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GENERAL HALLECK PUZZLED.
The authorities at Washington, at this time, were greatly perplexed by the military situation. No logic seemed sufficiently subtle to penetrate the real designs of the Confederates in the field. Spies and deserters from Lee's army, reported at the capital that he was receiving re-enforcements from Bragg, and from the Atlantic coast, to enable him to make another and more
successful invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania. The slight resistance offered to Burnside, and the abandonment of Chattanooga without a struggle, made the rumor appear plausible. Halleck questioned the propriety of
allowing Rosecrans to pursue Bragg, and telegraphed to him to Septy.1, hold firmly the mountain-passes in the direction of Atlanta, to
prevent the return of the Confederates until Burnside could connect with him, when it would be determined whether the Army of the Cumberland should penetrate farther into Georgia. He also mentioned the reports that Bragg was sending troops to Lee. On the same day, he ordered Burnside to hold the mountain-passes in East Tennessee, to prevent access to or from Virginia, and to connect, with his cavalry at least, with Rosecrans.
In reply to Halleck, Rosecrans said he did not believe any troops had been sent to Lee by Bragg. On the contrary, there were indications that Bragg himself was being re-enforced from Mississippi, and was preparing to turn the flanks of the Army of the Cumberland and cut its communications ; and he suggested the propriety of ordering some of Grant's troops to cover the line of the Tennessee River, westward, to prevent a raid on Nashville. This was followed by an electrograph from General Foster, at Fortress
1 This is a careful copy of a photograph presented to the author, at Knoxville, in which is delineated > group of the returned refugees, at the time we are considering. They consisted, in a large degree, of young men belonging to the best families in East Tennessee. Their sufferings had been dreadful. Their clothing, as the picture shows, was in tatters, and at times they had been nearly starved. Yet they held fast to hope, and resolved to save their country if possible.
IMPENDING STRUGGLE NEAR CHATTANOOGA.
Monroe, saying trains of cars had been heard running night and day for thirty-six hours on the Petersburg and Richmond railway, indicating the movement of troops; and the General-in-Chief was inclined to believe that a movement against Norfolk, similar to that in the spring,' was about to be made in favor of Lee, the Confederates hoping thereby to draw off some of the troops from Meade. But this suspicion was dispelled by another
. Sept. 14, dispatch from General Foster the next day, bearing a report that Longstreet's corps was passing southward into North Carolina. Then Halleck directed Meade to ascertain the truth or falsity of the latter report, when it was found to be true, as we have observed. Meanwhile Halleck had ordered Burnside to move down and connect with Rosecrans, and directed General Hurlbut, at Memphis, to send all of his available force to Corinth and Tuscumbia, to operate against Bragg, should he attempt the anticipated flank movement, and, if necessary, to ask Grant or Sherman, at Vicksburg, for re-enforcements. He also telegraphed to the commander at Vicksburg to send all available forces to the line of the Tennessee River.3 Similar orders were sent to Schofield, in Missouri, and Pope, in the Northwestern Department; and the commanders in Ohio and Kentucky were ordered to make every exertion to secure Rosecrans's communications. It was determined that Bragg should not recross the Tennessee River, and that the redeemed commonwealths of Kentucky and Tennessee should not be again subjected to Confederate rule.
The Army of the Cumberland was now the center of absorbing interest to the Government and to the loyal people. Bragg's was of like interest to the Conspirators and their friends, and they spared no effort, fair or foul, to give him strength sufficient to drive Rosecrans back toward the Cumberland or capture his army. Buckner, as we have seen, was ordered to join him. Johnston sent him a strong brigade from Mississippi, under General Walker, and the thousands of prisoners paroled by Grant and Banks at Vicksburg * and Port Hudson, who were falsely declared by the Confederate authorities to be exchanged, and were released from parole, were, in shameful violation of the terms of the surrender, and the usages of civilized nations, sent to Bragg to swell his ranks, while every man that it was possible to draw from Georgia and Alabama by a merciless conscription, was mustered into the service to guard bridges, depots, &c., so that every veteran might engage in battle. In this way Bragg was rapidly gathering a large force in front of Pigeon Mountain, near Lafayette, while Longstreet was making his way up from Atlanta, to swell the volume of the Confederate army to full eighty thousand men.
Deceived by Bragg's movements—uninformed of the fact that Lee had sent troops from Virginia to re-enforce him, impressed with the belief that he was retreating toward Rome, and ambitious of winning renown by capturing his foe, or driving him in confusion to the Gulf—Rosecrans, instead of concentrating his forces at Chattanooga, and achieving a great as well as
i See page 41.
? See page 101. 3 At that time Grant was in New Orleans, and Sherman was in command in the vicinity of Vicksburg. 4 See note 2, page 630, volume II. S See page 637, volume II.
. Finding Burnside in his way in East Tennessee, Longstreet had passed down through the Carolinas with his corps, to Augusta, in Georgia; thence to Atlanta, and then up the State Road (railway) toward Chattanooga
PERILOUS POSITION OF THE UNION ARMY.
an almost bloodless victory, scattered them over an immense space of rough country, to operate on the rear and flank of what he supposed to be a flying adversary. He ordered Crittenden to call his brigades from across the river, near Chattanooga, and leaving one of them there to garrison the town, push on to the East Chickamauga Valley and the railway to Ringgold or Dalton to intercept the march of Buckner from East Tennessee, or strike the Confederate rear, as circumstances might determine. Thomas, who had just passed through Stevens's and Cooper's gaps of Lookout Mountain, into MeLemore's Cove, was directed to push through Dug Gap of Pigeon Mountain, and fall upon the supposed tlank of the Confederates at Lafayette. At the same time McCook was to press on farther south, to Broomtown Valley, to turn Bragg's left. These movements were promptly made, and revealed the alarming truth to Rosecrans. His cavalry on the right, supported by McCook's corps, descended Lookout Mountain, reconnoitered Broomtown Valley as far as Alpine, and discovered that Bragg had not retreated on Rome. Crittenden moved rapidly to Ringgold, where, on pushing Wilder forward to Tunnel Hill, near Buzzard's Roost (where he skirmished heavily), it was discovered that the Confederates, in strong force, were on his front, and menacing his communications; and when Negley, with his division of Thomas's corps, approached Dug Gap, he found it securely guarded by a force so overwhelming, that when, on the following morning, Baird came to his aid, both together could make no impression, and they fell back to the main body.
Rosecrans was at last satisfied that Bragg, instead of fleeing before him, was gathering force at Lafayette, opposite his center, to strike a heavy blow at the scattered Army of the Cumberland. He saw, too, that its position was a perilous one. Its wings, one at Lee and Gordon's Mill, on the Chickamauga, and the other at Alpine, were full forty miles apart, and offered Bragg a rare opportunity to terribly cripple, if not destroy or capture his foe. But the golden opportunity too soon passed. Rosecrans, on perceiving the danger, issued orders for the concentration of his forces in the Chickamauga Valley, in the vicinity of Crawfish Spring, about half-way between Chattanooga and Lafayette. Crittenden, alarmed by threatened danger to his communica
tions, had already made“ a rapid flank movement in that direcSept. 12,
tion, from Ringgold, covered by Wilder's brigade, which was
compelled to skirmish heavily at Lett’s tan-yard, with Confederate cavalry, under Pegram and Armstrong. Thomas crossed the upper end of the Missionaries' Ridge, and moved toward the Spring; and McCook, after much difficulty in moving up and down Lookout Mountain, joined Thomas on the 17th. Granger's reserves were called up from Bridgeport, and encamped at Rossville; a division under General Steedman was ordered up from the Nashville and Chattanooga railway, and a brigade, led by
Colonel D. McCook, came from Columbia. On the night of
Friday, the 18th, when it was positively known to Rosecrans that troops from Virginia were joining Bragg, the concentration of his army was completed, excepting the reserves at Rossville and cavalry at Blue Bird's Gap of Pigeon Mountain, and at Dougherty's Gap that separates the latter from Lookout Mountain. The divisions of Wood, Van Cleve, Palmer, Reynolds, Johnson, Baird, and Brannan, about thirty thousand in number,
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 post on 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 Chickamanga, 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 Chickamauga.
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 LEE AND GORDON'S MILL.
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 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
1 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.
2 This tch given show the gener harad 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.