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formed the first line, ranging from Lee and Gordon's Mill northward; and the remainder were posted on the right, in reserve. Minty and Wilder, with their mounted men, were on the extreme left, watching the crossings of the roads from Ringgold, and Napier Gap, at Reed and Alexander's bridges.
Meanwhile Bragg had been making dispositions for attacking Rosecrans's left. His scouts, looking down from Pigeon Mountain, had observed the exact position of the Army of the Cumberland, and the Confederate leader had the advantage of knowing the strong and weak points of his foe, while his own position was more than half concealed. Bragg concentrated his
army on the eastern side of the Chickamauga, and, early on the morning of the 18th, when the advance of Longstreet's corps, under Hood, was coming up, he massed his troops heavily on his right, attacked Minty and Wilder, who fought gallantly at the bridges, and pushed the National left back to the Lafayette and Rossville road. Early in the evening, Hood, with a division, took poston Bragg's extreme right. Bushrod Johnson's Virginians took a firm position on the west side of the creek, and, before mid
1 This is from a sketch made by the author, in May, 1866. The spring is really the outlet of a large subterranean brook, that here flows out at the foot of a rocky, wooded hill, whose summit is about fifty feet above. It was on the estate of the Widow Gordon, whose fine brick mansion stood near. There Lieutenant Murdoch, a gallant young officer, wounded in the Battle of Chickamauga, died. Near the spring was the house of Lowry, the second chief of the Cherokees. Here was the hospital of the Army of the Cumberland at the time of the Battle of Chickamanga
THOMAS DEFEATS BRAGG'S PLANS.
night, nearly two-thirds of the Confederates had crossed over, and held all the fords of the Chickamauga, from Lee and Gordon's Mill, far toward the Missionaries' Ridge.
Bragg was now ready for battle, on the general plan pursued by him at Stone's River, namely, crushing, by superior weight, a flank of his foe, and
gaining his rear and his
communications. Bragg formed his army into two corps, the right commanded by General Polk, and the left by General Longstreet, Hood taking the place of the latter until the arrival of his chief. Arrangements were made for crossing the Chickamauga at
different points simultaneously, from Lee and Gordon's Mill northward, in heavy force, so as to fall heavily on the National left, while the front should be hard pressed, and the passes of Pigeon Mountain well guarded by Wheeler's cavalry, to prevent a flank attack from that direction. But the wise movements of the Nationals during the night disconcerted Bragg's well-laid plans, and, instead of finding Rosecrans comparatively weak on his left, he found him positively strong. By a continuous night-march up the Dry Valley road, Thomas, with his heavy corps, followed by a
THOMAS'S POSITION NEAR KELLEY'S FARM.? part of McCook's corps, had reached an assigned position on a southern spur of Missionaries' Ridge, near Kelley's Farm, on the Lafayette and Rossville road, facing Reed and
Alexander's burnt bridges; and there, a mile or two to the left of * Sept., 1863.
Crittenden's corps, early on the morning of the 19th,' he proceeded to strike without waiting to be struck. He was informed by Colonel D. McCook, who, with his brigade of reserves, had been holding the front
i This is from a sketch made by the author in May, 1866. This mill is on the left bank of the Chickamauga Creek, and near the Lafayette and Rossville road, about twelve miles south of Chattanooga. In this view the mill-dam is seen. The banks of the stream are here precipitous and rocky.
? This sketch is given to show the general character of the battle-ground, which was mostly wooded; and much of the heaviest fighting was in the forest, along the line of the Rossville and Lafayette road.
BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA.
at that point during the night, that a Confederate brigade was on that side of the Chickamauga, apparently alone, and that as he (McCook) had destroyed Reed's bridge behind them, he thought they might easily be captured. Thomas at once ordered General Brannan to advance with two brigades on the road to Reed's bridge, while Baird should throw forward the right of his division on the road to Alexander's bridge, and in that manner attempt to capture the isolated brigade. This brought on a battle.
While Thomas's troops were making the prescribed movements, a portion of Palmer's division of Crittenden's corps came up and took post on Baird's right; and at about ten o'clock in the morning Croxton's brigade of Brannan's division became sharply engaged with Forrest's cavalry, which was strongly supported by the infantry brigades of Ector and Wilson, from Walker's column. Back upon these Croxton had driven Forrest, when the latter was stoutly resisted. Then Thomas sent Baird's division to aid Croxton, and after a desperate struggle the Confederates were hurled back with much slaughter. Walker now threw Liddle's division into the fight, making the odds much against the Nationals, when the latter were in turn driven; and the pursuers, dashing through the lines of three regiments of regulars (Fourteenth, Sixteenth, and Eighteenth United States troops), captured two batteries and over five hundred prisoners. One of the batteries lost was Loomis's, of Michigan, which had done so much service from the beginning of the war, that the very metal and wood were objects of affection. In the charge of the Confederates all its horses and most of its men were killed or wounded. Its commander, Lieutenant Van Pelt, refused to leave it, and he died by the side of his guns, fighting a regiment of men with his single saber.
At the critical moment when this charge was made, Johnson's division of McCook's corps, and Reynolds's, of Thomas's, came rapidly up, and were immediately thrown into the fight. So also was Palmer's division of Crittenden's corps, which took position on Baird's right. The Nationals now outnumbered and outflanked the Confederates, attacked them furiously, and drove them back in great disorder for a mile and a half on their reserves near the creek, and killing General Preston Smith. By this charge, the lost battery was recovered, and Brannan and Baird were enabled to re-form their shattered columns. The position of the Confederates on the creek, between the two bridges already mentioned, was so strong, that it was not deemed prudent to assail it. Then there was a lull in the battle for an hour, during which Brannan and Baird took position on commanding ground between McDaniel's house and Reid's bridge, with orders to hold it to the last extremity. It was now about four o'clock in the afternoon.
At five o'clock the Confederates renewed the battle, by throwing the divisions of Liddle and Gist in heavy charges upon Reynolds's right, and while Thomas was trying to concentrate his forces, they fell with equal fury on Johnson, Baird, and Van Cleve, producing some confusion, and threatening the destruction of that part of the line. Fortunately, General Hazen had been sent back to the Rossville road, to take charge of a park of artillery, composed of four batteries, containing twenty guns, which had been left there without guards. These Hazen quickly put into position, on a ridge, with such infantry supports as he could hastily collect, and brought
BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA.
them to bear upon the Confederates, at short range, as they dashed into the road in pursuit of the flying Nationals. This caused them to recoil in disorder, and thereby the day was saved on the left. Just at sunset General Cleburne made a charge upon Johnson's front with a division of Hill's corps, and pressed up to the National lines, but secured no positive advantage.
There had been some lively artillery work on the National right during the day, and in an attack by three of Bragg's brigades in succession, one of the National batteries (three guns) was for a time in possession of the foe. But the assailants were soon driven back, and the guns were recovered. At. three o'clock in the afternoon Hood threw two of his divisions, (his own and that of Bushrod Johnson) upon Davis's division of McCook's corps, pushing it back and capturing the Eighth Indiana Battery. Davis fought with great pertinacity until near sunset, when Bradley's brigade, of Sheri
division, came to his aid. Then a successful counter-charge was made, the foe was driven back, the battery was retaken, and a number of prisoners were captured from the Confederates. When night fell the battle ceased, with apparent advantage to the Nationals. They had lost no ground; had -repulsed the assailants at all points, and made a net gain of three guns. But they were clearly outnumbered. Nearly the whole army had been engaged in the struggles of the day, and no re-enforcements were near. The Confederates had not many fresh reserves; and that night Hindman came up with his division, and Longstreet arrived with two brigales of McLaws's
veterans from Virginia. Longstreet took command of Bragg's Sept., 1563.
left; and on the morning of the 20th," the Confederates had full seventy thousand men opposed to fifty-five thousand Nationals.'
Preparations were now made for a renewal of the struggle in the morning, which Rosecrans knew must be severe. After hearing the reports of his corps commanders, he ordered General Negley, who had come down from the extreme right during the afternoon and fought his way to Van Cleve's side, to report to General Thomas early in the morning. MeCook was ordered to replace Negley's troops by one of his own divisions, and to close
up well on Thomas, so as to cover the position at the Widow Glenn's house, at which the latter now had his head-quarters. Crittenden was ordered to hold two of his divisions in reserve, ready to support McCook or Thomas, as circumstances might require. These orders were issued at an early hour, and the remainder of the night was spent in needed repose.
1 The troops engaged in this struggle were commanded by the following officers :-NATIONAL Troops.Fourteenth Corpx-General Thomas, four divisions, commanded by Generals Bairil, Negley, Brannan, and Reynolds. centieth Corps-General McCook, three divisions, commanded by Generals Davis, Johnson, anıl Sheridan. Twenty-first Corps-Three divisions, commanded by Generals Wood, Palmer, and Van Cleve. Reserred Corps-General Granger, two divisions, commanded by Generals Steedman and Morgan. The division of General R. S. Granger, of this corps, and two brigades of Morgan's division, were not present. Caralry Corps-General Stanley, two divisions, commanded by Colonel E. M. McCook and General George Crooke, General Stanley being too sick to take the field, General R. B. Mitchell commanded the cavalry in the battle of Chickamauga.
Confederate Troopa—General J. Longstreet's corps, three divísions, commanded by Generals J. B. Hood, E. M. McLaws, and B. R. Johnson. General L. Polk's corps, three divisions, commanded by Generals B. F. Cheatham, T. C. Hindman, and P. Anderson. General D. II. IIill's corps, two divisions, commanded by Gencrals Patrick Cleburne (called the “Stonewall Jackson of the Southwest ") and J. C. Breckinridge. General S. B. Buckner's corps, two divisións, commanded by Generals A. P. Stewart and W. Preston. General W. H. T. Walker's corps, two divisions, commanded by Generals J. R. Liddell and S. R. Gist. General J. Wheeler's
corps, two divisions, commanded by Genefais S. A. Wharton and W. Martin. General N. B. Forrest's corps, two divisions, commanded by Generals F. Arinstrong and J. Pegram.
BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA.
Bragg had likewise made preparations for a vigorous attack at dawn. Longstreet arrived at eleven o'clock in the evening, and immediately received his. instructions as commander of the left, where his own troops were stationed; and Polk was ordered to assail the Nationals at daylight, and “to take up the attack in succession rapidly to the left. The left wing was to await the attack by the right, and take it up promptly when made, and the whole line was then to be pushed vigorously and persistently against the enemy throughout its extent." 1
The battle was to have been opened at dawn by Hill, whose corps was to fall upon the National left. Before that hour Bragg was in the saddle, and he waited with great impatience for the sound of battle when day dawned, for he had heard the noise of axes and the falling of trees during the night, indicating that his adversary was intrenching. But Polk was silent, and when Bragg rode to the right, he found that the reverend leader had not even prepared for the movement. He renewed his orders, but another golden opportunity for Bragg was passed. At the hour appointed for the attack, Thomas was comparatively weak, for Negley had not yet joined him, and Rosecrans, riding along his lines at dawn, had found his troops on his left: not so concentrated as he wished. The defect was speedily remedied. Under cover of a dense fog that shrouded the whole country, re-enforcements joined Thomas, until nearly one-half of the Army of the Cumberland present was under his command, behind breastworks of logs, raủls, and earth, which his industrious troops had piled in the space of a few hours.
When the fog lifted, between eight and nine o'clock," Breckinridge, of Hill's corps, with fresh divisions, was found facing and partly overlapping Thomas's extreme left, held by Baird, and flanking Sept. 20, it. Breckinridge instantly advanced, and, fighting desperately, pushed across the Rossville road toward a prescribed position. Other divisions in succession toward Bragg's center followed this example, the intention being to carry out the original plan of interposing an overwhelming force between Rosecrans and Chattanooga, which Thomas had prevented the previous day. At this moment Beatty's brigade of Negley's division, moving from the National right center, went into action by the side of Baird, on the extreme left, and checked Breckinridge's advance; but both he and Baird were outnumbered, and the latter began to lose ground. Several regiments of Johnson's division were pushed forward to his support, and these, with Vandever's brigade of Brannan's division, and a part of Stanley's, of Wood's division, so strengthened the wavering line, that Breckinridge was thrown back in much disorder, with the loss of Generals Helm ? and Deshler, killed, his chief of artillery (Major Graves) mortally wounded, and General D. Adams severely so. He rallied his troops on a commanding ridge, with his guns well posted, and then fought desperately, re-enforced from time to time by the divisions of Walker, Cheatham, Cleburne, and Stewart. Fearfully the battle raged at that point, with varying fortunes for the combatants. The carnage on both sides was frightful, and for awhile
1 Bragg's Report of the Battle of Chickamauga," published by order of Congress," in 1964, page 13.
? Bragg said in his report: “The reasons assigned for this unfortunate delay by the wing commander appear in part in the reports of his subordinates. It is sufficient to say they are entirely unsatisfactory."
3 The wife of General Helm was a half-sister of the wife of President Lincoln.