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river and across the mountains without a great battle is regarded by soldiers as one of the grandest military achievements of this or any other country; and allowing that grand army to go there without any support from the vast army of the east or the victorious army of the Mississippi, was a military blunder which has spoiled the reputation of HalLECK as a strategist. Without reinforcements, and without the hope of succor, the gallant Army of the Cumberland was well-nigh overwhelmed on the field of Chickamauga, and more than 15,000 of our brave comrades were blotted out by that terrible battle.
The Army of the Cumberland fell back from the field of Chickamauga, nine miles to Chattanooga, and there with the mountains and the rivers at their back, and their faces to the foe, they waited the onset, until hunger became a more dreaded adversary than the besieging army of Confederate legions. Now came hurrying from the eastern and western armies that assistance and support which should, and we now know could, have been rendered in time to participate in the Chickamauga campaign.
After the battle of Chickamauga, the four army corps were consolidated into two corps-the Fourth and Fourteenth. ROSECRANS was relieved, and Thomas assigned to the command of the Army of the Cumberland. Ou the 22d of October, 1863, GRANT arrived in Chattanooga, preparatory to the concentration of the armies which were to fight the battles of Chattanooga.
HOOKER, with two corps from the east, had arrived at Bridgeport, Alabama, and before the end of the month was in Lookout valley. SHERMAN was marching from the Mississippi with two corps of Grant's old army, and arrived in the vicinity of Chattanooga about the middle of November.
I was on duty in Chattanooga at that time, and for nearly eighteen months after, on the staff of GENERAL J. M. BRANNAN, Chief of Artillery of the Army of the Cumberland, and had organized a supply train from the eighteen batteries composing the artillery reserve of the army. About the 20th of November, I was ordered by GENERAL BRANNAN to park my wagons and have the teams report to the batteries, to place guns in position opposite the mouth of South Chicka
mauga, to command the crossing of SHERMAN's army. Having parked my train on Pine and Chestnut streets, between Second and Third streets, and sent the teams to the batteries (the battery horses having long since starved to death, or been sent to the rear), I had no special duty to perform, and was instructed by GENERAL BRANNAN to act as aide-de-camp during the impending battle.
Owing to the almost impassable condition of the roads, SHERMAN was slower getting into position than had been expected, and the battle, which was to have been opened on the 21st, was not commenced until the 23d of November.
On that day every effective man, except the necessary camp guards, was ordered under arms, and the soldiers of the old Army of the Cumberland knew that they were on the eve of battle, and felt confident of victory. HOWARD's corps, which had been detached from HOOKER, and massed on the north side of the river, was marched into the city and formed in close column north and west of Fort Wood, and there the soldiers rested on their arms, waiting for the order to advance and form in line of battle.
The Fourth and Fourteenth Corps of the old army formed opposite their respective camps in Chattanooga, extending from Citico, around Fort Wood, Fort Negley, Academy and Cameron hills. The batteries of light artillery, the ammunition and ambulance trains, were in their proper positions with their respective brigades and divisions.
It was two o'clock in the afternoon of the 230 before all was in complete readiness for the final order which was to speed these myriads of armed men to the death struggle for the possession of this great point of vantage on the bloody field of war.
Fort Wood was the field headquarters, and there were assembled great generals, whose fame has circled the habitable globe. Grant, the man of destiny and silence, whose imperturbable demeanor gave out no sign of anxiety nor any token of enthusiasm ; SHERMAN, who afterward marched through Georgia to the sea ; THOMAS, “The Rock of Chickamauga ;" Howard), the one-armed Christian soldier ; Schurz, the representative of the sturdy German loyal sentiment of the coun
try; these great soldiers and their staff officers made up a brilliant party that under any circumstances would have attracted attention, but on this occasion inspired thrilling interest.
The day was cool, the sky overcast and leaden; the weather was too cold for rain, and the atmosphere too damp for sunshine. humble officer of the staff, it was my fortune to be present on this memorable occasion, and although more than twenty-seven years have elapsed since that time, I well remember the occurrences of those fateful and tragic days.
There stretched before us to the east and south a barren plain. The houses south of what is now John street had been burned after the battle of Chickamauga, to keep them from being occupied by Confederate sharpshooters. The beautiful forest trees, which were so plentiful that they mostly concealed the town, and covered the sides of Cameron hill to its very top, making it look like a pyramid of green when we first saw it in September--all these great oaks had disappeared and vanished in the smoke of army fuel. The earth had' been trampled by the marching hosts and ponderous moving trains, until all evidence of verdure had passed away. Fences no longer marked the inclosure of quiet homes. Each knoll, each hill bore upon its top a fort, from which peered the black or brazen cannon.
Rifle pits, moats, ditches, and earth-works were so combined that a net-work of defensive fortifications had been constructed, impregnable against any attack save that of hunger. Behind these lines, and on the ground now covered with magnificent churches, schools, palatial residences, and business blocks, and even in the cemetery, were the camps of our faithful soldiers.
There was no cover on the red and barren earth, except the frail canvas tents of our army and the few buildings used for army purposes. No factories darkened the sky with the smoke of their furnaces, and there was no activity here save the terrible business of war. An unusual stillness pervaded the camps, and the officers and soldiers of every grade bore upon their countenances an expression of gravity which was inspired by the solemnity of the occasion. At length the signal was given from Fort Negley by three cannon shots, which was
to set this vast army in battle array, and the sound had hardly died upon the trembling air before the columns were in motion and the plain was soon full of marching squadrons, from Citico on the east to the river on the west, deploying into line of battle with the precision of soldiers on dress parade. Woods and SHERIDAN’s divisions were the first to strike the Confederate lines, in what is now Highland Park and the National Cemetery, and in less than an hour Orchard Knob was in our possession and the line of battle occupied the ground which, until lately, had been held by the Confederate picket reserves ; while their pickets had been down nearly to the Western and Atlantic Railroad, HOWARD's Corps went into line on the left of the Fourth Corps, and the line of battle was adjusted for the night, and the soldiers slept upon their arms to await the junction of SHERMAN'S army at the north end of Mission Ridge on the following day.
Ou the morning of the 24th, the troops under SHERMAN could be seen from Fort Wood crossing the river above the city. The weather was the same as the day preceding. GRANT was again at Fort Wood and the officers of the staff were present as on the day before to receive and convey the orders of their commanders. This morning the Eleventh Corps under HOWARD, the Fourth under GORDON GRANGER, and the Fourteenth under PALMER, extending from left to right in the order named, formed the center under the command of GENERAL THOMAS, while HOOKER in Lookout Valley commanded the right flank, and SHERMAN was placing his army in position on the left as fast as the troops could be crossed on pontoons or ferried over the river on the steamer Dunbar.
About ten o'clock in the forenoon, GENERAL GRANT stood on the parapet of the north-eastern angle of the fort, with field glasses in his hand, gazing up the river in the direction of SHERMAN's army, and all eyes were turned in the same direction.
There was no sound of battle along the lines in our front, it being understood that the center was waiting for SHERMAN to gain his position at the north end of the ridge. While thus employed in looking at SHERMAN's men, we were suddenly startled by the terrific roar of cannon and musketry from the direction of Lookout
Mountain. At this time, I was standing not more than four or five paces from GENERAL GRANT, and, as it was evident that a battle was in progress where apparently least expected, I looked at the general to see if I could make out from his appearance whether the clash of arms was a surprise to him. While the staff officers bent their gaze in the direction of Lookout Mountain, and were questioning each other as to what it all meant, the general commanding continued to look through his glass at SHERMAN's troops, and paid no attention to the sounds from Lookout, which appeared to be coming toward us. At length, through our glasses, we could see troops sweeping around through the Craven's field on the side of the mountain, and, as they carried the stars and stripes, we knew that the battle of Lookout Mountain had been won by the Union soldiers, for, while the fight was kept up at the southern edge of the Craven's field, where the Confederates made a stand, we felt confident that the enemy could not concentrate a sufficient reinforcement to dislodge our med.
It was during this charge that the clouds which hung over the mountain top gradually settled down, and in a few minutes entirely concealed the combatants from our view, and, while we could hear the musketry with wonderful distinctness, we could see nothing more of the fight. I can not refrain from quoting in this place the closing stanza of the beautiful ode of GEORGE D. PRENTICE to grand old Lookout, referring to this combat. After having described the battle,