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ATTACK ON FORT SANDERS.
thirty to eighty rods in front were rifle-pits and abatis for the shelter and use of the advanced line, should it be driven back; and between these and the fort strong wires were stretched from stump to stump, a foot above the
ground, in an entangling net-work that would trip and confuse a storming party. The armament of the fort consisted of four 20-pounder Parrott guns, forming the battery of Lieutenant Benjamin, Burnside's chief of artillery ; four light 12-pounders, forming Buckley's battery, and two three-inch guns.
All that was done by Longstreet on the night of the attack was to drive in the National advance, and seize and hold the rifle-pits. Just
. Nov, 29, after six o'clock the next morning he opened a furious cannonade from his batteries in advance of Armstrong's. This was answered by Roemer's battery, on College Hill, and was soon followed by a tremendous yell from the Confederates, as they rushed forward at the double-quick to storm the fort. These were picked men, the flower of Longstreet's army; and, in obedience to orders, one brigade pressed forward to the close assault, two brigades supporting it, while two others watched the National line, and kept up a continual fire. The tumult was awful for a few minutes, for it was composed of the yells of voices, the rattle of musketry, the thunder of cannon, and the screams of shells. The charging party moved swiftly forward to the abatis, which somewhat confused their line. The wire network was a worse obstacle, and whole companies were prostrated by it. While they were thus bewildered, the double-shotted guns of General Ferrero, the skillful commander of the fort, were playing fearfully on the Confederates, under the direction of Benjamin. Yet the assailants pressed on, gained the ditch, and attempted to scale the parapet. One officer (Colonel McElroy) actually gained the summit, and planted the flag of the Thirteenth Mississippi there, but a moment afterward his body, pierced by a
1 This is from a sketch made by the author in the spring of 1866, looking in the direction of Longstreet's approach. Below the single bird is seen Longstreet's head-quarters-Armstrong's. Below the two birds, in the middle-ground, was the place of Longstreet's principal batteries, in advance of Armstrong's. The man and dog, in front, are on the bastion where the principal assault was made. The stumps to which the wires mentioned in the text were attached, and some of the net-work, was yet there when the sketch was made.
? The storming party consisted of three brigades of General McLaws's division-Wolford's, Cobb's, and Phillips's, all Georgians; General Humphreys's brigade of Mississippians, and a brigade composed of the remains of Anderson's and Bryant's, consisting of South Carolina and Georgia regiments. The leader of the Mississippi troops was the present (1868) Governor Humphreys, of Mississippi
SIEGE OF KNOXVILLE RAISED.
lozen bullets, rolled, with his flag, into the ditch, which Benjamin's guns in the salient swept with a murderous enfilading fire. That hero actually took: shells in his hand, ignited the fuses, and threw them over into the ditch with terrible effect. The storm was too heavy for the assailants there, and about, three hundred of them surrendered. Then the assault ceased. Fort Sanders was saved, and with it, without doubt, Knoxville, and possibly Burnside's. army: Longstreet had promised his soldiers that they should dine in Knoxville that day; but they were otherwise engaged, in burying their dead outside of its defenses, by permission of General Burnside, who lent them ambulances to remove the bodies of their comrades within the Confederate lines.
While Burnside was thus resisting Longstreet, heavy columns were moving to assist him. So soon as he was assured of victory at Chattanooga, on the night of the 25th,“ General Grant ordered General Granger, with his own (Fourth) corps, and detachments from others, twenty thousand strong, to re-enforce Burnside. Sherman was ordered in the same direction, so as to make the business of relief surely successful, and on the night of the 30th he was at Charleston, where the East Tennessee and Georgia railway crosses the Hiawassee River. There was also Howard, Davis, and Blair, who had concentrated at Cleveland the day before; and there Sherman received orders from Grant to take command of all the troops moving to the relief of Knoxville, and to press forward as rapidly as possible. This was done. The army crossed the Hiawassee the next morning, and pushed on toward Loudon, Howard in advance, to save the pontoon bridge there. The Confederates stationed at that point burned it when Howard approached, and fled,' and Sherman's entire force, including Granger's troops, was compelled to move along the south sidle of the river, with the expectation of crossing Burnside's bridge at Knoxville. Sherman sent forward his cavalry, which entered the Union lines on the 3d, when Longstreet, finding his flank turned and an overwhelming force of adversaries near, raised the siege and retreated toward Russellville, in the direction of Virginia, pursued by Burnsides forces. Thus ended the SIEGE OF Knoxville, a day or two before the beginning of which occurred the memorable raid of General Averill upon the railway east. of it, already mentioned.' Burnside issued a congratulatory order to his troops after Longstreet's flight, and a few days afterward" another was promulgated, which directed the naming of the forts and batteries at Knoxville, that constituted its defenses, in honor of officers who fell there."
* Nov. 1868.
► Dec. 2.
• Dec. 5.
. Dec. 11.
1 The ground in front of the fort was strewn with the dead and wounded. In the ditch, alone, were over two hundred dead and wounded, including two colonels-McElroy, of the Thirteenth Mississippi, and Thomas, of the Sixteenth Georgia-killed." In this terrible ditch," says a Confederate historian, “the dead were piled eight or ten feet deep. In comparatively an instant of time we lost 700 men, in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Never, excepting at Gettysburg, was there in the history of the war a disaster adorned with the glory of such devoted courage, as Longstreet's repulse at Knoxville.”— Pollard's Third Year of the War, 163. The National loss in the fort was only eight killed and seven wounded. Pollard says: “ The Yankees lost not more than twenty men killed and wounded." The entire Union Joss in the assault was about one hundred.
,? See page 113.
3 “The Army of the Ohio," he said, " has nobly guarded the loyal region it redeemed from its oppressors, and rendered the heroic defense of Knoxville memorable in the annals of the war."
• The following is a list of the forts and batteries, their position and their names, as mentioned in Burn.. side's order: Battery Noble, south of Kingston road, in memory of Lieutenant and Adjutant William Noble, Second Michigan, Fort Byington, at the College, in memory of Major Cornelius Byington, Second Michigan. Battery Galpin, east of Second Creek, in memory of Lieutenant Galpin, Second Michigan. Fort Comstock, on Summit Hill, in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Comstock, Seventeenth Michigan. Battery Wiltsie, west of Gay Street, in memory of Captain Wiltsie, Twentieth Michigan. Fort Huntington Smith, on Temperance Hill, in memory of Lieutenant Huntington Smith, Twentieth Michigan. Battery Clifton Lee, cast of Fort H. Smith, in memory of Captain Clifton Lee, One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois Mounted Infantry. Fort Hill, at the extreme eastern point of the Union lines, in memory of Captain Hill, Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry. Battery Fearns, on
REJOICINGS OF THE LOYAL PEOPLE.
With the re-enforcements brought by Granger, Burnside felt able to cope with Longstreet, and advised the return of Sherman's troops to Knoxville, because Bragg, informed of the weakness of that post on account of their absence, might return in force and place it in great peril, at least. Sherman accordingly fell back, and before the close of December his troops were in winter quarters in the vicinity of Chattanooga. Bragg had already been relieved of command, at his own request, his forces turned over to the equally incompetent Hardee, and, as we have seen, a commission was given to the former, which charged him with the conduct of the military operations of the Confederacy."! Already the hearts of the loyal people of the land were overflowing with joy and gratitude because of the victories at Chattanooga
and Knoxville. The President recommended them to meet in their respective places of worship, and render united thanks to God “ for the great advancement of the National cause;" and in
a brief letter to Grant, he thanked that soldier and his men for their skill and bravery in securing a "lodgment at Chattanooga and Knox
ville.” Congress voted thanks and a gold medal for Grant,' and
directed the President of the Republic to cause the latter to be struck “with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions.” Grant was the recipient of other tokens of regard of various kinds; and the Legislatures of New York and Ohio voted him thanks in the name of the people of those
• Dec. 7,
e Dec. 17.
The writer visited the theater of events recorded in this and the two chapters immediately preceding it, in the spring of 1866. He left Murfreesboro' on the morning of the 10th of May,' with his traveling companions already mentioned (Messrs. Dreer and Greble), and went by railway to Chattanooga. It was a very interesting journey, for along the entire route, at brief intervals, we saw vestiges of the great war in the form of forts, intrenchments, rifle-pits, block-houses, chimneys of ruined dwellings, battered trees, and the marks of wide-spread desolation. The block-houses were conspicuous, and sometimes picturesque, features in the landscape, and each one had a stirring history of its own. One of these, at Normandy (of which the sketch on the next page is a representation), built by a detachment of the One Hundred and Fiftieth New York, under Captain Richard Titus, was a good specimen. We noticed it just at the opening of a deep cove in the hills at the southern verge of the Duck River Valley, and from that point to Chatta
lint Hill, in memory of Lieutenant and Adjutant C. W. Fearns, Forty-fifth Ohio Mounted Infantry. Battery Zoellner, between Fort Sanders and Second Creek, in memory of Lieutenant Frank Zoellner, Second Michigan. Battery Stearman, in the gorge between Temperance Hill and Mabrey's Hill, in memory of Lieutenant William Stearman, Thirteenth Kentucky. Fort Stanley, comprising all the works on the central hill on the south side of the river, in memory of Captain C. B. Stanley, Forty-fifth Ohio Mounted Infantry. Battery Billingsley, between Gay Street and First Creek, in memory of Lieutenant J. Billingsley, Seventeenth Michigan. Fort Higley, comprising all the works on the hill west of the railway embankment, south side of the river, in mem. ory of Captain Joel P. Higley. Fort Dickerson, comprising all the works between Fort Stanley and Fort Hig. ley, in memory of Captain Jonathan Dickerson, One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois Mounted Infantry. 1 See page 142.
? See page 558, volume II.