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difficult, as a street-car takes you to its foot, from which a railway, rising at a sharp angle, lifts you to the top. This is not the most romantic way of climbing a mountain. When I went over the Alps in my young days, I preferred to go on foot, with alpenstock in hand, and a trusty guide to lead the way, though of late I confess that when I come to the Rhigi, which is a pretty long pull, I am willing to take steam as a substitute for legs.
an immense amount of muscle, as it does here, and there is a pleasant sensation in being carried up, as in the chariot of Elijah, and alighting on a mountain peak. The car stops at the extreme end of the ridge, where stands a hotel, planted on a ledge of rock, far above the “sea of pines” that waves below. Here, as you walk round the broad veranda, you look down into forest depths on every side, while you seem to be on a level with the eagles that are soaring into the blue vault of heaven. At this point you "change carriages,” taking another
” track, which runs along the very crest of the mountain. You are now in the rear of Lookout (calling the side toward Chattanooga the front), and as you pass slowly along the edge of the cliff, you take in the exact scene of “the battle above the clouds.” My ideas of It had been somewhat vague, and indeed I had heard some would-be critics (who, however, had never smelt gunpowder) intimate with a sneer that this boasted engagement was not what it was cracked up to be.” Far be it from me to argue with such learned authorities; but without pretending to any military knowledge, I must say that my impression of what the battle must have been was greatly increased by what I saw, for the mountain is higher, and the ascent more precipitous. All round the top, it is so escarped by nature as to present a succession of crags, so high and bold as to constitute a natural fortress, easy of defence, which the
THE BATTLE ABOVE THE CLOUDS.
bravest soldiers would not wish to attack in the face of an enemy. Scanning the position more closely, we could see why Hooker threw his troops round the mountain, and took it in the rear, for here are points more accessible, and the ascent was through a forest which was itself some protection. As the advance had to be made through thick woods, it could not be in close formation, where a wellaimed shot, tearing through a solid column, would strike down numbers. The companies and regiments had to be broken up as in a skirmish line, by which they were less exposed, and were partly screened by rocks and trees. Then, too, as they came under the cliffs, their very steepness was an advantage, for the guns above could not be depressed low enough to do execution. For this reason the mountain batteries were almost useless, and the combat was chiefly with musketry, men fighting hand to hand. All these concessions we make willingly, and yet, when all is said and done, it was a daring attempt to storm that mountain height, and the literal truth of history can take nothing from the glory of “the battle above the clouds."
Alighting from the car, we walked perhaps a mile across the plateau of the mountain. I was surprised at its extent. It is covered by a grove, under the shade of which a large body of troops might pitch their tents. As we come to the other side, we are again on the brow of a cliff, from which we take in the whole wide valley below. Yonder is Chattanooga, round which, as a centre, was encamped the army of Grant, stretching northward as far as the eye could reach, while the army of Bragg lay in full sight of it, and hardly out of cannon range. My friend, who was in the battle, was able to point out the positions of the two armies, and as he spoke of the movements of that terrible day, it seemed as if the roar of the guns was still in his ears. Of the battle itself the story has been told so
LOSSES IN THE BATTLES OF THE WAR.
often, and by the best of all witnesses, the Commanders on both sides, that it does not need to be repeated here. It was one of the great events of American history, which I can understand far better now from the hours spent that day on Lookout Mountain.
When on that mountain top, we were in the very centre of a theatre of great events. Only a few miles distant is the field of Chickamauga, where the battle was fought in September, 1863, two months before that at Chattanooga, which followed in November. A few months since there was a gathering of old soldiers at Chickamauga, in which Federals and Confederates united, (with Gen. Rosecrans, the leader of the Union Army, on one side, and Gen. John B. Gordon on the other,) at which it was proposed that this historic field be set apart by the Government, as Gettysburg had been, to be kept forever sacred as the scene of a martial prowess such as has rarely been recorded in the annals of
If the best proof of courage be the number of losses in proportion to the number of combatants, few battles of modern times can be compared with Chickamauga. The late Franco-German War is often quoted as having furnished an exhibition, not only of strategic skill unequalled since the time of Napoleon, but of an impetuous valor that took no account of human life. Of this the most signal display was at Mars la Tour, where, a movement of the French army impending for which the German army was not prepared, in order to gain a few hours, a picked corps of cavalry was ordered to dash itself against the ranks of the enemy. Officers, who saw that such an attack meant the destruction of those who made it, protested against the sacrifice; but the imperturbable Moltke calmly replied, "It is not a question of men: it is a question of necessity!” As the order to charge was an order to die, the regiments drew lots to determine which should die first, IN THE LINE OF SHERMAN'S MARCH.
and then one after the other rode madly against the foe. It was Balaklava over again, only on a larger scale. When the remnants of the squadrons that had passed through the fire, came back again, one-half of that splendid corps was left upon the plain! But a recent report, made upon exact returns obtained from the War Department, shows that many regiments in our war lost in a single battle more than half of the men who went into it! Much as we deplore the fact that this was in a civil war, we should not be worthy of the name of Americans if we could forget such splendid courage.
The battle of Chattanooga virtually ended the campaign of 1863. Bragg withdrew his army forty miles farther south to Dalton, where the narrow valley broadens into a space sufficient for a large camping-ground. He was soon relieved by General Johnston, who spent the Winter in repairing the losses of the last campaign, and preparing for the next. It came in the Spring with the advance of General Sherman, and for two months there was a battle, large or small, almost every day. The line of march was along the Western and Atlantic Railroad, without which indeed it is doubtful if the campaign could have been made at all : for the mere provisioning of the army required a hundred and forty-five car-loads a day!
As I passed over this road, of course I was in the route of the great “ Mountain Campaign," and every few minutes the conductor called my attention to some historic spot. Here was Resaca, at which General Harrison, then in command of an Indiana regiment, is said to have distinguished himself. And yonder by the track stood an old frame building, weather-beaten and ugly, but which took on a strange interest as I heard that this was the veritable “Big Shanty," which gave name to a battle. It has a gaunt and spectral appearance ; but it once shook with the roar
of artillery that thundered through the valley, and its floors were covered with wounded and dying men.
But the most picturesque scene of battle was Kenesaw Mountain, a noble height, which, overlooking the country round for many miles, formed a sort of Gibraltar for the Confederate Army, by which it was occupied as the centre of its position, with batteries on its very summit and along its sides, while the right and left wings of the army reached out for miles on either side. To carry such a position required both generalship and courage of the highest order. Every point was defended with the utmost obstinacy, while the assailants charged in front and on the flank day by day, meeting with terrible losses, but continually bringing up new forces, and pushing forward with irresistible
power. When at last Johnston was obliged to fall back, the mountain was immediately occupied by the Union troops, but with no such advantage as before, as the Confederates did not propose to attack it. It answered the
however, of a point of observation, and it was from its summit that, later in the campaign, was signalled the message to a post in the rear that had been suddenly attacked by the enemy, “Hold the fort, for I am coming,” which furnished the motto for the famous hymn-a result quite unexpected by the grim old soldier who sent it. He is said not to be always quite “devotional ” in his habits of thought or modes of speech, and must have been surprised that his message from the top of Kenesaw Mountain should be caught up as a battle-cry to be used in spiritual conflicts, and to be heralded far and wide, over land and sea.
But it is hardly possible to count all the fields of battle and of death that lie between Chattanooga and Atlanta. Every valley and every mountain side is hallowed by soldiers' graves, which lie thicker as we get farther South. Of the terrible combats that raged round Atlanta, I saw