The Army of the Cumberland
Henry M. Cist

Part 4 out of 5

lines by brilliant and effective dashes, moving to the attack with
vigor and determination. In the main the results of the day were
in our favor. Bragg had been forced to fight before he was in
position, and had been foiled in his attempt to secure the roads,
which on the evening of the 19th remained even more securely in
our possession than before, fully protected on both flanks by our
cavalry. As this was the object of the severe conflict of the 19th,
that day's fighting was a success for our arms, both the Rossville
and the Dry Valley roads being firmly held by our troops that night.

But the battle was not yet over. During the night Rosecrans
assembled his corps commanders at his headquarters at the Widow
Glenn's house, and after a consultation with them on the state and
condition of their commands, gave orders for the disposition and
movements of the troops for the next day. The divisions of Thomas's
corps, with those which had re-enforced him, to hold the road to
Rossville, in the same position as then occupied by them in line
of battle, with Brannan in reserve. McCook, with Sheridan's and
Davis's divisions was to maintain his picket line until it was
attacked and driven back. His left division--Davis's--was to close
on Thomas, and to have his right refused covering the position at
Widow Glenn's house. Crittenden was to hold two divisions, Wood's
and Van Cleve's, in reserve near where the line of McCook and Thomas
joined to reinforce the front line as needed.

During the night Thomas received word from Baird on the extreme
left, that the left of his division did not reach the road to Reed's
Ridge, as had been anticipated. Thomas immediately requested that
Negley's division be ordered to report to him to take position on
Baird's left and rear, securing this flank from assault. At daylight
Rosecrans, riding the line, ordered Negley to join Thomas at once,
and directed McCook to relieve Negley, who was on the front line.
He also ordered McCook to adjust his right, as it was too far out
on the crest, and to move Davis's division to the left, and close
it up compactly. Crittenden was also directed to move his two
divisions to the left and Palmer, on Thomas's line, was instructed
to close up his front. On reaching the left Rosecrans was convinced
that the first attack would be made on that flank, and returned at
once to the right to hurry Negley over to Thomas. Arriving there
he found that this division had not moved, and that McCook's troops
were not ready to relieve him. Negley was then ordered to send
his reserve brigade under John Beatty, and to follow with the other
two when relieved from the front. Impatient at McCook's delay in
relieving Negley, and anticipating momentarily the attack of the
enemy on our left, Rosecrans ordered Crittenden to move Wood's
division to the front, to fill the position occupied by Negley of
which McCook was notified by Rosecrans in person. Rosecrans, when
first at McCook's line, was greatly dissatisfied with McCook's
position. He now called McCook's attention to the defects in his
line, that it was too light, and that it was weakened by being
too much strung out, and charged him to keep well closed up on the
left at all hazards. Leaving McCook, Rosecrans then returned to
Negley, and found to his surprise that the brigades in front had
not yet been relieved and started to Thomas after his repeated
orders, as Wood's division had only reached the position of Negley's
reserve. Greatly irritated at this, Rosecrans gave preemptory
orders and Wood's division was at once placed in front, closed up
on the right of Brannan.

A heavy fog hung over the battlefield during the early morning.
Bragg, before daylight with his staff, took position immediately
in the rear of the centre of his line, and waited for Polk to begin
the attack, waiting until after sunrise with increasing anxiety and
disappointment. Bragg then sent a staff officer to Polk to ascertain
and report as to the cause of the delay, with orders urging him to
a prompt and speedy attack. Polk was not found with his troops,
and the staff officer learning that he had spent the night on the
east side of Chickamauga Creek, rode over there and delivered his
message. Bragg, impatient at the delay, proceeded in person to
his right wing and there found the troops wholly unprepared for
the movement. Messengers were sent for Polk in hot haste, and on
his reporting he was urged to a prompt execution of his orders and
to make a vigorous attack at once.

During the night our troops threw up temporary breastworks of logs
and rails. Behind these Thomas's command awaited the attack. After
Bragg had sent for Polk, he ordered a reconnoissance in his front
on the extreme left of our line, and crossing the main road to
Chattanooga developed the fact that this position so greatly desired
by him was thus feebly held. At half past eight o'clock the rebel
attack opened on our left with skirmish firing. Pushing forward
with a heavy line of skirmishers to develop Baird's position, with
Breckenridge's division on the right and Cleburne to his left, the
rebels made, about an hour late, a tremendous assault. Beatty's
brigade of Negley's division being now in line on Baird's left,
received the full force of the blow from the brigades of Adams and
Stovall on the right of Breckinridge's division, and was driven back
in disorder. Helm's brigade and Cleburne's division, advancing on
the front of Baird, encountered the troops behind their breastworks
but were here met with a terrific fire of canister and musketry,
and their advance checked so thoroughly that it was not regarded
as safe to send the two brigades now overlapping Baird to attack
his rear. These brigades, however, had reached and crossed the
La Fayette road. Beatty in falling back was relieved by several
regiments of Johnson's division, which were placed in position by
Baird. These regiments were joined by Van Derveer's brigade of
Brannan's division and a portion of Stanley's brigade of Negley's
division, which had been hurried to the left and thrown into action.
These forces advancing checked the assault of the enemy and then
drove him entirely from Baird's left and rear. Immediately following
the attack on Baird, the enemy's assault, being taken up by the
divisions on Breckinridge's left, pressed on and struck Johnson, then
Palmer and Reynolds successively with equal fierceness, maintaining
the attack for two hours, the enemy in repeated assaults bringing
fresh troops constantly to the front was each time met and hurled
back by the splendid fighting of our troops. Here Bragg exhausted
his utmost energies to drive in the centre and to dislodge Thomas's
right, and failing in this after repeated attacks fell back and
occupied his old position.

McCook, early in the morning, on going to the front found that Wood's
division, not having the battle-front of Negley's, did not occupy
the entire of the rude barricade thrown up by Negley's troops, and
that portion of it on Wood's right was not occupied by any of our
forces. Wood, on meeting McCook, explained to him that his left
was well protected, resting on Brannan's right, and that his orders
were to keep well closed up on Brannan. On the right of this gap
to the right of Wood, McCook had posted Wilder with his brigade,
who had been ordered to report to McCook and receive orders from
him. McCook then directed Sheridan to bring forward one of his
brigades and occupy with it the space between Wood's right and
Wilder. As McCook started to leave this portion of the line, he
met Davis's division marching toward this vacant space. Davis was
directed at once to post one of his brigades in this part of the
line, holding the other in reserve. When the brigade Sheridan
sent arrived, McCook placed it in column as support to Davis on his
right and rear. At this time Thomas again reporting that he needed
reinforcements and the right as yet not being actively engaged,
Rosecrans concluded that Bragg's efforts were still looking to the
possession of the roads on our left, and that he was massing his
troops on his right, thus prolonging his line on that flank. He
then, at 10.10 A.M., ordered McCook to withdraw as far as possible
the force on the right and reinforce Thomas, stating that "the left
must be held at all hazards, even if the right is withdrawn wholly
back to the present left." Five minutes after the receipt of this
order McCook received one dated 10.30 A.M., directing him to send
two brigades of Sheridan's division at once with all possible
dispatch to support Thomas and to send the third brigade as soon
as it could safely be withdrawn. McCook immediately sent Lytle's
and Walworth's brigades of Sheridan's division on the double quick
to the support of Thomas.

The battle increasing in fury and volume was gradually approaching
the centre from the left, but Thomas still sustaining the brunt of
the fight was compelled to send again and again for reinforcements.
Beatty's and Stanley's brigades of Negley's division had been sent
from the right. Van Derveer with his brigade of Brannan's division
also reported. Barnes's brigade of Van Cleve's division had also
been ordered to Thomas, and now the two of Sheridan's divisions
were under orders to proceed to the left. About this time
Lieutenant-Colonel Von Schrader of Thomas's staff, who had been
riding the lines, reported to Thomas that there were no troops on
Reynolds's right, and a long gap existed between Reynolds and Wood;
not aware that Brannan's division although not in front line was
still in position, retired in the woods a short distance back, but
not out of line. This information was at once sent by Thomas to
Rosecrans, who immediately directed Wood to close up the line on
Reynolds and support him, and sent word to Thomas that he would be
supported if it required all of McCook's and Crittenden's corps to
do so.

On receipt of this order--impossible for him to execute literally--Wood
undertook to carry it out by withdrawing his entire command from
the front, leaving a gap of two brigades in the line of battle,
moving to the rear past Brannan's division, to where Reynolds was
posted in line. Into the gap thus made by Wood, Davis attempted
to throw sufficient force to hold that portion of the line thus
vacated, by posting his reserve brigade.

Just at this time the order of battle on the enemy's lines had
reached Longstreet's command, who, seeing this gap, ordered his
troops, formed in heavy columns, to advance. Into this gap there
poured Stewart's, Hood's, Kershaw's, Johnson's, and Hindman's
divisions, dashing impetuously forward, with Preston's large division
as supports. Our right, disabled as it was, was speedily turned,
the line of battle on the enemy's front extending nearly from
Brannan's centre to a point far to the right of the Widow Glenn's
house, and from the front of that portion of the line Sheridan's
brigades had just been taken. McCook, to resist this fierce
assault, had only Carlin's and Heg's brigades of Davis's division
and Laibold's brigade of Sheridan's division. On finding the rebel
troops pressing through the space vacated by Wood, McCook ordered
Lytle and Walworth to change front and return to assist in repelling
the enemy. Wilder and Harrison closed in on Sheridan with their
commands as speedily as possible, and aided in resisting the enemy's
attack. Davis, being overpowered by the immense numbers of the
rebels, was compelled to retire to save his command. Laibold was
in turn driven back in confusion, and the tide of battle then struck
Lytle and Walworth, who contended nobly against the overpowering
columns, and for a time checked the advance of the enemy on their
immediate front. The rebel troops swarming in, turned the left
of these brigades, and they were compelled to withdraw to escape
being surrounded. At this point the gallant Lytle was killed. Here
our army lost several thousand prisoners, forty guns, and a large
number of wagon-trains.

Once more the right of the army was broken all to pieces, and five
brigades of that wing cut off entirely from the rest of the command.
In the meantime Bragg, determined to turn Thomas's left, and cut
him off from Chattanooga, was making his preparations for a second
assault on his right in heavier force. Bragg directed this movement
in person. Extending his right by moving Breckinridge's division
beyond its former position, he ordered Walker's corps in line on
Breckinridge's left, and connected to Cleburne's right on the left
of Walker. Bragg's plan was for Breckenridge to advance, wheeling
to the left, and thus envelop Thomas's exposed left flank, striking
it in the rear. Breckinridge, advancing, was soon in position on
the Chattanooga road, partly in rear of Thomas. But he was now
detached from the main body of the rebel troops engaged in the
movement, and, making a bold assault on the rear, he was here met
by the three reserve brigades under Van Deveer, Willich, and Grose,
and hurled in rout back on his original line. On reaching it he
there found the other troops that had taken part in this charge, and
that they had been repulsed at every point by Baird's, Johnson's,
and Palmer's divisions.

Beatty, just prior to the repulse of the enemy on the left by Thomas,
applied in person to the latter for at least a brigade to support
him in the attack of the rebels he was then expecting. Thomas sent
an aid to hurry Sheridan up. This officer returned soon afterward,
and reported that he had encountered a heavy force of the enemy in
the rear of Reynolds's position, which was advancing slowly, with
a strong line of skirmishers thrown out; that he had met Harker, who,
with his brigade posted on a ridge a short distance to Reynolds's
rear, was watching this force approaching, and was of the opinion
that these troops were Sheridan's coming to Thomas's assistance.
Thomas then rode forward to determine the character of the advancing
troops, which he soon did, and ordered Harker to open fire upon them,
resisting their farther advance. Thomas then selected the crest
of the commanding ridge, known as "Horseshoe Ridge," on which to
place Brannan's division in line, which--on Longstreet's sweeping
McCook's lines from the right--had been struck in the flank on the
line of battle. On the spurs to the rear he posted his artillery.
On Thomas leaving Harker, the latter opening fire with skirmishers,
then posted his right to connect with Brannan's division and
portions of Beatty's and Stanley's brigades of Negley's division,
which had been ordered over to his point from the extreme left.
Thomas then went to the crest of the hill on the front, where he
met Wood with his division, who confirmed him in the opinion that
the troops advancing were those of the enemy. Thomas was not
aware at that time of the extent of the disaster to the right. He
ordered Wood to place his division in line with Brannan's, and to
resist as long as possible the advance of the enemy. On receipt
of this order Wood immediately threw his troops on the left of
Brannan, and had barely time to form his lines when the enemy was
upon them in a heavy, fierce assault like those early in the day.
This, however, was handsomely repulsed, the enemy charging again
and again with fresh troops, but their efforts were successfully
resisted. These were Bushrod Johnson's men, with Patton Anderson's
brigade on his right, which had been formed on the brow of the
secondary spur of the ridge, and at about two o'clock moved forward,
making a most determined assault on our forces. Part of his line
reached the crest held by Wood, but was hurled back to its original
position under as determined a counter-charge.

Away off at Rossville Gordon Granger with three brigades of reserve
corps was stationed. He had heard during the morning heavy firing
from the front, in the direction of Thomas, and as the firing
increased in volume and intensity on the right, he judged that the
enemy were pressing him hard. He then determined, although contrary
to his orders, to gather what troops he could and go to Thomas's
assistance. Ordering Whittaker's and Mitchell's brigades under
the immediate command of Steedman to move to his front, he placed
Dan McCook's brigade at the McAfee church, to cover the Ringgold
road. Thomas was at this time heavily engaged on "Horseshoe
Ridge," between the La Fayette and the Dry Valley roads, about three
miles and a half from Granger's headquarters. Pushing forward his
troops rapidly, Granger moved past a detachment of the enemy some
two miles out, and ordered Dan McCook forward to watch the movements
of the rebels, to keep open the La Fayette road, and to cover the
open fields on the right of the road intervening between this point
and Thomas's position. McCook brought up his brigade as rapidly
as possible, took and held his position until late that night.
Granger moving to the front arrived with his command about three
o'clock, and reported at once to Thomas, who was then with this part
of his command on "Horseshoe Ridge," where the enemy was pressing
him hard on front and endeavoring to turn both of his flanks. To
the right of this position was a ridge running east and west nearly
at right angles with it. On this Bushrod Johnson had reformed his
command, so severely repulsed by Wood. Longstreet now strengthened
it with Hindman's division and that of Kershaw, all under the
command of Hindman, who formed it in heavy columns for an attack
on the right flank and rear of Thomas's troops. Kershaw's division
had possession of a gorge in this ridge through which his division
was moving in heavy masses, with the design of making an attack in
the rear. This was the most critical hour of this eventful day.
Granger promptly ordered Whittaker and Mitchell to hurl themselves
against this threatening force. Steedman gallantly seizing the
colors of a regiment, led his command to the charge. Rushing upon
the enemy with loud cheers, after a terrific conflict, only of some
twenty minutes' duration, with a hot infantry and artillery fire,
Steedman drove them from their position and occupied both the
ridge and gorge. Here the slaughter was frightful. The victory
was won at a fearful cost, but the army was saved. After Hindman
was driven back, Longstreet about four o'clock, determined to
re-take the ridge. Asking Bragg for reinforcements from the right,
he was informed by him "that they had been beaten back so badly
that they could be of no service to me." Longstreet then ordered
up his reserve division of fresh troops under Preston, four brigades
strong, supported by Stewart's corps, and directed him to attack
the troops on the ridge. Advancing with wild yells, confident of
success, Preston dashed boldly up the hill, supported by Kershaw's
troops with Johnson's--part of Hindman's--and later on by those of
Stewart's. But once more the enemy was driven back with frightful
slaughter, and thus was charge and counter-charge at this part of
the field, lasting for nearly two hours, the day wore away until
darkness settled down, night finding Thomas's command--the troops
under Brannan, Wood, and Granger--still holding the ridge. Some
unauthorized person had ordered Thomas's ammunition train back
to Chattanooga, and the supply with the troops on the field was
running very low. The ammunition that ranger brought up with him
was divided with the troops on that part of the field where his
command fought--Brannan's and Wood's divisions--but this supply
was soon exhausted. The troops then gathered what could be found
in the cartridge-boxes of the slain, friend and foe being alike
examined. With the fresh charges of the enemy, the troops were
ordered to use their bayonets and give the rebels cold steel, and
in the final charges the enemy was met and repulsed in this way.

In the breaking up of our right, two brigades of Davis's division,
one of Van Cleve's, and the entire of Sheridan's division was caught
in the whirl and sent adrift from the main command, the enemy in
heavy columns completely controlling all access to Thomas and the
remaining divisions with him, except by way of the Dry Valley road
across the ridge and on to Rossville, thence back on the La Fayette
road to Thomas's left. The troops of Sheridan's and Davis's divisions
were rallied a short distance in the rear of the line, and taking
the Dry Valley road, endeavored to unite with Thomas's command.
They were placed in position on the Rossville road leading to
the battlefield. [Note from Bob: In fact, Sheridan continued to
withdraw his division away from the battlefield.]

Rosecrans was watching on the rear of Davis's right for McCook to
close up his line to the left when Longstreet's men poured through
the gap left by Wood's withdrawal. Seeing that some disaster had
occurred, Rosecrans hurried in person to the extreme right, to
direct Sheridan's movements on the flank of the advancing rebels.
But it was simply impossible to stem the tide and our men were
driven back as the enemy advanced. Leaving orders for the troops
to be rallied behind the ridges west of the Dry Valley road,
Rosecrans endeavored with Garfield, his chief of staff, and a few
others of his staff, to rejoin Thomas by passing to the rear of
the broken portions of the right. Riding down in this direction,
some two or three hundred yards under a heavy fire, he found the
troops that had been driven from the right far over toward the left,
and from all indications it appeared doubtful if the left had been
able to maintain its position. He then concluded to go to Rossville
and there determine whether to join Thomas on the battlefield
or whether his duty called him to Chattanooga, to prepare for his
broken army if his worst fears should be realized. On reaching
Rossville it was determined that Garfield should go to the front
to Thomas and report, and that Rosecrans should go to Chattanooga
and make the necessary dispositions for the troops as they came
back in rout.

Rosecrans on arriving at Chattanooga at once sent out orders
to Thomas to assume command of all the troops at the front, and
with Crittenden and McCook to take a strong position and assume
a threatening attitude at Rossville, where ammunition and rations
would be sent to meet him. Thomas determined to hold his position
until nightfall, if possible, before withdrawing. He then distributed
ammunition to the commands and ordered the division commanders
to hold themselves in readiness to fall back as soon as ordered.
Reynolds at half-past five was notified to commence the movement.
Leaving the position he had held near Wood, Thomas started to meet
Reynolds and show him the position he wanted him to occupy, forming
the line covering the retirement of the troops on the La Fayette road
on the left. Just before meeting Reynolds, Thomas was informed of
a large rebel force in the woods ahead of him, drawn up in line and
advancing toward him. This was Liddell's division on the extreme
rebel right, under orders from Bragg, moving to a third attack on
Thomas's left. Reynolds arriving at this time, Thomas ordered him
to at once change the head of the column to the left, form lines
perpendicular to the road and to charge the enemy then in his
immediate front, while the artillery opened a converging fire from
the right and left. Turchin charged with his brigade upon the
rebel force and drove them in complete rout far beyond Baird's left.
Robinson's command--King's brigade--closely supporting Turchin, was
posted on the road leading through the ridge to hold the ground,
while the troops on our right and left retired.

Shortly after this Willich with his brigade was placed in position
on commanding ground to the right of the ridge road, and assisted in
covering the withdrawal of our troops. Turchin's brigade, having
cleared the front, returned and took position on this road with
Robinson and Willich.

Thomas having made this disposition of the troops, ordered Wood,
Brannan, and Granger, to fall back from their positions. These
troops were not molested, but Baird and Johnson as they were retiring
were attacked. By the exercise of care and foresight they retired
without confusion and with but slight loss. This attack was led
by L. E. Polk's brigade, but the rebel lines had become so changed
that they formed an acute angle and their troops were firing into
each other in the dark. So quietly was the army withdrawn that it
was not until after sunrise on the 21st that Bragg discovered that
Thomas had retired. Having effected the withdrawal of his troops,
General Thomas, accompanied by Granger and Garfield, proceeded to
Rossville and placed the command in position at that place, ordering
one brigade of Negley's division to hold the gap on the Ringgold
road with the other two brigades posted on the top of the ridge to
the right, joining on the brigades in the road, with Dan McCook's
brigade in reserve. On the right of Negley Reynold's division took
position, reaching to the Dry Valley road, with Brannan's division
as a reserve in rear of Reynolds's right. On the right of the Dry
Valley road, extending to the west, McCook's corps was placed, his
right extending to Chattanooga Creek. Upon the high ground to
the left of the Ringgold road the entire of Crittenden's corps was
placed. As a reserve Steedman's division of Granger's corps was
posted on his left, while Baird's division was also in reserve and
in support of the brigade of Negley's division holding the gap.
Thrown out on the Ringgold road, a mile and a half in advance of
the gap, Minty's brigade of cavalry held the road at that point
during the night. Here the weary troops rested undisturbed the
night after the heavy fighting and nothing was seen of the enemy
until about nine o'clock of the 21st, when their advance appeared
in heavy force of infantry and cavalry on Minty's front. Thomas,
withdrawing Minty through the gap, posted his command on our left
flank and directed him to throw out strong reconnoitering parties
across the ridge, watching the enemy's movements on our left and
front. There was no object in attempting to hold the position
at Rossville Gap, beyond the gaining of a day to select the final
position for the troops at Chattanooga on their retirement to that
place, the location of the lines, and the preparation for throwing up
earthworks. This was all accomplished on the 21st and preparations
made to fall back. All wagons, ambulances, and surplus
artillery-carriages were sent to the rear before night and the
troops were held in readiness to move at a moment's notice. The
orders to withdraw reached Thomas about six o'clock P.M., and the
movement commenced about nine P.M.

Brannan's division was posted at six P.M. on the road about half
way from Rossville to Chattanooga, covering the movement. Orders
were sent by Thomas for each division commander to throw out a
strong skirmish line, to be withdrawn at daylight, concealing the
movement to the rear. This line was to be supported by Baird's
division and Minty's brigade of cavalry, which was to retire after
the skirmishers were withdrawn. During the night the movement was
completed without the loss of a single man, and at seven o'clock on
the morning of the 22d, the Army of the Cumberland, again united,
was in position, holding the coveted prize, still strong enough to
prevent the enemy from attempting further to dispute our possession
of the town. The temporary works were strengthened from day to
day until all apprehension of an attack from the enemy on the front
was at an end.

Taking all the surroundings into consideration, the campaign from
the western slopes of the Cumberland Mountains, ending in the battle
of Chickamauga, was the most brilliant one of the war, made as it
was, in the face of the strong column of the enemy, whose business
it was to watch every movement, and as far as possible to retard
and cripple the advance. Rosecrans, with his masterly manúvering,
in every instance deceived his opponent down to the withdrawal
of Bragg from Chattanooga. While recognizing the genius of the
military leader who could plan the campaign that was made from the
time of the crossing of the Cumberland Mountains, Bragg regarded
the obstacles to be overcome on such a campaign so stupendous that
he was incredulous that any movement south of the Tennessee was
contemplated by the Federal leader. Every preparation was made by
Bragg to meet the crossing of our army over the Tennessee north of
Chattanooga on the advance of Crittenden, he threw open the gateway
for Rosecrans's advance. When the full scope of the movement
dawned upon him, Bragg abandoned Chattanooga and gathered his troops
wherever he could reach them from all quarters to concentrate for
the destruction of our army. Bragg never intended his withdrawal
from Chattanooga to be permanent; all the indications he left behind
him pointed that way. None of the bridges were destroyed as he
retired. All storehouses, hospitals, and other buildings used by
his army were left standing, and Rosecrans's mistake was in construing
Bragg's withdrawal to be a demoralized retreat and in ordering his
army to pursue before this was definitely determined. However,
all advices that Rosecrans had were to the effect that the rebels
were in hasty flight and would not stop anywhere north of Dalton,
and that their probable destination was Rome. This information
was sent to him from Washington, and Bragg aided in confirming this
belief by sending numbers of his soldiers as "deserters" into the
Federal lines with the same report.

As late as the 11th, Halleck telegraphed Rosecrans that after he
occupied "the mountain passes to the west of Dalton" it would be
determined what his future movements would be; and on the 13th,
Halleck telegraphed Rosecrans that if Bragg should go to Alabama
he must not be allowed to re-enter Middle Tennessee. On the 13th,
Foster, at Fortress Monroe, telegraphed Halleck that trains of cars
had been running day and night southward for the past thirty-six
hours. On the following day Foster sent Halleck another despatch,
that Longstreet's corps was reported going south, which Meade on the
same day confirmed. Then Halleck sent urgent messages to Hurlbut
and Burnside to move to Rosecrans's support. But it was too late.
These commands were many days' marches away, and at that moment
the Army of the Cumberland was engaged in the earlier movements of
the life and death struggle it was peremptorily ordered by Halleck
to encounter alone with its old enemy, under Bragg, heavily
re-enforced, while large numbers of Federal troops which might have
been within helping distance, had orders been given in due season,
as asked for by Rosecrans, remained inactive.

It was not until McCook had received and partly executed his orders
to occupy Alpine that the actual facts as to Bragg's movements
were developed, and that he was concentrated at La Fayette, there
waiting for reinforcements, but strong enough without them to
crush the Army of the Cumberland in detail. Rosecrans, when aware
of Bragg's movements, grasped the situation at once. Bending
every energy to the concentration of his army before Bragg should
strike, on the 12th he issued orders for McCook's immediate return,
and despatched the same in all haste by courier. Hearing nothing
definite from McCook, on the next day Rosecrans repeated his orders
and duplicated them in the afternoon of that day. Still learning
nothing positive as to McCook's movements, on the 14th repeated
orders were sent to him urging him to consummate his rearward movement
with all possible haste. After a sleepless night, Rosecrans on
the 15th left Chattanooga for the front, to hasten, if possible,
McCook's movements. After another sleepless night, information
was had from McCook as to the position of his command, and on the
17th the concentration of the army was effected in McLemore's Cove,
five days after McCook's first orders were dated.

The delay attending McCook's movements was almost fatal to the Army
of the Cumberland. Had Bragg received his promised reinforcements
at the date he expected them, our army would in all probability
have been completely annihilated in detail. McCook claims that his
delay was only incident to the route he was compelled to take to
join Thomas. This took him back over Lookout Mountain, to Valley
Head, then down that valley, crossing the mountain again at Cooper's
Gap, and then up and down Missionary Ridge into McLemore's Cove, a
long, difficult road, nearly all of it over rough mountains. This
route, McCook from the information received, regarded as the better
one to take, as between it and the one on which he was ordered to
move, which was a road on the mountain into the head of McLemore's
Cove, through Dougherty's Gap.

The battle for Chattanooga would never have been fought at Chickamauga
had not the safety of McCook's corps demanded it. Could the Army
of the Cumberland have been withdrawn in safety to Chattanooga and
there concentrated behind earthworks, as it was later, while Bragg
doubtless would have made his attack there, yet the surroundings
would have been far more favorable for our army, especially as the
troops afterward sent might have reached Rosecrans in time to have
defeated Bragg, as he was later at the battle of Missionary Ridge.
But the reinforcements that were hurried from all points AFTER
the disaster, by the officials at Washington were not to benefit

While the battle of the 19th was severe at times, and some slight
advantages were gained by the enemy, still nothing had been
accomplished to mark that day's fighting as a great, distinctive
battle. The delay on the part of Negley in reporting as ordered,
to Thomas on the left, placed that position in extreme peril, had
Polk made his attack as ordered at day-dawn on the 20th. Fortunately,
Polk slept outside of his lines that night--not as he was accustomed
to--and was not awakened as early as he would have been had he
remained in camp. For this reason the attack, was not made until
after Beatty's brigade had reached Baird's left. While this was
too weak to successfully resist the attack, still with this command
rallied after it was driven back and aided by the troops sent to
its support, Thomas was able to repulse Breckinridge's first charge
of the morning. The delay from six o'clock until after nine was
of great service to the Army of the Cumberland. Negley's delay in
reporting at an early hour with his entire division was owing to
Wood's failure to relieve him. Sheridan had at an earlier hour been
ordered to Negley's position on his front, but Thomas representing
the urgency of the movement, Crittenden was ordered to send Wood,
who was only a short distance from Negley. Wood, on receiving his
orders to relieve Negley, simply moved forward and occupied the
position that had been vacated by Negley's reserve brigade, already
started for Thomas's left. On Rosecrans's return from the extreme
right, he found that Negley had not yet reported to Thomas,
although more than an hour had elapsed since he was so ordered and
then discovered that Wood had failed to relieve him on the front.
Repeating his orders in such plain English that there could be no
further misapprehension of them, Rosecrans moved Wood's division
into position, relieved Negley at once, and started him in all haste
to Thomas. Negley did not reach the left until after ten o'clock.
Rosecrans, impatient at the delay that occurred in the execution
of his order, expressed himself very forcibly to Wood, much to the
dissatisfaction of the latter. After seeing Negley was at last en
route to Thomas, Rosecrans then went to the right and was watching
the movements of the troops when the word reached him of the supposed
gap to the right of Reynolds, on the left of Wood. Rosecrans's
plan of battle being to keep his line well closed up on the left,
he directed an aid to send Wood an order to close up on Reynolds,
which he did as follows.

Headquarters of the Army of the Cumberland.

Brigadier-General Wood, Commanding Division:

The General Commanding directs that you close up on Reynolds as
fast as possible, and support him,

Respectfully, etc.,

Major and Aid-de-Camp.

This order was written by an officer who had no military experience
prior to the war, and, as the order shows on its face, embraced much
more than the General Commanding intended it should. The orderly
who carried this order to Wood reported on his return that "General
Wood on receipt of the order remarked that he 'was glad the order
was in writing, as it was a good thing to have for future reference.'
That he carefully took out his note-book, safely deposited the order
in it, and then proceeded to execute it." Wood's official report
contains the order written out in full. He says that it was eleven
o'clock when it reached him. "General McCook was with me when
I received it. I informed him that I would immediately carry it
into execution, and suggested to him that he should close up his
command rapidly on my right, to prevent the occurrence of a gap in
the line. He said he would do so, and immediately rode away."

McCook says, in reference to the movement of Sheridan to the aid of
Thomas, which he had just ordered, "Simultaneously with this movement,
and much to my surprise, Wood's division left the position it had
in line of battle on Davis's left, marching by the left flank,
leaving a wide gap in the line." Wood also says in his official
report that when he started to execute the order he met Thomas,
and told him of his order. He says, "I exhibited my order to him,
and asked him whether he would take the responsibility of changing
it. He replied he would, and I then informed him that I would move
my command to the support of General Baird." The first mention
Thomas makes in his official report of seeing Wood is when in riding
"toward the crest of the hill," coming from the left, he met Wood
on the way, and directed him to take position on Brannan's right.
Later, he says, "About the time that Wood took up his position,
General Gordon Granger appeared," etc. This was over three hours
after what General Wood styles "the disastrous event of the right"
occurred. It seems strange, if Wood was properly executing an order
from the Commanding General, that he should try so hard to shield
his action by the authority of these two corps commanders, especially
when he was under the direct command of neither of them.

General Wood was a graduate of West Point, had been in the army all
his life, and knew the full meaning of all technical terms used to
describe military movements. The order bore on its face a direction
to him to make a movement with his front in line of battle, and
at the same time to occupy a position in the rear of the division,
on which he was ordered to join his left in line on the immediate
battle-front. He knew he could not execute the order literally as
given, and from the wording of it must have known that there was
some mistake about it. Instead of sending a short distance to
the rear, or going himself to Rosecrans and finding out just what
was meant by the order, he chose to give it a meaning that it was
never intended to convey, and moved to the rear from the front of
battle, when he knew, as he says in his report, "although I had not
been seriously engaged at any time during the morning, I was well
satisfied the enemy was in considerable force in my immediate front."
Wood says in his official report, "Reynolds's division was posted
on the left of Brannan's division, which in turn was on the left
of the position I was just quitting; I had consequently to pass
my command in the rear of Brannan's division to close up on and go
into the support of Reynolds." If "Reynolds's, division was posted
on the left of Brannan's division," then there was no gap, and no
place for Wood to place his division as ordered, and he knew it. He
could support Reynolds, but to do this he was compelled to disobey
the first part of his order, which IN ITS SPIRIT AND INTENT WAS TO
KEEP HIM ON THE LINE OF BATTLE, simply moving his division to the
left. This space by his own official report he shows was occupied
by Brannan's division, and with this knowledge he undertook to
execute an order that directed him to make an impossible movement
rather than ask an explanation of it from his commanding officer.
No wonder he wanted to keep his order safe where he could produce
it if occasion required. Wood, irritated at the reprimand of
Rosecrans earlier in the day, intent on maintaining his dignity,
chose rather to undertake to carry out an order in the execution
of which he felt safe, so long as he had it in writing and where
he could produce it if occasion demanded it, than to suspend its
execution long enough to ride a short distance to the rear, and find
out just what the order meant; AND TO THIS EXTENT HE IS RESPONSIBLE
for the great disaster which swept the right wing of the Army of
the Cumberland from the field of battle on the 20th. That Wood
must have known that there was a mistake in regard to the order is
plain, from the fact that he himself says that his troops had not
been seriously engaged that morning. It was hardly possible that
Reynolds's division, which was only a division front from his, could
be so hardly pressed as to need supports, and that his division
should "not be seriously engaged." In fact, when Wood undertook
to carry out this order, he says he met Thomas and was told by him
that Reynolds did not need supports, and that he, Wood, "had better
move to the support of General Baird, posted on the extreme left,
who needed assistance," showing that the conflict had as yet not
reached down the line to Reynolds. The spirit in which General
Wood fought the battle of Chickamauga is shown by the following
extract from his official report, where, in speaking of Garfield's
arrival on the battlefield later in the afternoon of the 20th, he
says, "After the disastrous event of the right, General Garfield
made his way back to the battlefield, showing thereby that the road
was open to all who might choose to follow it where duty called."
After Wood reported to Thomas there was no more splendid fighting
done on that field of terrific conflict on the 20th than was done
by Thomas J. Wood and his division. To the last he aided Thomas
in holding Horseshoe Ridge, and was one of the last divisions to

In the tide that swept down the Dry Valley road, Rosecrans was caught
with the members of his staff. He breasted this for a while, and
endeavored to join his left and centre under Thomas by a direct
route. After riding along a short distance, under the heavy fire
of the rebels with both artillery and musketry, he discovered that
the road was effectually closed by the enemy in strong force. He
then started over the ridge to the Dry Valley road, and made his
way as rapidly as possible through the swarming masses of broken
troops from the right of the battlefield to Rossville, with the
intention of joining Thomas from that place down the La Fayette
road if the left and centre were not also in rout, and on the road
to Chattanooga. On reaching Rossville, Rosecrans and Garfield
halted in the midst of the driving masses of teamsters, stragglers,
and fugitives from Thomas's command, all striving in hot haste to
be among the first to reach Chattanooga. Making inquiry of these
men as to the condition of affairs at the front, they were informed
"that the entire army was defeated, and in retreat to Chattanooga."
"That Rosecrans and Thomas were both killed, and that McCook and
Crittenden were prisoners." Asking a small detachment of troops
the command they belonged to, Rosecrans was informed Negley's
division. He then asked as to the whereabouts of Negley. He was
informed that he was a short distance from Rossville, though some
distance from the battlefield, "rallying stragglers," and that the
entire division "was knocked all to pieces." Knowing that one of
the last orders he had given on the battlefield was for Negley's
division to report to Thomas to take position on his extreme left,
Rosecrans was satisfied that if these soldiers reported truly the
left and centre were routed and that the whole army as a broken
mass would be back in Chattanooga very shortly. At this time there
was a lull in the firing at the front. Dismounting from their
horses, Rosecrans and Garfield placing their ears to the ground,
endeavored to determine from the sound as it reached them the truth
of the reported rout. Hearing no artillery firing, and detecting
only what appeared to be a scattering fire of musketry, the conclusion
was forced on Rosecrans that his army was entirely broken. His
information prior to the battle led him to believe that the rebels
outnumbered him two to one, and if this proved true, the disaster
in part could be accounted for. Conferring with Garfield as to
what was the best thing to be done under the circumstances, Garfield
told him that if these reports were true that then his, Rosecrans's,
place was in Chattanooga, where he could receive and reorganize,
if possible, his army on its reaching that place. That he, of all
persons, had more influence with the army, and if it was broken
that his duty was to go to that place and make such disposition of
the troops as might possibly save the army from complete destruction.
That he, Garfield, would ride to the front, try and find Thomas,
if alive, and would report immediately to Rosecrans at Chattanooga
as to the condition of affairs at the front. Unfortunately, this
plan was carried out. The reverse of this should have been done.
Rosecrans should at once have gone to the front, and by his
presence there aided, as he did at Stone's River, more than any
other thing to retrieve the fortunes of the day, and pluck victory
from disaster. Had Rosecrans gone to the front, and discovered
from a personal observation the true condition of affairs, and
the spirit and morale of the troops there, the chances are that he
never would have ordered their retirement to Rossville the night
of the 20th. That was the turning-point, and his hour had arrived.

On reaching Chattanooga, General Rosecrans rode up to Department
Headquarters there, and was helped from his horse into the house.
He had the appearance of one broken in spirit, and as if he were
bearing up as best he could under terrible blow, the full force and
effect of which he himself did not at that time clearly perceive
and only partly felt. This was about four o'clock in the afternoon.
He had been in the saddle all day from before daylight, with nothing
to eat since then. Rarely has mortal man been called on to undergo
the terrible mental strain that had been on him during the week
just past, of which for two nights in succession his anxiety for
McCook was so great as to prevent his sleeping. During the past
week the peril of his army had weighed on him to the extent that
his nervous system was stretched to its utmost tension. When he
saw the rout of his right, supposing that it extended to his entire
army, the blow was so strong that it staggered him. A short time
after Rosecrans arrived, McCook and Crittenden, also caught in the
drift from the right, reached headquarters. While seated in the
adjutant-general's office comparing notes with each other as to
the events of the day, Rosecrans received a despatch from Garfield,
who had reached the front. Hastily reading it over he exclaimed,
"Thank God!" and read the despatch aloud. In it Garfield announced
his safe arrival at the front, that he was then with Thomas, who had
seven divisions intact with a number of detachments, that Thomas
had just repulsed a heavy assault of the rebels, and felt confident
that he could successfully resist all attacks against his position.
Waving this over his head Rosecrans said, "This is good enough,
the day isn't lost yet." Turning to McCook and Crittenden he said,
"Gentlemen, this is no place for you. Go at once to your commands
at the front." He then directed Wagner, in command of the post,
to take his entire brigade, stop the stragglers and all others
from the front on the edge of the town, and ordered rations and
ammunition for his troops to be at once sent out to meet them at

During the heavy fighting of the 20th, Thomas was the only general
officer on the field of rank above a division commander. Learning
some time later in the day of the disaster on our right, he gathered
his troops together from all parts of the field to the position
selected by himself after the break on the right. Here in a more
marked degree even then Stone's River, he displayed his great staying
qualities. Posting his troops on the lines he designated, he, so
to speak, placed himself with his back against a rock and refused
to be driven from the field. Here he stayed, despite the fierce
and prolonged assaults of the enemy, repulsing every attack. And
when the sun went down he was still there. Well was he called the
"Rock of Chickamauga," and trebly well for the army of the Cumberland
that George H. Thomas was in command of the left at that battle.
On the 20th, when the hour of supreme trial came and he was left
on the field with less than one half of the strength of the army
that the day before had been barely able to hold its own against the
rebel assaults, he formed his 25,000 troops on "Horseshoe Ridge,"
and successfully resisted for nearly six long hours the repeated
attacks of that same rebel army, largely re-enforced until it
numbered twice his command, when it was flushed with victory and
determined on his utter destruction. There is nothing finer in
history than Thomas at Chickamauga.

All things considered, the battle of Chickamauga for the forces
engaged was the hardest fought and the bloodiest battle of the
Rebellion. Hindman, who fought our right at Horseshoe Ridge, says
in his official report that he had "never known Federal troops to
fight so well," and that he "never saw Confederate soldiers fight
better." The largest number of troops Rosecrans had of all arms on
the field during the two days' fighting was 55,000 effective men.
While the return of the Army of the Cumberland for September 20,
1863, shows 67,548 "present for duty equipped," still taking out the
troops guarding important points within the Department, the actual
force was reduced to the figure just given. Of Gordon Granger's
nine brigades, only two were on the battlefield. Wagner, of Wood's
division, was in Chattanooga, and Dan McCook was holding Rossville.
Post's brigade was guarding the wagon trains and was not in the
action. Rosecrans's losses aggregated killed, 1,687; wounded, 9,394;
missing 5,255. Total loss, 16,336. Bragg during the battle, when
his entire five corps were engaged, had about 70,000 effective troops
in line. Among Bragg's troops were large numbers of prisoners of
war captured at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, who had been falsely
declared by the rebel authorities as exchanged and released from
their parole, and in violation of the cartel were again placed in
battle. His losses, in part estimated, were 2,673 killed, 16,274
wounded, and 2,003 missing, a total of 20,950. A full report of
the rebel losses was never made.

To the enemy the results of the engagement proved a victory barren
of any lasting benefits, and produced no adequate results to the
immense drain on the resources of his army. In a number of places
Bragg's official report shows that his army was so crippled that
he was not able to strengthen on portion of his line, when needed,
with troops from another part of the field, and after the conflict
was over his army was so cut up that it was impossible for him
to follow up his apparent success and secure possession of the
objective point of the campaign--Chattanooga. This great gateway
of the mountains remaining in possession of the Army of the Cumberland,
after Bragg had paid the heavy price he did at Chickamauga, proves
that his battle was a victory only in name, and a careful examination
of the results and their cost will show how exceedingly small it
was to the enemy.

Chapter XIII.

The Siege of Chattanooga.

On taking position at Chattanooga, after the battle, the Army of
the Cumberland, between the rebel troops in front and the forces
of Nature in the rear, was practically in a state of siege. The
lines around the town were held by our troops behind extensive
rifle-pits, strengthened with heavy earthworks covering all
approaches on the front. Bragg's army moved up immediately, and
invested our lines, throwing up rifle-pits within a short distance
of those of our army. To the rear of these Bragg threw up two other
lines of intrenchments and on the right of his command erected a
more permanent line of earthworks on the crest of Missionary Ridge,
massing however, the bulk of his troops in Chattanooga Valley
on our immediate front. As our army retired within its works at
Chattanooga, the troops holding the road over Lookout Mountain were
withdrawn, and this point was immediately occupied by the enemy and
strengthened by extensive works, Bragg sending Longstreet's corps
into Lookout Valley to occupy the extreme left of the besieging
line, and to cut off all communication with Bridgeport, on the south
bank of the Tennessee River. The lines were now fully occupied
from the river on the north to the bank south of the town, and the
rebel army in force on our front. To the rear the only road that
was open was over Walling's Ridge, through Sequatchie Valley, down
to Bridgeport, a distance of sixty miles; the short road on the
north side down to Bridgeport being closed by the rebel batteries
and sharp-shooters, while their troops holding the road to the south
of the river compelled all supplies of every kind to be hauled over
these sixty miles of road. To thus supply the army during good
weather was a very great undertaking, even with the teams of the
various commands in good condition, but with the rainy season that
soon set in, and the incessant hauling wearing out the mules, the
daily rations for the army were constantly growing less and less.
On October 1st, Wheeler crossing the Tennessee with Martin's and
Wharton's divisions of cavalry moved up the Sequatchie Valley upon
our line of supplies at Anderson cross-roads. Here he captured a
large number of trains loaded with rations for the front, burned
over three hundred wagons, and killed a large number of animals.
Colonel E. M. McCook with his cavalry division, moving rapidly
from Bridgeport, overtook Wheeler on the 2d, and drove him with
great loss in a sabre charge from the trains, recapturing some
eight hundred mules. After this Wheeler was driven from Shelbyville
on the 6th by Mitchell's cavalry, and on the 8th from Farmington
by Crook, and from here he re-crossed the Tennessee with a small
portion of his command, the rest having been killed or captured.
This loss in wagons, with the roads becoming almost impassable by
reason of the heavy rains and the growing weakness of the animals,
lessened daily the amount of supplies brought into the town,
so that our troops were suffering for food and were in danger of
being starved out of Chattanooga. This was what Bragg was quietly
waiting for. To supply an army some forty thousand strong, by
wagon transportation over rough mountain roads a distance of sixty
miles, Bragg knew was an impossibility, and that unless other lines
were opened up, the evacuation of the place was only a question of
time, and he could then walk in and take undisturbed possession.
As the forage became reduced, the artillery horses, for which there
was no immediate need, had their rations cut off, and they died in
large numbers, starved to death. The supplies grew so small that
parts of crackers and corn dropped in handling packages were eagerly
seized and eaten to stay the demands of hunger, and still the pressure
was growing daily, and no one knew how it would ultimately end.
However, not for an instant was the idea entertained of abandoning
the town, to say nothing of the extreme hazard of attempting that,
in the face of the strong force of the enemy on our front. The
Army of the Cumberland had won Chattanooga and there they proposed

Immediately after the battle of Chickamauga, the authorities at
Washington sent hurried orders to Burnside, Hurlbut, and Sherman
to move forward without delay to Rosecrans's assistance, and
on September 24th the latter was informed that "Hooker, with some
fifteen thousand men," was en route from the East as fast as rails
could take him, and that he would be in Nashville in about seven
days. While reinforcements were the thing needed before the battle,
now the pressing demand of the hour was the opening of the line of
communication to the rear, over which adequate supplies could be
forwarded to the troops at the front. To add to the number of men
there simply increased the difficulties of the situation.

On the arrival of Hooker with the Eleventh and Twelfth Army Corps
at Nashville, Rosecrans directed him to take position on the line
of the Chattanooga Railroad, securing that road from the attacks
of the rebel cavalry while supplies were being accumulated at
Stevenson awaiting the opening of communication with the army at
Chattanooga. Without driving back the entire of Bragg's army in
Lookout and Chattanooga Valleys, it was impossible to use the railroad
from Bridgeport east in bringing up supplies. The wagon-trains
could no longer be depended on, and, under the spur of necessity,
Rosecrans was preparing a plan to utilize the river with boats.
A new one had been built at Bridgeport and another captured at
Chattanooga had been repaired. By thus using the river he could
secure his supplies over a wagon-road of only eight miles from
Kelley's Ferry, via Brown's Ferry. The course of the Tennessee
River at Chattanooga is due west; after passing the town it flows
south to the foot of Lookout Mountain, from which point it then
sweeps, after a short curve to the northwest, due north, forming
here what is known as "Moccasin Point." Crossing the river at
the town, a road leads southwest across this point on to the other
side, where the river, as it sweeps north, is reached at Brown's
Ferry. Shortly after passing Brown's Ferry, the river again makes
a sharp bend to the south, forming another point of land running
northwardly. Across this point on the east bank, as the river passes
south, is Kelley's Ferry. At the extreme angle of this bend the
river rushes through the mountains, which here crowd down closely,
forming a narrow channel through which the waters rush headlong.
This chasm is known as the "Suck." The velocity of the water is so
great that steamers in high water cannot stem the current at this
point, which necessitated the landing of supplies at Kelley's Ferry,
and then hauling them over land across the bridge at Brown's Ferry
to Chattanooga.

Immediately after the battle, under orders from the War Department,
the Twentieth and Twenty-first Army Corps were consolidated and
designated the Fourth Army Corps and Gordon Granger was placed in
command. McCook and Crittenden were relieved from the command of
these corps and ordered North to await a "Court of Inquiry," "upon
their conduct on September 19th and 20th."

By War Department order of October 16th, the Departments of the Ohio,
the Cumberland, and the Tennessee were constituted "The Military
Division of the Mississippi," under the command of Grant. By the
same order Rosecrans was relieved of the command of the Department
and Army of the Cumberland, and Thomas was assigned to that command.
Halleck, in his report of operations for the year 1863, says this
change was made on the recommendation of General Grant. These
orders were promulgated on the 19th.

On Rosecrans's return from a visit to Brown's Ferry and Williams's
Island on the 19th, where he had been with William F. Smith, his
chief engineer, making his plans for bringing supplies to that
point, he found the order awaiting him relieving him of his command.
Quietly making his preparations for his departure that night over
the mountains to Stevenson, he wrote out his farewell order, to
be printed and issued the next day, and, without even bidding his
staff good-bye, placed Thomas in command and started for his home
in Cincinnati. Rosecrans, in the summer of 1862, was under Grant
at Iuka and Corinth. Here some hasty criticism made by him brought
him into collision with Grant, which now bore fruit.

When it was known that Rosecrans had been relieved, and that he
had left the army for the north, there was universal regret that
the troops that had loved and trusted him should no longer follow
his skillful leadership. Every soldier in his army felt that he
had a personal friend in "Old Rosy." His troops never for a moment
faltered in their devotion to him or confidence in him. They felt
that he had been made the victim of a foolish interpretation of an
order that brought ruin and disaster upon his army, for which he
was not responsible, but for which he was made to suffer.

General Rosecrans, to his subordinates, was one of the most genial
of men. Kind and good-natured, he at times failed to act as
decisively as occasion required, deterred by the fact that, should
he do so, some of his subordinates would suffer. His restless
activity led him to give attention to details that he should have
been entirely relieved of by his subordinates. But no amount of
work daunted him. He lived almost without rest and sleep, and would
wear out two sets of staff officers nightly, and then, if occasion
required it, be up and out before daylight. To his superiors
he unfortunately allowed his high spirit to get the better of his
judgment, and many times when he was in the right he ruined his
position by his hasty temper. His fame, despite his enemies--and
no general in the field had stronger nor more unscrupulous ones--as
the greatest strategist of the war, is permanently fixed in history.
What it might have been had he not been hampered, annoyed, and
insulted as no other commanding general was at any time by both the
Secretary of War and the General-in-Chief, is merely problematical.
Personally, he regarded all this as mere "incidents of the service,"
and strove to the best of his ability to do his whole duty to his
country. His combination with Thomas--Rosecrans to plan brilliant
campaigns, with Thomas's great abilities to aid him in carrying
them out--made the Army of the Cumberland the great aggressive force
moving on the centre, gaining territory after each campaign. But
it was as well for Rosecrans and the service that he was relieved
when he was, with the combination of the armies under Grant. He
had faithfully performed his duty up to this time, but now the
surroundings were so changed that both for his sake and the good
of the service the change was a fitting one to be made. Rosecrans
could never again serve as a subordinate, and as the change was
determined on, when Grant arrived it was as well for Rosecrans to

When Anderson in 1861 applied for George H. Thomas to be one of
the brigadier-generals to accompany him to Kentucky, to help him
in the task he was set to accomplish there, Mr. Lincoln told him
he was afraid to give the order for Thomas, as he was a Southerner,
and from Virginia. Anderson and Sherman, who were present, both
responded in the strongest terms, vouching for Thomas's earnest
patriotism and deep devotion to the Union, and the order was given.
And now it bore full fruit. The quiet, patient soldier, who from
his first day's service in Kentucky had never swerved a line from
the strict performance of his duty to his Government, according to
his oath, without reference to self, had now met his reward. His
fame had steadily grown and rounded from the time he gained the
first Federal victory in the West, at Mill Springs, up to the battle
of Chickamauga, where he saved the Army of the Cumberland to the
nation. He had always been the main stay of that army, holding the
command of the centre--either nominally or actually the second in
command. Upon his judgment and military skill every commander of
that army depended, and no movement was made without his approbation.
Yet so modest was he that his face would color with blushes when
his troops cheered him, which they did at every opportunity; and
so diffident, that, prior to the battle of Chickamauga, he doubted
his ability to handle large bodies of troops upon the battlefield,
and for this reason refused to accept the command of that army,
just prior to Perryville, when tendered him. His kind consideration
for the feelings of others was one of his marked characteristics.
With a pure mind and large heart, his noble soul made him one of
the greatest of Nature's noblemen--a true gentleman. The experience
of Chickamauga ripened his powers and developed him to his full
height. As the General who won the first victory in the West, who
saved an army by his skill and valor, and who was the only General
of the war on either side able to crush an army on the battlefield,
George H. Thomas, "the true soldier, the prudent and undaunted
commander, the modest and incorruptible patriot," stands as the model
American soldier, the grandest figure of the War of the Rebellion.

One of Grant's first acts on taking command was to telegraph Thomas
to hold Chattanooga at all hazards. The commander who had seen his
troops on less than half rations for nearly a month, with steadily
approaching signs of starvation, hardly needed an intimation that
what had been gained by the sacrifice on Chickamauga's field was
not to be yielded up without a struggle. Thomas replied "We will
hold the town till we starve." On the 24th, Grant, in company
with Thomas and W. F. Smith, made a personal inspection across the
river of the situation, with reference to carrying out the plan
of Rosecrans for the opening of the road by Brown's Ferry, and
approving of it, Thomas was directed to proceed to execute it.
This plan required the greatest secrecy of movement, otherwise
Longstreet's entire command would resist the landing, and contemplated
the co-operation of Hooker's moving up from Bridgeport, holding the
road to Kelley's Ferry. The latter was to meet a force sent from
the town down the river in pontoons under cover of night, which was
to seize the landing on the left bank of the river, driving back
the rebel pickets and fortifying their position, and then swinging
the bridge across the river. Thomas says in his official report
of the battle of Wauhatchie, that "preliminary steps had already
been taken to execute this vitally important movement before the
command of the Department devolved on me." Thomas on the 23d ordered
Hooker to concentrate the Eleventh Corps, and Geary's division of
the Twelfth Corps at Bridgeport and sent him instructions as to
his movements, and directed him to advance as soon as possible,
co-operating with the force from Chattanooga. Hooker was also
ordered to move into Lookout Valley, and to protect the bridge when
laid from any attack by Longstreet in that direction. Thomas also
sent two brigades under Palmer to co-operate with Hooker. Palmer
moved across the river to Brown's Ferry, and then took the road
through Whitesides to Rankin's Ferry, establishing himself securely
at these points, protecting the river communication from attack from
the south. Thomas placed W. F. Smith in charge of the expedition,
and detached Turchin's and Hazen's brigades, with three batteries
under Major John Mendenhall. Smith was directed to organize a
picked force, armed from these brigades, to be divided into fifty
squads of twenty-four men each, under the command of an officer,
who were to float down the river in pontoons that night--a distance
by the bends of the river of some nine miles. The boats were placed
under the charge of Colonel T. R. Stanley of the Eighteenth Ohio,
the bridge to be placed in position under direction of Captain P.
V. Fox, First Michigan Engineers. The troops under Hazen were to
take the gorge and hills to the left, and Turchin was to extend from
the gorge down the river. Turchin in command of the remainder of
the troops marched across Moccasin Point to the ferry, where they
were to cross in the same boats, supporting the troops already
landed, when the position was to be strongly fortified and held by
them until the arrival of Hooker.

At midnight the troops who were to take part in the expedition were
marched to the river and placed in the boats manned by crews with
oars, and on two flat boats. The force that marched under Turchin
moved out under cover of dense woods over the point to the ferry,
where they remained in readiness to cover the landing of the troops
coming down the river. The artillery accompanied this part of the
command and remained under cover.

At 3 o'clock A.M. of the 27th, the boats moved out into the stream
under cover of a slight fog. On arriving at a point some two miles
below the town, these troops reached the rebel picket line posted
on the left bank of the river. The boats passed on unobserved by
keeping close to the right hand shore until just at the landing,
when the troops in the first boat were greeted with a volley from
the rebel pickets, a station being at this landing. In perfect
order, as previously planned, the troops hastily disembarked, moved
forward, occupying the crest of the hill immediately in front and
commenced the work of intrenching. Before this was completed the
enemy, heavily re-enforced, just beyond the crest, moved forward
to drive Hazen back. Here a stubborn little fight was had, the
rebels making a gallant charge with partial success on the right of
Hazen, when they were met with the remainder of the brigade under
Colonel Langdon, who charged at once on their lines and after a
short engagement drove them from the hill into the valley beyond.
Turchin's brigade having crossed the river was placed in position on
Hazen's right, when the enemy moved from the front up the valley.
The rebel force here was a thousand infantry, three pieces of
artillery, and a squadron of cavalry.

As soon as the last of the troops were over, work on the bridge
was commenced and finished at a little after four o'clock in the
afternoon. For an hour or so in the morning the work progressed
under an artillery fire from the rebel batteries on Lookout Mountain.
Our losses were six killed, twenty-three wounded, and nine missing.
The rebels lost six men captured and six of their dead were buried
by our men. Our forces captured twenty beeves, six pontoons and
some two thousand bushels of corn. The bridge was completed and
the position held until the 28th, when Hooker's command arrived. No
attempt was made by Bragg to dislodge this force or to destroy the
bridge. Hooker moved on the road by the base of Raccoon Mountain
into Lookout Valley, driving the rebel pickets before him, and
occupied the roads to Kelley's and Brown's Ferries through the
valley. Later in the afternoon of the 28th, as Hooker's troops
pushed down the valley, Howard's corps in the advance was met with a
sharp volley of musketry from a wooded ridge near the Wills Valley
Railroad. Two brigades of Howard's command were deployed, and
advancing, drove the rebels from their cover with the loss of a
few of our men. As the enemy retreated they burned the railroad
bridge over Lookout Creek. Hooker then went into camp with Howard's
corps at six o'clock in the afternoon about a mile up the valley
from Brown's Ferry. Here he learned of the movement to this place
and of the building of the bridge.

With the object of holding the road to Kelley's Ferry, Geary's
division was ordered to encamp near Wauhatchie, some three miles
up the valley from Howard's position. This created two camps--the
latter holding the Brown Ferry road--each camp separate and picketed
by its own command, as the numbers of the troops would not admit
of communication being kept up between them or of their forming
one line.

About midnight a regiment that had been ordered by Howard to hold
the Chattanooga road across Lookout Creek, had a slight skirmish
with the advance of the enemy. This was a portion of Longstreet's
corps getting into position for a night attack on the two encampments.
Dividing his command into two detachments, Longstreet, about an
hour later, with his strong one on his left, assaulted Geary's camp
with a fierce attack, driving in his pickets and then charging on
the main command. Geary immediately formed his men in line, and for
three hours with heavy fighting maintained his position, although
enveloped on three sides by the enemy, repelling every attack, and
finally charged on the rebels and drove them from beyond his front.
The enemy here attacked in greatly superior numbers, and were only
defeated by the skill and coolness of Geary, aided by the bravery
of his troops. As the sound of the heavy fire which the enemy
opened on Gary rolled down the valley, Hooker ordered Howard to
double-quick his nearest division, Schurz's, to Geary's assistance.
The division was started at once, but before it had proceeded
far it encountered the other detachments of Longstreet's command,
which opened on our troops with a volley of musketry. Hooker now
determined that he had two fights on his hands. At once detaching
Tyndale's brigade, Howard charged the rebel lines on the hill to
the left with it, pushing on the other brigade to Geary. By this
time Steinwehr's division of Howard's corps had arrived on the
ground, and it was then discovered that the rebels were trying to
surround Howard's camp and that they occupied a hill to the rear
of Tyndale's brigade. Hooker ordered Colonel Orland Smith with
his brigade to charge this hill, which he did up the steep side,
almost inaccessible by daylight, reached the rebel intrenchments
under a heavy fire and drove the troops with the bayonet, after a
severe engagement, in rout from the hill and capturing a number of
prisoners. Here General Greene and Colonel Underwood were severely
wounded. Tyndale also pressing forward occupied the rebel line in
his front and drove their forces beyond his lines. The attack on
Howard was intended to hold that command from reinforcing Geary
until he was routed, and then in turn Howard was to be driven from
the field.

During the engagement the enemy opened with artillery fire in
the valley, aided by that from the batteries on Lookout Mountain,
sending the shells crashing among our troops. Their forces in the
valley were repulsed in every charge and our troops occupied the
field at all points. Our losses in the attack were 76 killed, 339
wounded, and 22 missing, making a total of 437. The rebel loss is
unknown. Geary buried 153 of the enemy on his front alone. One
hundred prisoners were captured, with a large number of small arms.
Thomas congratulated Hooker's troops for the gallant repulse given
to their old enemy, Longstreet, and adds: "The bayonet charge of
Howard's troops, made up the side of a steep and difficult hill
over two hundred feet high, completely routing the enemy from his
barricades on its top, and the repulse by Geary of greatly superior
number who attempted to surprise him, will rank among the most
distinguished feats of arms of this war." Reinforcements were sent
Hooker by Thomas from Chattanooga of two brigades under Whittaker
and John G. Mitchell, but the fighting was over before they reached
the valley.

Work was now pushed rapidly forward on the road from Brown's to
Kelley's Ferry, and this being successfully accomplished by the 1st
of November, the forces of Nature were overcome and the siege of
Chattanooga was at an end as to them. It now remained to raise it
on the front, driving Bragg from his strongholds, Lookout Mountain,
Chattanooga Valley, and Missionary Ridge.

Chapter XIV

Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge Battles.

These three detached actions, fought by different portions of our
troops, were parts of a series of operations for securing our front
and driving the enemy from his position, and are known properly as
the Battle of Chattanooga. Grant, late in October, ordered Sherman
with the Fifteenth Army Corps to press forward to the Tennessee
River, cross at Bridgeport and push rapidly on to Chattanooga.
Early in November, learning that Bragg had weakened his forces on
our front by sending Longstreet's command into East Tennessee to
attack Burnside, Grant was very desirous of making an attack at once
on the rebel forces on Lookout and Missionary Ridge, but examining
the strong position occupied by Bragg at these points and the length
of his lines, Grant became convinced that to successfully operate
against the enemy it was necessary to wait until Sherman with
his command came up. While this force moved eastward, Grant was
maturing his plans for the engagement. He directed Sherman to report
in person, which he did on the 15th, and on consultation with him
and Thomas the general plan of battle was submitted to them. The
main attack was to be made on the 21st at daylight, by Sherman's
troops, on the north end of Missionary Ridge. To accomplish this
his command was to be re-enforced with one division of the Army
of the Cumberland under Jeff C. Davis. Sherman's troops--four
divisions--were to move from Brown's Ferry through the woods to
the north of the town up to the Tennessee River, opposite the mouth
of Chickamauga Creek, where they were to cross on a pontoon bridge
to be swung there under the supervision of W. F. Smith, and the
crossing of the troops to be protected by batteries under Brannon,
Thomas's Chief of Artillery. After crossing the river, Sherman
was to move rapidly forward, carrying the heights on the north end
of Missionary Ridge as far as the tunnel, if possible, before the
enemy could concentrate on his front, Thomas was to concentrate
all his troops in Chattanooga Valley on his left flank, leaving on
the necessary force to defend the fortifications on his right and
centre and to hold a movable column of one division to move wherever
needed. This division was to make a show of threatening Bragg's
forces up the valley. Thomas was then to effect a junction with
Sherman, co-operate with him, advancing his left and moving forward
as nearly simultaneously as possible, and support him. Hooker on
the right in Lookout Valley, was to hold that position with Geary's
division and two brigades under Cruft from the Fourth Army Corps,
ordered to report to him. Howard, on Friday, the 20th, was ordered
with his corps to take position on the north side of the Tennessee,
opposite Chattanooga, near the pontoon bridge, and hold himself in
readiness to move to Thomas's front or to co-operate with Sherman
as needed. Colonel Eli Long with his brigade of cavalry was directed
to report by noon on Saturday, the 21st, at Chattanooga, to cover
Sherman's left flank, and if not further required by Sherman he was
then to cross the Chickamauga, make a raid on the enemy's line of
communication in the rear, doing as much damage as he could.

Sherman made his movement with his troops from Bridgeport though
Whitesides. Sending his leading division under Ewing up Lookout
Valley, to make a feint on the left flank of the rebel army in
the direction of Trenton, he crossed his others at Brown's Ferry
and marched up the north bank of the river to the mouth of South
Chickamauga Creek. Here they kept concealed in the woods from the
enemy until they were ready to effect their crossing. Owing to
heavy rains and the state of the roads, Sherman was able to have
but one division, under John E. Smith, in position by the 21st and
Grant delayed his plans of battle to give him additional time.
Sherman on the 21st moved his second division under Morgan L.
Smith over the bridge at Brown's Ferry, and on the 23d, after many
repairs to the bridge, rendered necessary by the swollen stream
and the raft of logs sent down the river by the rebels, Ewing's
division also got safely across. Sherman's fourth division under
Osterhaus was not able on the 23d to cross, and this division was
then ordered, in the event of not being able to cross by eight A.M.
the 24th, to report to Hooker on the south bank of the Tennessee.
Davis had reported with his division to Sherman, and on the 23d,
the boats of the pontoon bridge were used to effect a landing at
the mouth of South Chickamauga Creek by Giles A. Smith's brigade,
who captured the rebel pickets at this place, landed his entire
brigade, and then sent the boats back for additional troops. By
daylight of the 24th, Sherman with two divisions of some 8,000
men was intrenched on the east bank of the Tennessee. A pontoon
bridge, 1,350 feet long, was then built over this river, and another
over Chickamauga Creek under the direction of W. F. Smith.

Thomas, learning that Sherman's movements across Lookout Valley
had been discovered by Bragg, on Sunday, the 22d, directed Howard
to cross into Chattanooga to give Bragg the idea that these were
Sherman's troops coming to reinforce Chattanooga. Howard made the
crossing on Sunday and took position in rear of our front line in
full view of the enemy. On the 20th, Bragg notified Grant that it
would be well for him to withdraw all non-combatants from Chattanooga.
This the latter regarded as a cover for Bragg's withdrawal of
his own command, which he was confirmed in by deserters and spies
reporting a large number of Bragg's troops as marching to the north.
These were two divisions of Buckner's corps sent to strengthen
Longstreet in East Tennessee; that last sent, however, was recalled.
To determine the truth of these reports, early on the morning of
the 23d, Grant directed Thomas to develop the enemy's lines, driving
in his pickets, and determine if he still held his force on our
front. Thomas ordered Granger in command of the Fourth Corps to
form with Sheridan's and Wood's divisions--Sheridan on the right,
Wood on the left--with his left extended nearly to Citico Creek,
and advance directly in front of Fort Wood, and make this movement.
Palmer, commanding the Fourteenth Corps with Baird's division
refused, was to support Granger's right and was to hold Johnson's
division under arms in the intrenchments in readiness to move as
occasion might require. The troops were all in position at 2 P.M.
They moved out on the plain as if on parade, and in plain sight of
Bragg and his army on Lookout and Missionary Ridge, formed their
lines as if in review and moved forward to attack the enemy.
Rapidly advancing "in the most gallant style" our troops steadily
pushed in the rebel line. They first struck the pickets, drove
these on the reserve and then sweeping everything before them they
hurled the rebels out of their first line of rifle-pits and sent
them on the full run in retreat to the rear, except over two hundred
of them captured. Here Granger's troops made themselves secure by
throwing up temporary breastworks, while he sent a strong picket
line to the front to protect his new line. In this charge Granger's
line secured "Orchard Knob" which was then occupied by Bridges'
battery. Howard's corps was placed in position on the left of the
line to Granger's left and also ordered to throw up breastworks.

Sherman after crossing the river on the 23d, about 1 P.M., placed
his command in three columns, following in his advance the general
direction of Chickamauga Creek, with his left under Morgan L. Smith
resting on the creek. His centre was under John E. Smith and his
right under Ewing, all under the command of Frank P. Blair, Corps
Commander. In support of these, Davis's division also moved to
the attack. Grant and Sherman had supposed that Missionary Ridge
was one prolonged even range. When Sherman left the river he passed
over the foothills and then pressed up what he supposed was the
main portion of the ridge. When he reached the top of this, after
a lively skirmish with the rebel pickets, he found a deep depression
intervening between this hill and the next, which was the one the
tunnel ran through, where the rebels were heavily intrenched, and
which he had been ordered to take. On the top of this first hill,
finding he could not take the hill beyond where the tunnel ran
through, he threw up intrenchments and prepared to hold the ground
he had thus far gained. Here about 4 P.M. he had a heavy engagement.
The enemy's advance with sharp artillery and musketry fire was
gallantly met and repulsed. Sherman then made preparations for
the night, posting his command to hold all positions. Howard had
reported with three regiments to him, as he crossed the bridge
which connected him with the main Army of the Cumberland. Howard
leaving these troops with Sherman, then returned to his corps.
When his command was placed on the front to Granger's left in the
afternoon, he connected with Sherman's right. Here Sherman rested
all night, and about midnight received orders from Grant to "attack
the enemy at dawn of day," "that General Thomas would attack in
force early in the day."

While the main attack was progressing under Sherman on the left,
Hooker on the right had been pressing the enemy. On the 23d,
Osterhaus, finding that he could not cross the Tennessee in time
to engage in the movement with Sherman, reported with his division
to Hooker, who was then ordered to take these troops, with Geary's
division and Whittaker's and Grose's brigades of the First Division
of the Fourth Corps under Cruft, and make a strong demonstration on
the northern slope of Lookout Mountain, drawing Bragg's attention
to this point and away from Sherman while crossing the river and
getting into position. Thomas instructed Hooker if he found he
was able to carry the enemy's position here, to do so.

At 4 A.M. of the 24th, Hooker reported his troops in readiness
to begin the movement. As he advanced he found Lookout Creek so
swollen with recent rains that he could not cross without building
a temporary bridge at the main road. He then sent Geary with two
divisions and Whitaker's brigade of Cruft's command up the creek
to effect a crossing at Wauhatchie. Geary was then to sweep down
the right bank, driving the rebels before him. The enemy, watching
the construction of the bridge under Hooker, failed to observe the
movement of the troops under Geary, by reason of a heavy mist which
overhung the mountain, until he was on their flank and threatening
their rear. The enemy's force here and on the top of the mountain
was under Stevenson, with a command of six brigades posted mainly on
the Northern slope midway between the Palisades and the Tennessee
River, on a belt of cultivated land. A continuous line of earthworks
had been constructed, with redoubts, redans, and pits, lower down
the slope, with reference to an assault from the direction of the
river. On each flank were rifle-pits, epaulements for batteries,
walls of stone and abatis, as against attack from either Chattanooga
or Lookout Valley. In these valleys were still more extensive

As Geary moved down on the right bank of the creek, he soon
encountered the enemy's pickets. These gave the alarm at once,
when their troops formed in the breastworks and rifle-pits. All
these positions were soon covered by artillery planted by Hooker's
orders. He then sent Wood's brigade of Osterhaus's division about
eight hundred yards up the creek to build another bridge, and
directed Cruft to leave a small command at the first bridge, to
attract the attention of the enemy, and ordered the rest of Grose's
brigade to cross with Wood's. This bridge was completed at 11
o'clock, when the troops under Wood and Grose crossed, and joined
Geary on the right bank, who had driven the enemy up to this point.
Under cover of the heavy artillery fire, the entire line advanced,
pressing the enemy steadily back. At noon Geary's advance drove
the rebels around the peak of the mountain. Here Geary was ordered
to halt and reform his command, but having the rebels on the run he
pressed forward and drove them in a fleeing, panic-stricken crowd.
Cobham's and Ireland's brigades on the high ground on the right,
near the Palisades, pressed on, rolling their line up on the flank,
closely supported by Whittaker's and Creighton's brigades. The
enemy had been re-enforced, but he was not able to resist the sweep
of Hooker's troops as they rounded the crest of the mountain at
Craven's house, where the enemy made his last stand, and from here,
with his line all broken and in rout, he was driven over the rocks
and precipices into Chattanooga Valley. At this time the mist that
had been hanging round the mountain all the day settled still lower
down. It was now about 2 o'clock, and Hooker in the mist, unable
to see beyond his immediate front, placed his troops in position,
threw up temporary breastworks, with his line on the east side of
the mountain, the right resting at the Palisades and the left near
the mouth of Chattanooga Creek. He then reported to Thomas, who
ordered Carlin with his brigade to report to him, when he was placed
on the extreme right, relieving Geary's troops. During the night
the rebels opened a heavy fire on our right as if intending to break
our lines. This was handsomely repulsed, Carlin's brigade taking
an active part. Early in the morning, before daylight, several
parties were sent up the mountain, in anticipation of the retreat
of the enemy during the night, to scale the heights. One from the
Eighth Kentucky was the first that reached the summit, and here at
sunrise the Stars and Stripes were unfurled at the extreme point
amid the cheers of the entire army. During the night Stevenson
abandoned the top of the mountain, while the Summertown road
remained open, leaving his camp and garrison equipage. This gave
to our army full possession and control of the river and railroad
up to Chattanooga.

The mist still clung to the mountain in heavy folds early on
the 25th, when Hooker was ordered to press forward on the road to
Rossville, carry the pass, and operate on Bragg's left and rear.
Advancing down the valley, he found the rebel pickets still holding
the right bank of Chattanooga Creek. Arriving at the creek at about
ten o'clock he found the bridges on the Rossville road destroyed.
Here Hooker was delayed for some three hours, when Osterhaus in the
advance crossed the infantry on the stringers and pressed forward,
driving the enemy's pickets over to Rossville. Hooker found the
rebels at this place loading up their stores. Leaving a force on
their front, he sent Wood's brigade to take the ridge on the right,
and Williamson's on the left. After a severe skirmish the enemy
hastily retreated, abandoning large quantities of stores, wagons,
and ambulances. The gap now being under our control, Hooker ordered
the advance of our entire line, Osterhaus with his division on
the east of the ridge, Cruft on the ridge, and Geary in the valley
west of the ridge. This line advancing soon encountered the rebels
under Stewart, occupying the line of breastworks thrown up by our
troops after Chickamauga. Cruft charged on them, drove them in
all directions out of these works in full retreat. Part of them
ran into Osterhaus's men and were captured. Others were captured
by Geary in the valley. The mass of them fell back to their second
line, from which they were likewise speedily driven, when the fight
became a running one, continuing until sunset. Part of the enemy
in their endeavors to escape ran into Johnson's division of the
Fourteenth Corps, thrown forward to join the pursuit, and were
captured. Hooker's command then went into camp.

Early on the morning of the 25th Sherman made his disposition for
his main attack. Holding his centre with three brigades, he was
then to move along the east and west base of Missionary Ridge with
his right and left flanks. Corse advancing from the right centre
moved forward, supported by Lightburn on the left and Morgan L.
Smith on his right, and occupied a crest in the woods about eighty
yards from the intrenched line of the enemy. From this point Corse
assaulted the main rebel line, and for over an hour maintained a
heavy contest, driving the enemy and at times being driven back,
but still holding his crest as first secured. Here Corse, Loomis,
and Morgan L. Smith fought the rebels under Hardee with Cleburne's,
Gist's, Cheatham's, and Stevenson's divisions in a stubborn struggle
all day up to three o'clock, holding their own, but making little
headway. About two o'clock John E. Smith's two brigades, while
moving to the support of Ewing, were driven in some disorder by a
charge of the enemy, heavily massed. They were quickly reformed
and, aided by Corse's troops taking the rebels in the flank with
a hot musketry fire, the enemy was soon driven back into his line
of works.

Here Sherman was fighting the heavy column of the enemy on our
left, and the main part of the battle had been his share. Grant
was waiting for Hooker to reach the rebel left at Rossville, in the
hope that this would afford some relief to the stubborn fighting
Sherman had encountered. Finding that Hooker had been delayed
by the destruction of the bridge longer than was anticipated, and
that the diversion was not to come from that quarter, Grant ordered
Thomas to move out the four divisions constituting the centre--Baird
on the left, then Wood with Sheridan on his right, and Johnson on
the extreme right of the line--with a double line of skirmishers to
the front, supported by the entire force, press forward to carry
the first line of rifle-pits and there halt and await orders, the
movement to commence at three o'clock, at a signal of six guns
fired in rapid succession from Orchard Knob.

There was some little delay attending the preliminaries of
the movement, and it was not until after half-past three that the
commands having moved out and taken the alignment were in position
for the advance, when the guns sounded one, two, three, four, five,
six. With this the troops, impatient all the day with being kept
in the breastworks while Sherman's men were hard at work, eagerly
pressed onward, divisions, brigades, and regiments striving each
with the other for the advance. With the first movement Bragg at
once hurried reinforcements from his right and left to strengthen
his troops in his works to resist the advance on his centre.
Here his line was under the command of Breckinridge, who had his
own division under Lewis, Stewart's division, and part of those of
Buckner and Hindman under Patton Anderson. The enemy had originally
four lines of breastworks. The first one on our front was captured
by Thomas on the 23d, when Orchard Knob was taken. This left three
lines of rifle-pits remaining. The second one was about half a
mile to the rear of the first, near the foot of the ridge. From
here to the top was a steep ascent of some five hundred yards,
covered with large rocks and fallen timber. About half way up the
ridge a small line of works had been thrown up. On the crest of
the hill Bragg's men had constructed their heaviest breastworks,
protected on our front by some fifty pieces of artillery in position.
As our troops advanced, each command cheering and answering back
the cheer of the others, the men broke into a double-quick, all
striving to be the first to reach the rifle-pits at the foot of
the ridge, held by a strong line of the enemy's troops. The rebels
opened fire with shot and shell from their batteries, as our troops
advanced, changing it soon to grape and canister, which with the
fire from the infantry made it terrifically hot. Dashing through
this over the open plain, the soldiers of the Army of the Cumberland
swept on, driving the enemy's skirmishers, charging down on the
line of works at the foot of the ridge, capturing it at the point
of the bayonet, and routing the rebels, sending them at full speed
up the ridge, killing and capturing them in large numbers. These
rifle-pits were reached nearly simultaneously by the several
commands, when the troops, in compliance with their instructions,
laid down at the foot of the ridge awaiting further orders. Here
they were under a hot, plunging, galling fire from the enemy in
their works on the crest of the ridge. Without further waiting,
and under no orders from their officers, first one regiment, then
another started with its colors up the ascent, until with loud
hurrahs the entire line, cheered by their officers, advanced over
and around rocks, under and through the fallen timber, charged up
the ridge, each determined to reach the summit first. The centre
part of Sheridan's division reached the top first, as they were
the nearest to the crest, and crossed it to the right of Bragg's
headquarters. The rest of the line was soon up, and almost
simultaneously the ridge was carried in six places. Here the
enemy making a fight for a short time was routed from the last of
his lines, and his centre, panic-stricken, broke in full retreat.
Regiments were captured almost entire, battery after battery along
the ridge was taken. In some cases the rebels were bayoneted
at their guns, and the cannon that but a moment before was firing
on our troops, were by them captured, turned, and used against
the rebels as they were driven in masses to the rear. The charge
occupied about one hour from the time of the firing of the guns
on Orchard Knob until the troops occupied the rebel lines on the
ridge. Sheridan's division reached the ridge a few minutes too
late to capture Bragg, Breckinridge, and a number of the rebel
generals, who left Bragg's headquarters on the charge of our men
up the ridge.

Sheridan advanced with his division, skirmishing with the enemy's
rear-guard, but driving them steadily for about a mile on the
Chickamauga station road. Here this road runs over a high ridge
on which the enemy had posted eight pieces of artillery supported
by a strong force to cover their retreat. At this point Sheridan,
with Harker's and Wagner's brigades, had an engagement with these
troops, but after a movement flanking the rebel's right and left,
they hurriedly retreated, leaving two pieces of artillery and a
large number of wagons. After this ridge was captured, Sheridan's
troops went into bivouac. During the night the full moon flooded
the surrounding country with its bright light. At midnight, on
Granger's suggestion, Sheridan in the advance was again ordered with
his division to press the enemy. He at once advanced his command
to Chickamauga Creek, capturing a large number of prisoners and
quantities of material and stores.

Wood, on reaching the top of the ridge, with Baird on his left,
met with heavy opposition. The enemy was supported by a division
from Hardee on the right, advancing just as Baird was getting into
position. Here these two divisions were engaged in a sharp contest
until after dark. Turchin, with his brigade, which was the left
wing of Baird, had taken possession of a small work constructed
by the enemy on the ridge when he was attacked by the rebels in a
most furious charge, but gallantly repulsed them, when they drew
off in the direction of Tunnel Hill. Missionary Ridge was now
entirely within our control, with the exception of the point, where
Sherman's advance had been so stoutly resisted. During the night,
Bragg drew off Hardee's troops from the front of Sherman, where
the latter at once placed his command in position for the pursuit
the next day.

During the night of the 25th, Thomas was directed to send Granger
with his corps, and additional troops to make his command up to
20,000, to march to Burnside's relief at Knoxville, and the other
portion of Thomas's command with Sherman's troops to pursue the
enemy on the 26th. The latter, on the morning of that day advanced
by the road through Chickamauga Station, while Thomas ordered the
command under Hooker and Palmer to push on by way of the Greysville
and Ringgold road. At the former place the rearguard of the rebels
was surprised after night, and three cannon and a large number of
prisoners captured. On the next day another piece of artillery
was captured at Greysville, and later in the day Hooker's advance
again struck the enemy, strongly posted in a pass in Taylor's
Ridge. Here, after a heavy fight of over an hour, they were driven
from the pass with considerable loss on both sides. The pursuit
was discontinued on the 28th. Hooker remained for a few days at
Ringgold, while Palmer returned to his camp at Chattanooga.

Sherman's troops, with Davis's division in the advance, pressed
through Chickamauga Station, and at about dark struck the rear of
the enemy's column, and had a sharp fight. After leaving Greysville,
Sherman turned his command to the left, to strike the railroad
between Dalton and Cleveland. Howard was sent to destroy this road,
which he did in a most thorough manner. On the following day the
Fifteenth Corps destroyed the Atlanta Railroad from below Greysville
back to the State line. On the 18th, Sherman was ordered to make a
reconnoissance to the Hiawassee with his own corps, together with
Davis's and Howard's troops of Thomas's command. On reaching
Charleston, Sherman received orders to take command of Granger's
column, moving to Burnside's relief, and to press forward with all
the troops under him in all haste to Knoxville, eighty-four miles
distant. Advancing rapidly with his command, Sherman reached
Knoxville on the 6th. Longstreet, however, retreated on the 4th of
December to Virginia. Leaving Granger's corps to aid in the pursuit
of Longstreet, Sherman by easy marches returned to Chattanooga on
the 16th of the month, where he ordered Howard and Davis to report
with their commands, while he marched west with his own corps to
Northern Alabama and placed them in winter quarters.

Sherman with his two days' fighting reports the losses of his
command, including Howard's command, but not that of Davis, whose
loss he says was small, at 295 killed, 1,402 wounded, and 292
missing--making a total of 1,989. This, however, includes the losses
in his first division--Osterhaus's, which fought under Hooker on
the right--of 87 killed, 344 wounded, and 66 missing, making 497
to be deducted, which leaves Sherman's loss proper, 208 killed,
1,058 wounded, and 226 missing--a total of 1,492. Thomas's loss
in the part taken by his troops, also including Howard's command
and not including Davis's division, was 529 killed, 2,281 wounded,
and 141 missing--an aggregate of 3,951. The large bulk of the
losses under Thomas were in Sheridan's and Wood's divisions. That
of the former was 135 killed, 1,151 wounded, missing, none--aggregate
1,256; that of the latter, 150 killed, 851 wounded, missing,
none--aggregate 1,001. These two divisions in their one hour's
work storming Missionary Ridge met with a loss of 2,287 men,
showing hot work. There was captured by the Army of the Cumberland
40 pieces of artillery, 58 artillery carriages and caissons, 6,175
stand of small arms, principally English Enfield, and 5,471 prisoners.

During the winter there were nothing but minor movements of the
troops. The railroads up to Chattanooga were repaired, and the
first "cracker train" that entered the place was greeted with many
hearty cheers by our troops in the town, as the shrill scream of
its whistle woke the echoes among the surrounding mountains, so long
silent to this music. The roads into and through East Tennessee
were repaired to Knoxville and beyond.

In the early spring the organization of the Army of the Cumberland
was changed by Granger being relieved of the command of the Fourth
Corps, when Howard was assigned to that command. Palmer was
retained in command of the Fourteenth Corps, and the Eleventh and
Twelfth Corps were consolidated into the Twentieth Corps, with
Hooker in command. The cavalry was organized in four divisions,
under the command of W. L. Elliott. The army in the field consisted
of 60,773 effective men.

General Thomas ordered the Fourth Corps to Cleveland. The Fourteenth
Corps in front of Chattanooga was well thrown forward toward the
enemy's front at Dalton, preparatory to the spring campaign in
Atlanta, under General Sherman. The Twentieth Corps was stationed
in Lookout Valley.

In the general engagement Grant's plan of battle had been for Sherman
with five divisions to make the main attack, sweep everything before
him down the ridge, and when he had the rebels in full retreat,
the Army of the Cumberland was then to aid in the pursuit, after
patiently waiting until the fighting was over. Hooker, under Grant's
original plan, was to simply hold Lookout Valley secure, and when
the enemy was driven by Sherman, he too was to join in the pursuit.
All the fighting of the battle was to be done by Sherman and all the
glory thereof was to be his. In Sherman's memoirs we are favored
with Grant's views of the Army of the Cumberland when Sherman first
reported in person to Grant at Chattanooga, to learn of his plan
and the part he, Sherman, was to take. Sherman says that Grant told
him "that the men of Thomas's army had been so demoralized by the
battle of Chickamauga that he feared they could not be got out
of their trenches to assume the offensive," and that "the Army of
the Cumberland had so long been in the trenches that he wanted my
troops to hurry up to take the offensive FIRST, after which he had
no doubt the Cumberland Army would fight well." So, under Grant's
plan, the Army of the Cumberland was to stand by and be taught
a grand object lesson how to fight, as given by Sherman. During
the course of the engagement the plan was modified twice. Under
the original plan, Sherman was to make a demonstration up Lookout
Valley, in the expectation that Bragg would strengthen his left at
the expense of his right, thereby making Sherman's part of the plan
so much the lighter as the line on his battle front was weakened.
To carry this out Hugh Ewing's division was sent to Trenton, but
this accomplished nothing. Grant fearing that Bragg's right might
be too strong for Sherman to give his lesson to the Army of the
Cumberland properly, finding Osterhaus's division cut off from
Sherman, ordered it to report to Hooker, who was directed to take
it and Geary's division with Cruft's division of the Fourth Corps
and make a demonstration on the rebel left at Lookout Mountain,
to attract the attention of Bragg while Sherman was getting into
position to take "the end of Missionary Ridge as far as the tunnel."
Hooker, on the day previous, learning that Howard's corps was going
into Chattanooga, and probably into the fight, asked to be allowed
his right to be with his troops under fire. Under his original
order he was simply to hold Lookout Valley, which he did not relish
if part of his command should engage the enemy. When his orders
came to "make a demonstration" he determined he would take Lookout
Mountain and drive Bragg's left out of his works. With less than
ten thousand troops, over two-thirds of whom were the Army of the
Cumberland, Hooker fought his "Battle above the Clouds," that will
last in history forever, and grow in fancy and song as the years
roll on. Hooker took Lookout Mountain and drove the rebel left
to Rossville, over five miles, before Sherman reached the tunnel.
He made Sherman's task none the easier, however, because Bragg then
threw the two divisions Hooker had whipped upon Sherman's front.

Then, when Sherman had been fighting for nearly two days, and had
failed to make the headway Grant's plan contemplated, the plan
underwent another modification. On the 25th, Grant ordered Thomas
to move out his troops from the centre, to make another "demonstration"
in Sherman's behalf, so he could take the tunnel in accordance with
the original plan. Thomas was ordered to take the first line of
rifle-pits and hold his command there, while Bragg was expected
to draw off part of his troops from Sherman's front and strengthen
his line in front of the "demonstration." Thomas's orders to his
corps and division generals were given in accordance with Grant's
instructions, and as the orders reached the brigade and regimental
commanders, as far as the officers were concerned the movement was
only to be a "demonstration." When the troops reached the rebel
line, captured it, and then found themselves under the heavy fire
from the enemy's lines on the heights above, without orders, and
even against orders, the soldiers of the Army of the Cumberland,
who were "so demoralized that they would not fight," pressed up
the face of the ridge under the deadly musketry fire that greeted
them, with cannon in front, to the right and the left, raking with
converging fire, and won for General Grant the battle of Missionary
Ridge, driving Bragg away from Sherman's front and thus enabling him
to take the tunnel as ordered. Whenever the victory of Missionary
Ridge shall be narrated on history's page, this gallant charge of
the brave men of Wood's and Sheridan's divisions, with those of Baird
and Johnson on their left and right, will always be the prominent
feature of the engagement as told in the coming years, and will be
the last to lose its glory and renown.

No wonder that General Grant failed to appreciate this movement at
the time, not understanding the troops who had it in charge. When
he found these commands ascending the ridge to capture it when he
ordered a "demonstration" to be made to the foot of the hill and
there to wait, he turned sharply to General Thomas and asked, "By
whose orders are those troops going up the hill?" General Thomas,
taking in the situation at once, suggested that it was probably
their own. General Grant remarked that "it was all right if it
turned out all right," and added, "if not, some one would suffer."
But it turned out "all right," and Grant in his official report
compliments the troops for "following closely the retreating enemy
without further orders." General Thomas, in his official report,
after narrating the events of the 23d 24th, and 25th of November,
quietly says: "It will be seen by the above report that the original
plan of operations was somewhat modified to meet and take the best
advantage of emergencies which necessitated material modifications
of that plan. It is believed, however, that the original plan had
it been carried out could not possibly have led to more successful

Appendix A.

Organization of the Fourteenth Army Corps, Dept. of the Cumberland.

Major-General W. S. Rosecrans, Commanding.

December 20, 1862.


Major-General Geo. H. Thomas.

First Division.

Brigadier-General S. S. Fry.

FIRST BRIGADE.--Col. M. B. Walker, 82d Ind., 12th Ky., 17th O.,
31st O., 38th O. SECOND BRIGADE.--Col. J. M. Harlan, 10th Ind.,
74th Ind., 4th Ky., 10th Ky., 14th O. THIRD BRIGADE.--Brig.-General
J. B. Steedman, 87th Ind., 2d Minn., 9th O., 35th O., 18th U.S.
ARTILLERY.--4th Mich. Battery, 1st O. Battery "C.," 4th U.S. Battery

Third Division.

Brigadier-General L. H. Rousseau.

NINTH BRIGADE.--Col. B. F. Scribner, 38th Ind., 2d O., 33d O., 94th
O., 10th Wis. SEVENTEENTH BRIGADE.--Col. J. G. Jones, 42d Ind.,
88th Ind., 15th Ky., 3d O., 10th O. TWENTY-EIGHTH BRIGADE.--Col.
H. A. Hambright, 24th Ill., 79th Penn., 1st Wis., 21st Wis.
ARTILLERY.--4th Ind. Battery, 5th Ind. Battery, 1st Ky., 1st Mich.
Battery "A." CAVALRY.--2d Ky. (Battalion), 11th Ky. (Detachment),
4th Ind. (Detachment).

Eighth Division.

Brigadier-General J. S. Negley.

SEVENTH BRIGADE.--Col. John F. Miller, 37th Ind., 78th Penn., 21st
O., 74th O., Independent Battalion, Capt. Casey. TWENTY-NINTH
BRIGADE.--Col. T. R. Stanley, 19th Ill., 11th Mich., 18th O., 69th
O. ARTILLERY.--1st Ky. Battery "B.," 1st O. Battery "G.," 1st O.
Battery "M." CAVALRY.--7th Penn., 1st Tenn.

Seventh Division.

Brigadier-General J. M. Palmer.

FIRST BRIGADE.--Col. G. W. Roberts, 22d Ill., 27th Ill., 42d Ill.,
51st Ill. SECOND BRIGADE.--Brig.-General J. D. Morgan, 10th Ill.,
16th Ill., 60th Ill., 10th Mich., 14th Mich. ARTILLERY.--1st Ill.
Battery "C.," 10th Wis. Battery. CAVALRY.--7th Ill. Co. "C."

Twelfth Division.

Brigadier-General E. Dumont.

FORTIETH BRIGADE.--Col. A. O. Miller, 98th Ill., 72d Ind., 75th
Ind. --- BRIGADE.--Gen. W. T. Ward, 102d Ill., 105th Ill., 70th
Ind., 79th O. ARTILLERY.--18th Ind. Battery. CAVALRY.--4th Ind.
(Detachment), 7th Ky., 11 Ky. (Detachment).


Major-General A. McD. McCook.

Second Division.

Brigadier-General J. W. Sill.

FOURTH BRIGADE.--Col. Buckley, 6th Ind., 5th Ky., 1st O., 93d O.,
18th U.S., 19th U.S. FIFTH BRIGADE.--Col. E. N. Kirk, 34th Ill.,
79th Ill., 29th Ind., 30th Ind., 77th Penn. SIXTH BRIGADE.--Brig.-General
Willich, 89th Ill., 32d Ind., 39th Ind., 15th O., 49th O.
ARTILLERY.--1st O. Battery "A.," 1st O. Battery "E.," 5th U.S.
Battery "L." CAVALRY.--2d Ky. (2 Cos).

Ninth Division.

Brigadier-General J. C. Davis.

THIRTIETH BRIGADE.*--59th Ill., 74th Ill., 75th Ill., 22nd Ind.
THIRTY-FIRST BRIGADE.*--21st Ill., 38th Ill., 101st O., 15th Wis.
THIRTY-SECOND BRIGADE.*--25th Ill., 35th Ill., 81st Ind., 8th Kan.
ARTILLERY.--2d Minn. Battery, 5th Wis. Battery, 8th Wis. Battery.

Eleventh Division.

Brigadier-General P. H. Sheridan.

THIRTY-FIFTH BRIGADE.--Col. F. Schaefer, 44th Ill., 72d Ill., 2d
Mo., 15th Mo. THIRTY-SIXTH BRIGADE.--Col. Moore, 85th Ill., 86th
Ill., 125th Ill., 52d O. THIRTY-SEVENTH BRIGADE.--Col. N. Grensel,
36th Ill., 88th Ill., 21st Mich., 24th Wis. ARTILLERY.--2d Ill.
Battery "I.," 1st Mo. Battery "G." CAVALRY.--2d Ky. Co. "L."


Major-General T. L. Crittenden.

Fourth Division.

Brigadier-General W. S. Smith.

TENTH BRIGADE.--Col W. Grose, 84th Ill., 36th Ind., 23d Ky., 6th
O., 24th O. NINETEENTH BRIGADE.--Col. W. B. Hazen, 110th Ill.,
9th Ind., 6th Ky., 41st O. TWENTY-SECOND BRIGADE.--Col. Enyart,
31st Ind., 1st Ky., 2d Ky., 20th Ky., 90th O. ARTILLERY.+--Capt.

Fifth Division.

Brigadier-General H. P. Van Cleve.

ELEVENTH BRIGADE.--Col. Sam'l Beatty, 79th Ind., 9th Ky., 19th O.,
59th O. FOURTEENTH BRIGADE.--Col. J. P. Fyffe, 44th Ind., 86th
Ind., 11th Ky., 18th O. TWENTY-THIRD BRIGADE.--Col. S. Matthews,
35th Ind., 8th Ky., 21st Ky., 51st O., 99th O. Artillery.+--Capt.
G. R. Swallow.

Sixth Division.

Brigadier-General M. S. Hascall.

FIFTEENTH BRIGADE.--Col. G. P. Buell, 100th Ill., 17th Ind., 58th
Ind., 3d Ky., 26th O. TWENTIETH BRIGADE.--Col. C. G. Harker,
51st Ind., 72d Ind., 13th Mich., 64th O., 65th O. TWENTY-FIRST
BRIGADE.--Col. G. D. Wagner, 15th Ind., 40th Ind., 57th Ind., 97th
O. ARTILLERY.+--Maj. S. Race.


Brigadier-General Stanley.

First Division.

Colonel Kennett.

FIRST BRIGADE.--Col. E. H. Murray, 2d Ind., 1st Ky., 3d Ky., 4th
Ky., 4th Mich., 7th Penn. SECOND BRIGADE.--Col. L. Zahm, 5th Ky.,
1st O., 3d O., 4th O., 1st O. Artillery, Batter "D."


1st Mich. Engineers, 9th Mich. (Detach.), 3d E. Tenn., 6th E.
Tenn., 15th Penn. Cavalry, 4th U.S. Cavalry (Detach.), Signal Corps,
Stokes' Ill. Battery.


BOWLING GREEN, KY.--Brig.-Gen. Granger, 129th Ill., 26th Ky., 23d
Mich., 102d O., 111th O., 4th Ky. Cavalry. NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Brig.-Gen.
R. B. Mitchell, 1st Mid. Tenn., 11th Ind. Battery, 12th Ind. Battery,
1st Mich. Artillery, 5th Battery. 3d Ind. Cavalry (1 Co.)

---* Brigade commanders not indicated on return. + Batteries not
indicated on return.


Organization of Troops in the Dept. of the Cumberland, Commanded
by Major General George H. Thomas, Chattanooga, Tenn., Oct. 20th,


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