« PreviousContinue »
BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA.
apiece when Steedman arrived, and furnished them with a small supply, and this was consumed in the succeeding struggle. Garfield and a company officer gave Thomas the first reliable information concerning the disaster to the center and right of the army. They bore an order from Rosecrans for
Thomas to take command of all the forces, and with McCook and Crittenden to secure a strong position at Rossville, and assume a threatening attitude. This was done by divisions in succession, Reynolds's leading, and the whole covered by Wood's division. On the way Turchin's brigade charged upon a heavy body of Confederates, who were seeking to obstruct the movement
THE NATIONALS RETREAT TO CHATTANOOGA.
They were driven, with a loss of two hundred men, made prisoners. So ended the BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA. There was no pursuit.' The Nationals quietly took position in the Rossville and Dry Valley gaps of the Missionaries' Ridge. On the following morning" a reconnoitering force of Confederates on the Ringgold road, drove in Minty's "Sept, 21, cavalry, but did little harm. That evening the whole army withdrew in perfect order to a position assigned it by Rosecrans, in front of Chattanooga, and, on the following day, Bragg advanced and took possession of Lookout Mountain and the whole of the Missionaries' Ridge.
The Confederates won a victory on the field in the Battle of Chickamauga, at a fearful cost to both armies, and without any other decisive result. Rosecrans might have held Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and the Missionaries' Ridge, with his communications secure, without that fearful cost; while Bragg, although he had reaped “glory," as the phrase is, on the battle-field, secured none of the harvest of solid victory, such as the capture or dispersion of the army of his adversary. “Rosecrans," said a Confederate historian, “still held the prize of Chattanooga, and with it the possession of
1 " The troops were halted by their respective commanders,” said Bragg, in his report on the 23d of December, 1863, “when the darkness of the night and the density of the forest rendered further movements uncertain and dangerous, and the army bivouacked on the ground it had so gallantly won."
Crittenden's corps held the left of the Ringgold road; McCook's was on the right of the Dry Valley road, with his right thrown forward nearly to the Chickamauga, and Negley's, Reynolds's, and Brannan's divisions were posted in the Rossville Gap and along the ridge on its right, back of Ross's house. See page 126. Minty's brigade of cavalry was over a mile in advance of Crittenden, on the Ringgold road.
Probably the youngest person who ever bore arms in battle was engaged in the strife near the Chickamanga River. His name was JOHN CLEM, and his home was at Newark, Ohio. He was a volunteer in the Twenty-second Michigan Infantry, and was only twelve years of age. He was serving as marker of a regiment in a review at Nashville, when he was brought to the notice of General Rosecrans, who made him welcome at head-quarters. He performed faithfully whatever duty was imposed upon him while the Army of the Cumberland was making its way to and across the Tennessee River; and in the Battle of Chickamauga he won for himself the rank of a sergeant by a deed of great valor. Ile had been in the thickest of the fight, and three bullets had passed through his hat, when, separated from his companions, he was seen running, with a musket in his hand, by a mounted Confederate colonel, who called out, “Stop! you little Yankee devil!” The boy halted, and brought his musket to an order, when the colonel rode up to make him a prisoner. With'swift motion young Clem brought his gun up and fired, killing the colonel instantly. He escaped; and for this achievement on the battle-field he was made a sergeant, put on duty at the head-quarters of the Army of the Cumberland, and placed on the Roll of Honor by General Rosecrans. The engraving is from a photograph from life, taken in Cincinnati.
3 The National loss was reported at 16,326, of whom 1,687 were killed, 9,884 were wounded, and 5,255 were missing. The total loss of officers was 974. It is probable the entire Union loss was full 19,000. Among the killed were General W. H. Lytle, of Ohio, Colonels Baldwin and Heg, commanding brigades, and Colonels E. A. King, Alexander, and Gilmer. The Confederate loss, according to a compilation made from the reports of Bragg's commanders, was 20,950, of whom 2,673 were killed, 16,274 were wounded, and 2,003 were missing. Rosecrans reported that he brought off the field 2,003 prisoners, 36 guns, 20 caissons, and 8,450 small-arms, and that he lost in prisoners, including 2,500 of his wounded left on the field, 7,500. Bragg claimed to have captured over 8,000 prisoners, including the wounded ; 51 guns, and 15,000 small-arms. The Confederates left a large number of the Union dead unburied.
JEFFERSON DAVIS A DICTATOR.
East Tennessee Two-thirds of our niter-beds were in that region, and a large proportion of the coal which supplied our founderies. It abounded in the necessaries of life. It was one of the strongest countries in the world, so full of lofty mountains, that it had been called not unaptly, the Switzerland of America. As the possession of Switzerland opened the door to the invasion of Italy, Germany, and France, so the possession of East Tennessee gave easy access to Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.” 1
The incompetency of Bragg, who was the pliant servant of the will of Jefferson Davis, was universally felt, and when his operations in the vicinity of Chattanooga became known, there was wide-spread discontent. Yet few men were bold enough to oppose the will of the Arch-conspirator, and murmuring was scarcely audible. Pollard quotes a private letter from a “distin
6 guished general officer in the West,” who most severely and ably criticised the operations of the army under the leadership of Bragg during the year preceding the battle of Chickamauga, and evidently pointed directly to Jefferson Davis as the chief obstacle to the success of the Confederate arms. But the more Davis's chosen instruments were found fault with, the more determined was the Conspirator to keep them in places of the highest trust. When Bragy, a few weeks after the Battle of Chickamauga, was thoroughly beaten before Chattanooga, as we shall observe presently, and tried to hide his own incompetence under fault-finding with his officers—“a resource to which he showed, on all occasions, a characteristic and injurious tendency"? —and there was a general feeling that he ought to be relieved from all command, Davis showed his contempt for the opinion of others, by making
himo General-in-Chief of the armies of the Confederacy. “No • February 24, doubt,” said an officer in the “War Department” at Richmond,
at the time, “ Bragg can give the President valuable counselnor can there be any doubt that he [the President] enjoys a secret satisfaction in triumphing thus over popular sentiment, which just at this time is much averse to General Bragg. The President is naturally a little oppugnant." When the appointment was made, the boldest opposers of Bragg dared not utter their disapprobation openly and manfully."
i Pollard's Third Year of the War, page 128.
2 Pollard's Third Year of the War, page 130. 3 The following is a copy of the order creating Bragg General-in-Chief, which was dated, “ War Department, Adjutant and Inspector-General's Office, Richmond, February 24, 1864," and designated as “ General Order No. 23:"
- General Braxton Bragg is assigned to duty at the seat of government, and, under the direction of the President, is charged with the conduct of military operations in the armies of the Confederacy. By order of the Secretary of War. S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General."
4 A Rebel War Clerk's Diary, ii. 157.
5 On the day before Bragg's appointment, the Richmond Enquirer had a long editorial, denouncing in advance his assignment to any prominent position, and severely criticising his conduct in the West; but, on the day after his appointment, the same journal, inspired by a proper reverence for the power of “the President," said: “ The judicious and opportune appointment of General Bragg to the post of Commander-in-Chief of the armies will be appreciated as an illustration of that strong cominon-sense which forms the basis of the President's character, that regard for the opinions and feelings of the country, that respect for the Senate, which are the keys to all that is mysterious in the conduct of our public affairs. The Confederate armies cannot fail to be well pleased. Every soldier's heart feels that merit is the true title to promotion, and that glorious service should insuru a splendid reward. From Lookout Mountain, a step to the highest military honor and power is natural and inevitable. Johnston, Lee, and Beauregard learn with grateful emotions that the conqueror of Kentucky and Tennessee has been elevated to a position which his superiority deserves. Finally, this happy announcement should enliven the fires of confidence and enthusiasm reviving among the people, like a bucket of water on a newly-kindled grate." This was keen irony, but it was not denunciation, and the writer avoided Castle Thunder.
BRAGG ARRESTS POLK AND HINDMAN.
THE CHATTANOOGA CAMPAIGN.-MOVEMENTS OF SHERMAN'S AND BURNSIDE'S FORCES.
Y returning to Chattanooga, Rosecrans commenced the formidable line of fortifications around that town, under the skillful directions of General James St. Clair Morton, of the engineers, which excited the admiration of all; and within twenty-four hours after the army moved from Rossville, it was strongly
intrenched—so strongly that Bragg could not, with safety, make a direct attack upon it. He did not attempt it, but took measures for starving it into a surrender, by cutting off its avenues of supplies.
Bragg found himself in a most unpleasant predicament. Regarding the failure of Polk and Hindman to bring on the battle at an earlier hour on the morning of the 20th' as the chief cause of his inability to secure a substantial victory, he had them placed under arrest, and thereby caused widespread murmuring, and a mutinous spirit in his army. He was severely censured for not securing that victory himself, by pursuing the fugitives when they moved from the Missionaries' Ridge, and striking them in the open, broken plain, in front of Chattanooga. More aggravating still was a requirement by the authorities at Richmond that he should attempt the impossible feat of moving by his left across the Tennessee River, and advancing on Nashville. So preposterous was this requirement, that he could scarcely conceal his contempt when saying to his superiors, “The suggestion requires notice only because it will find a place in the files of the War Department." He told them that such a movement was utterly impossible, for want of transportation ; that half his army consisted of re-enforcements that had joined him just before the recent battle, without transportation or artillery horses; that a third of his own artillery horses were lost; that he had no means of crossing a wide river liable to be flooded any hour by a rain-storm in the mountains; and that by such movement he would have to abandon all the fruits of his victory on the Chickamauga, and leave exposed vast supplies for the use of the Confederate army.
Bragg did not entertain the proposition from the “War Department” for a moment, but proceeded at once to the more practicable business of starving the Army of the Cumberland. For this purpose he had now great advantages. By his advance to Lookout Mountain, and its vicinity, when Rosecrans retired to Chattanooga, he gained possession of the left bank of the Tennessee to Bridgeport, by which he commanded the navigation of that stream, and the road along its margin opposite, at the foot of the precipitous mountain ranges that skirt it. He thus cut off Rosecrans from direct com
1 See page 187.
TROOPS SENT TO ROSECRANS,
munication with his bases of supply at Bridgeport and Stevenson, and compelled him to transport these in wagons from the former place, over the rugged mountains by way of the Saquatchie Valley, fifty or sixty miles, and then across the Tennessee, at Chattanooga, on pontoon bridges. This service was most severe, and its operations were perilous and precarious, for the autumn storms were beginning to howl among the mountains, and small streams were often converted into torrents in the space of an hour. The consequence was that for a time the Army of the Cumberland was on short allowance, and thousands of its horses and mules-not less than ten thousand, it is said-were starved or worked to death in the business of transportation.
While the Army of the Cumberland was thus imprisoned at Chattanooga, a salutary change was wrought in its organization. We have observed that when Halleck was satisfied that Longstreet had gone to Ten
he telegraphed to Grant and Sherman, and other commanders in the West, to give all possible aid to Rosecrans. Grant was then in New
' Orleans, disabled by a fall from his horse,' and Sherman, who represented him at Vicksburg, did not receive the dispatch till several days after it was issued. Hearing nothing from either, and startled by the saddening news from the Chickamauga, Halleck at once, as we have observed, detached the Eleventh (Howard's) and Twelfth (Slocum's) corps from the Army of the Potomac, and sent them, under the general command of Hooker, to Middle Tennessee, with orders, until further directed, to guard Rosecrans's communications between Nashville and Bridgeport. These troops were moved with marvelous celerity under the wise direction of General Meigs, the Quartermaster-General, and the skillful management of Colonel D. E. McCallum, the Government Superintendent of railways, and W. Prescott Smith, Master of Transportation on the Baltimore and Ohio road. In the space of eight days, the two corps, twenty thousand strong, marched from the Rapid Anna to Washington, and were thence conveyed through West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, to the Tennessee River.
Halleck determined to hold Chattanooga and East Tennessee at all hazards. For that purpose he ordered the concentration of three armies
there, under one commander, and on the 16th of October, an
order went out from the War Department, saying: “By order of the President of the United States, the Departments of the Ohio [Burnside's], of the Cumberland [Rosecrans's], and of the Tennessee [Grant's], will constitute the Military Division of the Mississippi. Major-General l". S. Grant, United States Army, is placed in command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, with his head-quarters in the field.” By the same order General Rosecrans was relieved of the command of the Army of the Cumberland, and General Thomas was assigned to it. General Sherman was
promoted to the command of the Army of the Tennessee. On the 18th," Grant, then at Louisville, whither he had gone from
1 See page 131.
2 Grant arrived at New Orleans on the 2d of September, to visit General Banks, and confer concerning future operations in the Mississippi region. On the 4th he attended a grand review at Carrollton, and on his return to the city, his horse became frightened by the noise of a steam-whistle, and, springing against a vehicle with great violence, caused the fall of himself and rider to the pavement. Grant's hip was temporarily par. alyzed by the concussion, and he was compelled to use crutches for several weeks.
3 See page 99.