Page images

treme right, he attacked the mountain with a er possession of Lookout Mountain of comparconfidence which the sequel will show was not atively little importance, and, now that the misplaced. The great rise in the Tennessee had mountain has passed into his hands, there is no carried away his pontoon-bridges the night be- reason left why we should longer remain in the fore, but his positions were so well taken, and mud and water around Chattanooga. Besides, had been so strongly fortified, that he did not General Grant has been throwing a heavy force hesitate to make the assault. He opened at up the river, and crossing it over in the boats eleven o'clock with his batteries in Lookout val- we neglected to burn, all this afternoon. A ley, directing his fire against our lines along the portion of this force consists of heavy cavalry, western side and northern face of the mountain. which have been landed above the mouth of the Our own batteries on the mountain could take Chickamauga. no part in the engagement, owing to a dense fog Some infantry had also been landed on the which enveloped Lookout Point and the crest east side of that stream--the remainder, and above. At half-past twelve o'clock, the infantry much more numerous body, on the west sidebecame engaged, and the battle was then fully all up the Tennessee and some distance above joined.

our right wing. This movement greatly endanVery few details have been received-too few, gers the dépôt and railroad, and furnishes an adindeed, for me to attempt to enter into particu- ditional reason for withdrawing across the Chicklars. The impression prevails in well-informed amauga. Another danger, and a still more serious circles that the affair has not been well conduct one, is the probability that Grant will turn our ed by the confederate officers in command on right and get between the main army and Longthe mountain. Our forces had been much weak- strect at Knoxville. It is now well ascertained ened the night before by the withdrawal of that Sheridan has not gone to the relief of BurnWalker's division, which was sent to the right, side, as was fully believed a few days ago; but leaving only Stevenson's and Cheatham's di- the whole Federal army is here marshalling for visions behind, both under command of General our destruction. Perhaps Grant has concluded Stevenson. General Cheatham arrived on the that he could best succor Burnside by forcing ground late in the afternoon, having just return- Bragg to retire. ed to the army. Up to the time of his return, I have just heard that our communications his division was under the command of General with Knoxville have been cut, probably by the Jackson, the senior Brigadier in the division. It Federal cavalry that crossed the river above this was thought that these two divisions would afternoon, and that the dépôt buildings at Joynhave been sufficient to hold the position against er's Station, on the Chattanooga and East-Tena largely superior force; but not so.

The con

nessee road, have been burnt. federates were steadily pushed back from the moment the infantry opened fire until late in Finding that he could not withdraw his army the evening, when General Breckinridge went to in time, General Bragg has given orders to mass the assistance of Stevenson with a brigade. The his whole available force on the right. A battle Federals, who had driven the confederates may be expected to-day. The situation is critslowly around the north face of the mountain to ical. Craven's house, and thence around almost to the

CHICKAMALGA, November 5-Midnight. road which leads to the top, were, in their turn, The confederates have sustained to-day the forced back after night some four or five hun- most ignominious defeat of the whole war-a dedred yards. The fight continued until ten P.M., feat for which there is but little excuse or palliaand even now I can hear an occasional shot tion. For the first time during our struggle for while I write.

national independence, our defeat is chargeable The troops and guns on the mountain were to the troops themselves, and not to the blunders brought down safely, only a few commissary or incompetency of their leaders. It is difficult to stores being left behind. We lost a consider- realize how a defeat so complete could have ocable number of prisoners, nevertheless, early in curred on ground so favorable, notwithstanding the day, and on the western slope of the moun the great disparity in the forces of the two hostile tain, the enemy, it is alleged, having got in the armies. The ground was more in our favor than rear of Walthall's brigade, under cover of the it was at Fredericksburgh, where General Longprevailing fog. One account says that Walthall street is said to have estimated that Lee's army lost from five hundred to six hundred prison- was equal to three hundred thousand men. And ers, including nearly the whole of one regiment, yet we gained the battle of Fredericksburgh, and the Thirty-fourth Mississippi. It is not improb- lost that of Missionary Ridge. able that our loss has been exaggerated some- But let us take up the painful narrative at the what.

beginning, and see how this great misfortune, if Orders have been given to evacuate the moun- not this grievous disgrace, has befallen the contain, and for the whole army to retire across the federate arms. Chickamauga, in the direction of the station of Lookout Mountain was evacuated last night, it that name. The loss of Lookout valley and being no longer important to us after the loss of Brown's Ferry removed all doubt as to the Lookout or Will's valley, and no longer tenable ability of General Grant to subsist his army at against such an overwhelming force as General Chattanooga this winter, and rendered the long-Grant had concentrated around Chattanooga

November 25 -2 A.M.

General Bragg abandoned, also, the whole of protection for his flanks and rear, and rendered Chattanooga valley, and the trenches and breast- his front almost impregnable. Ile possessed the works running along the foot of Missionary additional advantage of being able to man@nvre Ridge and across the valley to the base of Look- his army upon the chord of a semi-circle, while out, and moved his troops up to the top of the Bragg could move only upon the arc. ridge. It was found necessary to extend his But let us proceed with the battle, the stranright well up toward the Chickamanga, near its gest, most singular, and unsatisfactory conflict in mouth, in consequence of the heavy forces which which our arms have been engaged. the enemy had thrown up the river in that direc- Grant deployed his immense masses in two tion. The Tennessee and Missionary Ridge ap- heavy lines of battle, and sometimes in three, proach nearer to each other as one goes up, or supported by large reserve forces. The spectacle rather down, the valley, the width of which, at was magnificent as viewed from the crest of Missome points, does not exceed one fourth of a sionary Ridge. Ho advanced first against our mile. Across this valley, now almost an open right wing, about ten o'clock, where he encounplain, varying from a fourth of a mile to two tered that superb soldier, Lieutenant-General miles in width, the Federals advanced to the as- Hardee, who commanded on the right, while Masault, their ranks exposed to an artillery fire from jor-General Breckinridge commanded on the left. the ridge, while in the plain, and to the infantry Hardee's command embraced Cleburne's, Walkfire when they attempted the ascent of the hill er's, (commanded by General Gist, General or mountain.

Walker being absent,) Cheatham's, and StevenThe only objection that can be urged against son's divisions. Breckinridge's embraced his old our line was its length and weakness, the latter division, commanded by Brigadier-General Lewis, being the result of the former, and the former Stewart's, part of Buckner's and Hindman's the result of circumstances beyond our control, cornmanded by Patton Anderson. The enemy's it being necessary for us to guard the passes in first assault upon Hardee was repulsed with the ridge, and to conform to the length of the great slaughter, as was his second, though made line presented by the enemy. The ridge varies with double lines, supported with heary reserves. in height from four to six hundred feet, and is The wave of battle, like the wave of the sea crossed by several roads leading out from Chat. when it dashes against a rock-bound coast, beat tanooga. The western side, next to the enemy, and hissed, and struggled in vain ; for the brave was steep and rugged, and, in some places, almost men who guarded our right were resolved never bare, the timber having been cut away for fire- to yield one foot to the hated invaders. The odds wood. Our pickets occupied the breastworks be- against which they contended were fearful; for low, while the infantry and artillery were distrib). while the enemy advanced in two and even three uted along the crest of the ridge from VcFarlan's massive lines, their own army consisted of only Gap almost to the mouth of the Chickamauga, a one long and weak line, without supports. distance of six miles or more. In addition to the Yet they not only repulsed every attack, but natural strength of the position, we had thrown captured seven flags, about three hundred prisup breastworks along thie ridge wherever the as-oners, and remained masters of the ground until cent was easy:

night, when they were ordered to retire, carrying The Federal army was marshalled under Grant, off all their guns, losing no prisoners, and but a Thomas, Hooker, and Sherman, and did not num- small percentage of killed and wounded. The ber less than eighty-five thousand veteran troops.' whole command behaved well, and especially The confederate army, under Brags, Hardee, and that model soldier, Major-General Cleburne, å Breckinridge, did not number half so many: true son of the Emerald Isle, and his heroic diviLongstreet's Virginia divisions, and other troops, sion. General Hardee saved the army from a had been sent to East-Tennessee. Had these disastrous rout, and added fresh laurels to his been present, with their steady leader at the head brow. of them, we should have won a victory quite as The attack on the left wing was not made uncomplete as our defeat has been. As it was, we til about noon. Here as on the right, the enemy ought to have won the day, and should have done was repulsed, but he was obstinate and fought so if our men had done as well as usual. Pos- with great ardor and confidence, returning to the sibly a mistake was committed when Longstreet charge again and again in the handsomest style, was sent away, and possibly it would have been until one of our brigades, near the centre, said to better not to have accepted battle to-day, but to be Reynolds's, gave way, and the Federal flag have retired last night. General Bragg thought, was planted on Missionary Ridge. The enemy however, that there was not time, after the loss was not slow in availing himself of the great adof Lookout, to get his army safely over the vantages of his new position. In a few minutes Chickamanga last night, and that it would be he turned upon our flanks and poured into them better, occupying so strong a position, to fight it a terrible enfilading fire, which soon threw the out. But what could he expect from a battle confederates on his right and left into confusion. where the odds were so much against him ? Not Under this confusion the gap in our lines grew only did Grant have three to one in numbers, wider and wider and widler, and the wider it but the geographical configuration of the ground, grew the faster the multitudinous foe rushed into in manoeuvring an army, was as favorable as he the yawning chasm. The confusion extended until could desire. Nature had provided an ample lit finally assumed the form of a panic. Seeing

age them.

the enemy in possession of a portion of the Mountain Run and marched to Germania Ford, heights, the men hastily concluded that the day with a battery of four four and a hall-inch guns was gone, and that they had best save them- and one battery of six twenty-pounder Parrott selves,

guns from the reserve artillery, with three hunJust at this time the alarm was increased by dred cavalry, under the command of Captain an artillery battery, which rushed down the hill Schwartz, of the Fourth New-York cavalry, and to the river for a fresh supply of ammunition ; a pontoon train, under the command of Captain the men, however, supposed they were flying Mendell of the Engineers corps. The head of from the field, and that all was lost. Nearly the this column reached the steep embankments at whole left wing eventually became involved and Germania Ford, at half-past eight A.M. Here gave way, a portion of it retiring under orders, a thick growth of almost impenetrable woods but the greater part in unmitigated rout.

was met, and considerable time was occupied in General Bragg did all he could to rally the felling trees, cutting out roads, and placing the fugitives and re-form the broken line. He exposed artillery in position. All this was done with himself in the most unguarded manner, and at the greatest rapidity, and in the face of the eneone time it looked as if he certainly would be my's pickets on the opposite bank of the Rapidkilled. His staff-officers were also conspicuous an. By great exertions, all the necessary prein their efforts to restore our line. They and liminaries were completed by eleven o'clock A.M., their chief were the last to leave the ridge. the men working with a vigor which indicated

The day was lost. llardee still maintained his that their hearts were inspired with hopes of ground; but no success of the right wing could success. restore the left to its original position. All men Major-General Meade arrived at this juncture, -even the bravest—are subject to error and con- and ordered a cessation of further operations till fusion; but to-day, some of the cor'ederates did General French, Third corps, was heard from. not fight with their accustomed courage. Possi- At hall-past one, orders were received by Genbly the contrast between the heavy masses of the cral Warren to move forward. Upon the adFederals

, as they rolled across the valley and up vance guard of the Second corps making its apthe mountain ridge, and their own long and at- pearance, the rebel cavalry pickets fled in bot tenuated line, was not of a character to encour- haste, and Captain Schwartz, with his cavalry,

at once forded the river, and marched some three Our casualties are small-very small—too miles, followed by General Caldwell's First dismall, indeed, to be recorded along with so com- vision, Second corps, two brigades of which plete and humiliating a defeat. Included among forded the stream. This force was crossell in our losses are some of our best guns-perhaps as this way simply to guard against any sudden many as thirty or forty. The infantry supports, surprise movement of the enemy, as well as to in some instances, fled so precipitately that there protect the crossing of the main body of our was no time left to remove the guns. There were troops. The ford was a difficult one to cross, but few roads down the mountain by which they and many of the troops were up to their necks could retreat, and this occasioned further loss. in icy water, so that their rations were saturated, All the artillery behaved well. The men in and it required almost superhuman exertions to Cobb's battery stood their ground after their sup- keep their muskets from being immersed. The ports had fled, and though they lost their guns, artillery and ambulances experienced great ditlithey fought them to the last; and when they culty in crossing the ford. could use them no longer, on account of the Captain Mendell, of the Engineer corps, who steepness of the descent, they hurled hand-gren- had charge of the laying of the pontoon-bridge, ades at the foe as he crawled up the mountain was delayed over an hour by finding that there beneath the muzzles of the guns.

was not a sufficient number of boats to span the The enemy's loss must have exceeded ours ten stream. He finally succeeded in constructing a to one. Our dead and some of the wounded temporary trestle which answered every purwere left on the field.

pose. This inexcusable blunder in not sending But it is late and bitter cold, and I must close. enough boats to meet any contingency, occurred We cross the Chickamauga to-night, and then both at Culpeper and Germania Fords, and causproceed to Dalton. I write under the greatest ed dangerous delays. Captain Mendell was not possible disadvantages.

SALLUST. responsible for this carelessness, and, in justice

to him, it is but fair to say that to his industry and ingenuity the safe crossing of our entire

army was indebted. Doc. 15.

As soon as the infantry and artillery crossed MOVEMENTS ON THE RAPIDAN.

the river, they were marched out on the plankroad, about two and a half miles, and encamped

for the night on Flat Run. At day break on the HEANQUARTERS TIRD Division, SIXTH CORPS, twenty-seventh, the Second coris moved out on

ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, December 12, 1963. the plank-road, and marched to the old macadAt half-past six, on the morning of November amized turnpike. From this point, the Second 1 Fenty-sixth, (Thanksgiving,) the Second corps, corps, with General Terry's division of the Sixth Major-General G. K. Warren, left its camp on corps, marched rapidly toward Old Verdiers


ville, which was the point to be reached. It ing the enemy to his line of battle down the was expected that the Third corps, General turnpike, where large numbers of Gordon's ori Freneh, would join the Second at Robertson's gade, belonging to Early's division, were captured Tavern, but owing to General French having lost Colonel Carroll had a miraculous escape from inthe road, this part of the programme was not stant death, his clothing having ten or twelve carried out. General Hayes led the advance bullet-holes in it. Colonel Lockwood, of the same with his division, followed by General Webb's, brigade, had his uniform pierced in several placpa then General Caldwell's division. At Robert- | by Minié balls. son's Tavern, General Hayes met a large body In the afternoon, General Meade ascertained of rebels and drove them back. General Webb that General French had participated in an enhappened to be near at hand, and at once de-gagement, and the enemy had massed a force ploying his forces to the right of the road, drove strong enough to successfully resist him. The them back in confusion toward Raccoon Ford. exact position of the Third corps, at this tine, It was in this spirited encounter that Lieutenant- still continued an uncertainty, although it was Colonel Hesser, a gallant officer, fell mortally known to be four or five miles distant.

At sunwounded. About this time, half-past eleven down General Warren ventured to advance his A.M., our skirmishers ascertained that the rebels line of skirmishers, with a strong support. The were concealed in the thick woods, and were enemy made a stubborn resistance, and retreated shrewdly extending their skirmishers to such inch by inch, disputing his claim to the soil. an extent, that nearly all of the Second corps Owing to the almost impenetrable woods, it was was required to check them.

an impossibility to preserve a perfect line of bata At this time, rebel deserters and prisoners in- tle, beside affording a subtle foe concealment, formed General Warren, that Johnston's rebel and an excellent opportunity to construet fordivision was between him and Raccoon Ford, midable earth works in addition to those already and that he was confronting Rhodes's rebel divi- there. sion.

General Warren evinced his thorough military General Meade was at once informed of this, knowledge by using sufficient military caution and also that General Warren had received no in advancing so as to deceive the vigilant enemy, tidings from General French on his right, and and thereby deter him from hurling his overGeneral Sykes on his left. General Warren whelmingly strong numbers upon our lines. Gennotified General Meade that he was ready and eral Warren continued to maintain his position, willing to begin the attack, if he so desired, by ad- although no other corps had formed a junction vancing the centre, which was so weak as to be with him. in a critical condition, and wholly unfit to cope The First corps, General Newton, which had with the superior forces of the enemy: It must been ordered from the left in the afternoon, be borne in mind that both wings of our army reached the rear of General Warren's command were then separated four or five miles from Gen- half an hour before dark, and, at daylight on the eral Warren. General Meade instructed General twenty-eighth, they were in line of battle on his Warren to wait until the right and left were left, a little south of the turnpike. heard from. Soon after, the roar of artillery The Sixth corps, General Sedgwick, moved up was heard, and just then news came of the po- and took position to the right of the Second sition of the left wing. The rapid cannonading corps, at ight. At sunrise, the First, Second, came from General Gregg's cavalry division, who and Sixth corps proceeded in line of battle siwere engaging the enemy briskly on the plank- multaneously, but, to their great chagrin, they road. Heavy firing was heard shortly after at found the fleet-footed enemy had decamped durMorton's Ford, where General Custer's cavalry ing the night. By constant and rapid marching, were skirmishing with Stuart's cavalry. During our advance overtook their retreating rear-guard, all this time, while General Warren was awaiting and shortly after discovered the main body of the further orders and information, the enemy were rebel army in a strong position on the west bank artfully changing their lines, endeavoring to turn of Mine Run, which is about one and three General Warren's right flank. While maneu- quarter miles from Robertson's Tavern. vring our forces, Lieutenant-Colonel Josselyn, Quite a number of deserters were picked up commanding the Fifteenth Massachusetts volun- by our advance, and from them we learned that teers, was seriously wounded, and fell into the Hill's corps (rebel) had advanced from Orange hands of the enemy. This determination on the Court-House down the plank-road, and there part of the rebels, induced General Warren to united with Ewell's corps, thereby concentrating make a feint movement, as though about to offer the whole of Lee's army in a position• naturally battle for a general engagement. To do this, it strong, and with formidable intrenchments to was necessary to advance his line of skirmishers. protect him. He was entirely successful in deluding the wily To add to our numerous disadvantages, a heavy foe, for, in the language of the F. F. V.'s, he rain-storm set in early in the forenoon, accompafought “right smart” along the front of the Sec- nied with a thick fog, that foiled all our attempts, ond corps. Colonel Carroll's brigade, composed for a time, to continue a close inspection of the of Western troops, conducted themselves in a enemy's works and movements. Determined manner that cannot be too highly praised. Col- not to be balked by unpropitious weather, Gen. onel Carroll evinced considerable skill by draw-Ieral Warren made a minute and personal recon.

noissance of the enemy's fortifications, hoping make an important and quick movement, and to thereby to discover some unprotected point where facilitate this he left half of his artillery, as well an attack might be made with some promise of as half of his ambulance and animunition trains, success, but he failed to detect a single unguard- behind. Considerable time was required to issue ed position. While making his perilous tour of extra rations, these being necessary, as it was observation along our front picket-lines, General expected to have a long and tedious movement, Warren had twenty men killed and wounded. which made it essential that the troops should

A laughable incident occurred on this reconnois- be kept in the best condition, ready for any sance which is worth relating; and as it is too emergency which might arise. Time was likegood to be omitted, I give it place in this review. wise exhausted in assigning the surplus trains One of our infantry skirmishers approached a to proper guards, in relieving the picket-lines on secesh house, where quite a quantity of poultry our front; and the night being dark and stormy, were perambulating in a defiant and careless, and our route lying through dense woods filled yet to a hungry soldier, inviting manner. The with tangled underbrush, General Warren, under wearied and half-famished “skirmisher” imme- the circumstances, wisely deemed it useless and diately commenced the practice of barn-yard imprudent to proceed further till daylight. strategy, deploying first to the left, then to the On the twenty-ninth, at daylight, General right, and in fact in every direction, regardless Warren marched rapidly toward the plank-road, of all military rule, bent only upon dealing the a distance of eight iniles, where he met General death-blow to a good-sized turkey, which was Gregg's cavalry outposts. Here General Warren strutting its hour upon the stage of life. He and General Gregg scanned closely the position finally managed to turn the left flank of his noisy of the enemy. Just in the rear of the rebel vifugitive, and having captured the entire right dettes, General Gregg pointed out what he supwing, he was in the act of carrying off his pris- posed to be a long line of intrenchments, but oner, when the rebel sharp-shooters caught a which afterward proved to be the embankment glimpse of him, and instantly opened a galling of the unfinished railroad projected several years fire upon him. The leaden shower was more since to run between Fredericksburgh and Gorunpalatable and harder to digest than the defunct donsville. General Warren forthwith ordered “gobbler," and the dish of Minié-balls was a up General Caldwell's division, effecting his warmer feast than the Yankee cared to indulge movements without the knowledge of the enemy, in, so he deemed it best to retire. He was in and deployed the Irish brigade to the right and the act of doing this, when a tremendous volley Colonel Miles's brigade to the left of the plankaccelerated his pace to such a degree that he road. Captain Schwartz, with his three hundred dropped the coveted prize, and betook himself to cavalry, was also formed on the same road, with a place of safety. Just then General Warren a battery in his rear for support; the balance of rode along, and seeing the soldier drop the fowl, the division was ordered to march close up, he calmly dismounted, and, throwing the turkey ready for any contingency, while the whole colover his saddle, rode quietly along, bearing off umn would follow on. Every thing being then his valuable prize, while the enemy's bullets in readiness, no time was squandered, and the whistled tunes of the most discordant sound order was given to advance. It was then noonabout his ears. This act caused considerable time, and Brigadier-General Prince, on General merriment among his troops, who reverenced the Warren's right, was notified of this movement. General for his bravery, which they have often The whole column then pressed on, and soon witnessed on bloody fields. This, I believe, is caught up with the retreating rebels, whom they the first time on record that a Major-General has drove three miles. Colonel Miles's brigade reapbeen known to indulge in a foraging expedition. ed new honors on this occasion, and deserve

As soon as our entire army had been properly honorable mention for the cheerfulness with posted, ready for an aggressive moment, General which they endured the privations on this rapid Warren solicited the privilege of taking his corps, and most fatiguing march. and making a lively demonstration on the right Considerable time was spent in bringing up wing of the rebel army, for the purpose of ascer- the three divisions in the rear preparatory to the taining, while he threatened, where the most grand assault, and by the time they arrived, staff: feasible point of attack was. He requested that officers from General Gregg brought news that in case he should not be successful in discovering the enemy had cut his forces in two, and he was a favorable position to assault, to march around sadly in need of reënforcements. General Waras if attempting to get in their rear, so as to com- ren at once sent word to General H. D. Terry, pel the enemy to change his front. This plan commanding Third division, Sixth corps, to renwas mutually agreed upon, and General H. D. der all necessary aid to General Gregg, and, if Terry's Third division, Sixth corps, one of the the enemy continued to press him so that he strongest and best fighting divisions in the army should need the whole division, to give it for his of the Potomac, was attached to the Second support. General Terry sent General Shaler's corps, with three hundred cavalry, in order to brigade to relieve General Gregg, but its services enable General Warren to carry on more exten- were not required when it arrived there. sive operations in case of an engagement with During all this time, Colonel Miles's brigade superior force.

remained on the extreme left, closing around the It was the intention of General Warren tol railroad to the enemy's right, being two miles VOL. VIII.-Doc. 16

« PreviousContinue »