the cavalry under Forrest with Wilson's and Ector's brigades
of infantry, and drove them nearly half a mile, when it met with
obstinate resistance. This reconnoissance of Brannan in pursuit
of the brigade reported by Dan. McCook developed the relative
position of the opposing contending forces, which up to this time
was unknown to the respective commanders of each. It gave to Bragg
the knowledge that his right was greatly overlapped by Thomas on
our left, and that his flank was in danger of being turned. It
compelled him at once to halt Walker's command on its march, and to
direct it to retrace its steps and reinforce Forrest, now engaged
with Croxton, whose movement brought on the battle of Chickamauga
before Bragg had his troops in the position ordered.

Thomas then ordered Baird's division forward to Croxton's support.
Moving at once with two brigades on the front, with Starkweather's
in reserve, Baird and Croxton drove the enemy steadily for some
distance with great loss, capturing many prisoners. Croxton's
brigade having exhausted its ammunition in the severe fighting of
over an hour, was then moved to the rear, and Brannan's and Baird's
divisions with united forces drove the enemy from their immediate
front. Here the line was halted and readjusted. Baird learning
from his prisoners that the rebel army was in heavy force on his
immediate front, gathering for an attack in mass, drew back his
right wing and waited the assault of Bragg's right on his line,
which was made in heavy force by Walker, who had reached his new
position. Before Baird had completed the reforming of his line,
Walker's corps, in overwhelming numbers was upon him, assaulting
Scribner's and King's brigades, and driving them back in disorder.

McCook, early on the morning of the 19th, had taken position with
his corps at Crawfish Spring, and was now beyond the extreme left
of the rebel army, massing his troops at this point and waiting
for orders. At a little after ten o'clock in the morning he was
directed to take command of the right and the cavalry on that flank.
This included Negley's division of the Fourteenth Corps, which was
watching the fords of Chickamauga near Crawfish Spring, one brigade
of his command being then engaged with the enemy. The same order
directed McCook to send Johnson's divisions to the left to report
to Thomas, and following this came another one from Rosecrans
directing McCook to send Davis's division also to Thomas. On Baird
being driven back, General Thomas ordered Johnson's and Reynolds's
division of his own corps--both of whom had opportunely arrived by
this time--immediately to advance and drive the enemy back. Johnson
arriving first was ordered at once to advance his left, connecting
with Baird's right, Palmer was immediately placed on Johnson's
right and Reynolds still to the right of Palmer, with one brigade
of his division in reserve. As soon as the line was thus formed
the troops advanced, attacking Walker's corps on the flank with
great vigor, driving it in confusion back to its first position,
while Brannan's division, fighting them on the front, drove back
the head of the column and retook the artillery which had been
captured from Baird when he was driven back. Bragg then ordered
up Cheatham's division, which had been in reserve, reinforcing
Walker. With these two commands united, the rebels pressed forward
with loud yells, determined on the destruction of our left. As
these two commands advanced, a gap was made in their lines, into
which Bragg threw Stewart's division. As they encountered our
line, these troops moved forward. Striking Johnson first, they
drove him from his position in disorder, then Palmer was compelled
to retire, when Van Cleve coming to his support was also beaten
back. Reynolds then in turn was overpowered and the rebels seemed
to be sweeping every thing before them as at Stone's River. By
this time Davis had reported with his division, and moving at once
to the front checked the rebel advance, when Wood coming up to his
assistance, our lines were reformed, and Cheatham's, Stewart's, and
Walker's troops were driven in rapid retreat back to their original
line. Sheridan, under orders, had left Lytle's brigade to hold
Lee and Gordon's Mills on our extreme right, and moved to our left
in support of the new line near Wood's and Davis's divisions. He
reached the position opportunely and aided in driving back the
rebels, Bradley's brigade recapturing the Eighth Indiana battery
previously taken by the enemy. A large number of prisoners were
captured belonging to Longstreet's corps.

Bragg, finding that his plan of battle was discovered by his
opponent, and that the latter intended to dispute to the end for
the possession of the Rossville and Chattanooga road, ordered Polk
to cross the creek with his remaining division at the nearest ford
and to assume command in person on their right. Hill with his
corps was also ordered to move across the Chickamauga below Lee
and Gordon's Mills and to join the line on the right.

The rebels made another desperate assault at about half past two
o'clock on our right. Hood's corps, with Bushrod Johnson's division
from the enemy's centre, moved forward in heavy masses, assaulting
furiously Reynolds's and Van Cleve's divisions. Here they met with
fearful loss from the heavy infantry and artillery fire, portions
of six batteries opening with canister on their advancing columns,
but still on they came. Soon the roar of battle was heard approaching
near to the Widow Glenn's house, where Rosecrans's headquarters
were. Our right centre now was pierced and the enemy was on the La
Fayette road. Negley, from the right under McCook, was immediately
ordered up with his division, Brannan from Thomas's left joining
him. These two divisions were at once sent in to the fight. Moving
rapidly forward to the attack, with cheer on cheer, they hurled
back Hood and Johnson, steadily driving them until darkness ended
the combat, our troops re-occupying their old positions.

Thomas, wishing to reform his lines--which had become greatly extended
in driving the rebels--and concentrate them on more commanding
ground in the rear preparatory to the engagement to be renewed
on the morrow, selected a new position for Baird's and Johnson's
divisions, the former on the extreme left. These positions were
designated to them and were occupied at once. Palmer and Reynolds
were ordered into position in line on the right of Johnson, with
Brannan to the rear and right of Reynolds as reserve. While these
movements were being made, Cleburne with his fresh division of
Hill's corps, who had been ordered to the extreme right by Bragg,
under orders to attack immediately, advancing in full force,
supported by Cheatham, assaulted Johnson first and then Baird with
tremendous force. The onset was so determined that some confusion
in the line resulted, but in a few minutes our troops rallied and
the enemy was repulsed in fine style. This conflict lasted for some
time after dark with heavy losses on both sides, the heavy firing
lighting up the struggle. At this point our artillery was again
used with good effect. Wilder's brigade had occupied a position
during the day on the La Fayette road about a mile north of Lee and
Gordon's Mills, with Minty close by. The latter was now ordered
to report to Granger at Rossville, to hold in check the enemy's
cavalry operating on their right. Granger, with his reserves
protected the roads to the rear toward Rossville and covered our
left flank.

With night the fighting ceased, and the troops, worn out after the
marching of the night before--moving from the right to the extreme
left--and the heavy fighting of the day, slept on their arms, awaiting
the heavier conflict of the morrow. Though weary, the troops were
in most excellent spirits, and confident of final victory. It was
known throughout the army that we had been fighting during the day
largely superior forces. That Bragg had been heavily re-enforced
from Mississippi and East Tennessee, and by Longstreet's command
from Virginia, and that the enemy was fighting most desperately.
Bragg's great aim had been to conceal his main attack on our left
by the feint on the centre, and supposed that our centre on the
morning of the 19th was still at Lee and Gordon's Mills. Presuming
this to be the case, Bragg had massed heavily on our left, intending
to repeat his movement made on our right at Murfreesboro. His plan
contemplated the breaking of our left, sweeping it before him in
broken masses, crushing our centre, and destroying our right, and
then occupying the road to Chattanooga in force he would have the
Federal army completely in his power. The movement made by Croxton
compelled Bragg to open the battle in heavy force on the left,
before his troops had secured the positions assigned them, and then,
to his surprise, he found that during the night our left had been
greatly prolonged, and that Rosecrans was in force, occupying a
position far to the north of what he had been led to expect. During
the night Bragg ordered up by forced marches all reinforcements
arriving by railroad. Three brigades of fresh troops reached the
enemy during the night, and were placed in line early in the morning
of the 20th. These, with the troops ordered late the day before
from the east bank of the Chickamauga, gave Bragg a large number
of fresh troops, which he placed in line of battle on the 20th.
During the night Bragg summoned his generals to meet him at his
camp fire, and there gave them orders for the following day. He
divided his entire force into two commands, to which he assigned
his senior Lieutenant-Generals Longstreet and Polk. The former--who
had reported during the night--to the left, composed of six divisions
where his own troops were stationed, and the latter continuing in
his command of five divisions on the right. Bragg's plan of battle
for the 20th was for Polk to assault in force, with Breckinridge's
division on his extreme right at day-dawn, when the attack was to
be taken up rapidly in succession by the divisions to his left.
The left wing was to await the movement on the right, and when the
attack was made there to take it up promptly. When the entire line
became engaged it was to move forward vigorously and persistently
throughout its entire length, the whole army wheeling on Longstreet's
left as a pivot, but constantly pressing our left to get possession
of the road to Chattanooga.

The battle of the 19th was a series of brilliant charges and
counter-charges, in favor of first one side and then the other.
During the day our troops, at times broken and driven by the enemy,
always promptly rallied and drove the rebels in disorder to their


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