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THE NATIONAL ARMY ON THE TENNESSEE.
took the general direction of the railway; the divisions of Reynolds and Brannan moving from University on the mountain top, by way of Battle Creek, to its mouth, and those of Negley and Baird by Tantallon and Crow Creek. McCook's moved to the right of the railway, Johnson's division by way of Salem and Larkin's Ford, to Bellefonte; and Crittenden's, designed to feel the enemy and menace Chattanooga with a direct attack, moved well eastward in three columns, commanded respectively by Generals Wood, Van Cleve, and Palmer, with Minty's cavalry on the extreme left, marching by way of Sparta to drive Confederate horsemen from the vicinity of Kingston, strike Buckner's force in the rear, and to cover Van Cleve's column, as it passed at the head of the Sequatchie Valley. From that valley Crittenden sent two brigades of mounted men, under Minty and Wilder, and two of infantry, under Hazen and Wagner, over Walden's Ridge, to proceed to points on the Tennessee, near and above Chattanooga, and make the feigned attack. General Hazen' was in chief command of these four brigades in the Tennessee Valley, with instructions to watch all the crossings of the river for seventy miles above Chattanooga, and to give Bragg the impression that the whole of Rosecrans's army was about to cross near that town. Hazen's command had four batteries of artillery.
In the course of four or five days the mountain ranges were crossed, and the Army of the Cumberland, stretching along the line of the Tennessee River for more than a hundred miles of its course, was preparing to cross that stream at different points, for the purpose of closing around Chattanooga, to crush or starve the Confederate army there. Pontoon-boat, raft, and trestle bridges were constructed at Shellmound, the mouth of Battle Creek, Bridgeport, Caperton's Ferry, and Bellefonte. So early . August, 1863. as the 20th,. Hazen reconnoitered Harrison's, above Chattanooga, and then took post at Poe's cross-roads, fifteen miles from the latter place; and on the following day, Wilder's cannon thundering from the eminences opposite Chattanooga, and the voice of his shells screaming over the Confederate camp, startled Bragg with a sense of imminent danger. At the same time Hazen was making “show marches," displaying camp-fires at different points, and causing the fifteen regiments of his command to appear like the advance of an immense army. This menace was soon followed by information that Thomas and McCook were preparing to cross below, and that the remainder of Crittenden's corps was swarming on the borders of the river, at the foot of Walden's Ridge, below Chattanooga.
Thomas passed over with his corps at different places, from Caperton's up to Shellmound, and crossed the mountain not far from the latter place, near which is the famous Nickajack Cave, where the Confederates had extensive salt peter works. On the 8th of September he had concentrated his forces near Trenton, in the valley of the Lookout Creek, at the western foot of Lookout Mountain, and seized Frick's and Stevens's Gaps, the only practicable passes into the broad valley east of Lookout, and stretching toward Chattanooga, called McLemore's Clove. McCook also crossed, advanced to Valley Head, and took possession of Winston's Gap on the 6th, and a large portion of Crittenden's corps passed over and took post the same
1 See page 546, volume II.
BRAGG ABANDONS CHATTANOOGA.
day at Wauhatchie, near the Point of Lookout Mountain, where it abuts upon the Tennessee River, well up toward Chattanooga, and threatening
that post by the pass called the Nickajack Trace.
Having passed the first mountain ranges south of the Tennessee without opposition, and be ing informed of the movements of Confederates from East Tennessee to Chattanooga, Rosecrans determined to ad
vance his right NICKAJACK CAVE
through the Lookout Mountain passes, and with his cavalry on his extreme right, threaten Bragg's railway communications between Dalton and Resaca Bridge, while his left and center should move through other passes upon the Confederate
front. Anticipating this, when he discovered that the main Sept. 7, 8,
army was below, Bragg abandoned Chattanooga," passed through 1863.
the gaps of the Missionaries' Ridge’ to the West Chickamauga 1 This cave is at the base of Raccoon Mountain, and its wide mouth may be plainly seen from the Shellmound Station, about twenty miles from Chattanooga. The mountain there rises abruptly more than a thousand feet above the level of the Tennessee, and in the face of a perpendicular cliff is the entrance to the cave. It is not irregularly arched, as such caves generally are, but is in horizontal strata of rock that gives one an idea of the grand Egyptian architecture. The roof is so high above the floor, that a man may ride into it a considerable distance on horseback, Out of it flows a considerable stream of water of a light green color. The opening is about one hundred feet in width and forty feet in height. This cave was one of the chief sources from which the Confederates derived saltpeter, and its possession was of great importance to them. In earlier times it was the habitation of a band of robbers, who murdered and plundered emigrants and traders when descending the Tennessee River.
2 The writer was informed by the late John Ross (see page 476, volume I.), the eminent Cherokee chief that this undulating ridge, which passes three miles east of Chattanooga and rises about three hundred feet above the Tennessee River, was named the Missionaries' Ridge because missionaries among the Cherokees bad a station on the southeastern slope of it. The site of Chattanooga was known as Ross's Landing, the chief having a warehouse and trading port there. His dwelling was near a pass in the Missionaries' Ridge, about five miles from Chattanooga, and was yet standing and well preserved when the writer visited that region and sketched it in May, 1866. It was a long, low building, two stories in height, with heavy stone chimneys. It was called Rossville. A few rods in front of it was the dividing line between Tenneesee
ROSS'S HOUSE. and Georgia. In the picture, the wooded Missionaries' Ridge is seen just in the rear. Near it is a famous spring, known all over that region. Mr. Ross told the writer that the word Chattanooga was Cherokee, and meant "The Great Catch," the Tennessee River at the bends there around Cameron's Hill and Mocassin Point being celebrated as a place for catching many fish.
OPERATIONS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO.
THOMAS L. CRITTENDEN.
River, in Georgia, and posted his army along the highway from Lee and
* Sept. 10, Army of the Cumberland over the mountains was gained.
General Burnside, who had been assigned to the command of the Army of the Ohio in March, taking with him the Ninth Corps, with the expectation of speedily undertaking the liberation of East Tennessee, was now brought into active co-operation with the Army of the Cumberland. There had occurred, now and then, some stirring events in his department, the most important of which was the defeat of
• March 80. Pegram by Gillmore, at Somerset, the raid of Colonel H. S. Sanders into East Tennessee," and the extensive raid of Morgan into
• July. Indiana and Ohio, already mentioned. Pegram was a Virginian, and crossed the Cumberland Mountains and river with a considerable force of mounted men, professedly the advance of a larger body, under Breckinridge, and commenced plundering Southeastern Kentucky, and expelling Unionists from the State. He was finally attacked in a strong position at Somerset, by General Quincy A. Gillmore, with about twelve hundred men, the united commands of Gillmore and Colonel Wolford, and driven back into Tennessee with a loss of something over two hundred men. The Union loss was about thirty men. A little more than two months later, Colonel Sanders crossed the Cumberland Mountains from Kentucky, struck the East Tennessee and Georgia railway at Lenoir Station, destroyed the road a great
i This is en offshoot of Lookout Mountain. Starting about forty miles south of Chattanooga, and running toward it, it loses itself in the general level near where the West Chickamauga River crosses the road between Chattanooga and Lafayette.
• The summit of Lookout, near Chattanooga, is about 1,500 feet above the Tennessee River, and 2,400 feet above the level of the sea
• See page 818, volume II.
BURNSIDE MOVES INTO EAST TENNESSEE.
portion of the way to Knoxville, passed round that city, and struck it again at Strawberry Plain, and burned a bridge over the Holston there, sixteen hundred feet in length, and another at Mossy Creek, above. With trifling loss, Sanders made his way back to Kentucky, after capturing three guns, ten thousand small-arms, and five hundred prisoners, and destroying a large quantity of Confederate munitions of war.
The Ninth Army Corps being detached from Burnside's command, to assist Grant before Vicksburg, the former was compelled to be comparatively idle, his chief business being to keep disloyal citizens in Kentucky and elsewhere in check, and to protect the Unionists of that State, for which purpose
he found it necessary, in August,“ to declare that commonwealth • August 3, to be under martial law. Soon afterward he was called into East
Tennessee, to co-operate with Rosecrans, in his struggle with Bragg for the possession of the Chattanooga region, by cutting off communication between the army of the latter, and Lee's, in Virginia, and preventing, as far as possible, re-enforcements being sent from the Rapid Anna to the Tennessee. When this call was made, the Ninth Corps had not yet returned. The exigency would not allow Burnside to wait for it. Fortunately, he had thoroughly organized and equipped his command, which was then about twenty thousand in number, at Camp Nelson, near Richmond, in Kentucky. He concentrated his forces at Crab Orchard, near the southern line of Lincoln County, and then prepared for a rapid movement to the new field of active operations, by a way to avoid the principal mountain gaps, where the Confederates might seriously oppose him. His infantry were mostly mounted. All of his cavalry and artillery were furnished with excel
lent horses, and his supplies were placed on pack-mules, that more facile movements might be made than a wagon-train would allow. Thus prepared, they began the march on the day when Wilder opened his
guns on Chattanooga, Aug. 21.
with the cavalry brigade of General S. P. Carter, an East Tennessean, in advance. Just after crossing the boundary-line into Scott
County, Tennessee, they • Aug. 28.
were joined by General Hartsuff and his corps; and the com
bined forces pressed forward at the rate of twenty miles a day over the great and rugged plateau of the Cumberland Mountains to Montgomery, in Morgan County, where they were joined eby a column of infantry, under Colonel Julius White. After brief rest, Carter's force pushed rapidly onward in three columns, one under Colonel Bird (accompanied by Burnside), for Kingston, at the mouth of the Clinch River, where communication was had with Colonel Minty's cavalry, of Rosecrans's
1 This shows the manner of carrying commissary stores on mules, in the mountain regions. A long string of mules were tethered together by rope or chain, in tandem, the leader guided by a soldier or servant.
CUMBERLAND GAP RECAPTURED.
extreme left; another, under General Shackelford, for Loudon Bridge, farther up the Tennessee; and a third, under Colonel Foster, for Knoxville, on the Holston River. Bird and Foster reached their respective destinations on the first of September, without opposition, but when Shackelford approached Loudon, he found the Confederates there in considerable force, and strongly posted. After a brisk skirmish, they were driven across the bridge—a magnificent structure, over two thousand feet in length—which they fired behind them, and so laid it in ruins. The main army moved steadily forward, and was soon posted on the line of the railway from Loudon, southwesterly, so as to connect with Rosecrans, then in possession of Chattanooga.
General Simon B. Buckner was in command of about twenty thousand troops, in East Tennessee, with his head-quarters at Knoxville, when Rosecrans moved upon Bragg, and Burnside began his march. To hold Chatta nooga, as we have observed, was of vital importance to the Confederacy, and, as its fall would involve the abandonment of East Tennessee, Bragg ordered Buckner to evacuate the valley, and hasten to his assistance at Chattanooga. Buckner accordingly fled from Knoxville on the approach of Burnside, and it was his rear-guard which Shackelford encountered at Loudon Bridge. At that time, the stronghold of Cumberland Gap, captured by General Morgan eighteen months before, was in possession of the Confederates, and held by one of Buckner's brigades, under General Frazer. That officer was ordered to join Buckner in his flight, but, on the recommendation of the latter, he was allowed to remain, with orders to hold the pass at all hazards. There he was hemmed in, by troops under Shackelford on one side, and on the other by a force under Colonel De Courcey, who came up from Kentucky. He held out for three or four days, when Burnside joined Shack. elford, with cavalry and artillery, from Knoxville, and Frazer surrendered. In the mean time a cavalry force had gone up the
* Sept. 9, valley to Bristol, destroyed the bridges over the Watauga and Holston rivers, and driven the armed Confederates over the line into Virginia. Thus, again, the important pass of Cumberland Gap' was put into the possession of the National troops, and the great valley between the Alleghany and Cumberland Mountains, from Cleveland to Bristol, of which Knoxville may be considered the metropolis, seemed to be permanently rid of armed Confederates. The loyal inhabitants of that region received the National troops with open arms as their deliverers; and Union refugees, who had been hiding in the mountains, and Union prisoners from that region, who had escaped from the clutches of their captors, and had been sheltered in caves and rocks, all ragged and starved, now flocked to their homes, and joined in ovations offered to Burnside and his followers at Knoxville and elsewhere.?
i See page 304, volume II.
? It is difficult to conceive the intensity of the feelings of the Union people along the line of Burnside's Inarch • Everywhere," wrote an eye-witness," the people flocked to the roadsides, and, with cheers and wildest demonstrations of welcome, saluted the flag of the Republic and the men who had borne it in triumph to the very heart of the Confederacy.' Old men wept at the sight, which they had waited for through months of suffering; children, even, hailed with joy the sign of deliverance. Nobly have these persecuted people stood by their faith, and all loyal men will rejoice with them in their rescue at last from the clutch of the destroyer." “They were so glad to see Union soldiers," wrote another, " that they cooked every thing they had and gave it freely, not asking pay, and apparently not thinking of it. Women stood by the roadside with pails of water, and displayed Union flags. The wonder was, where all the Stars and Stripes' came from."