Today in History:

572 Series I Volume XXXI-II Serial 55 - Knoxville and Lookout Mountain Part II

Page 572 Chapter XLIII. KY.,SW.VA.,Tennessee,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA.

had marched from Memphis, and I had pushed them as fast as the roads and distance would permit, but I saw enough of the condition of men and animals in Chattanooga to inspire me with renewed energy.

I immediately ordered my leading division (Ewing's) to march, via Shellmound, to Trenton, demonstrate against Lookout Ridge, but to be prepared to turn quickly and follow me to Chattanooga; and in person I returned to Bridgeport, rowing a boat down the Tennessee from Kelley's, and, immediately on arrival, put in motion my divisions in the order they had arrived.

The bridge of boats at Bridgeport was frail, and, though used day and night, our passage was slow, and the road thence to Chattanooga was dreadfully cut up and encumbered with the wagons of the other troops stationed along the road.

I reached General Hooker's headquarters, 4 miles from Chattanooga, during a rain in the afternoon off the 20th, and met General Grant's orders for the general attack on the next day. It was simply impossible for me to fill my part in time. Only one division, General John E. Smith's, was in position. General Ewing was still at Trenton, and the other two were toiling along the terrible road from Shellmound to Chattanooga. No troops ever were or could be in better condition than mine, or who labored harder to fulfill their part. On a proper representation, General Grant postponed the attack. On the 21st, I got the Second Division over Brown's Ferry bridge, and General Ewing got up, but the bridge broke repeatedly, and delays occurred which no human sagacity could prevent.

All labored night and day, and General Ewing got over on the 23d, but my rear division was cut off by the broken bridge at Brown's Ferry, and could not join me; but I offered to go in action with my three divisions, supported by Brigadier General Jef. C. Davis, leaving one of my best divisions to act with General Hooker against Lookout Mountain. That division has not joined me yet, but I know and feel that it has served the country well, and that it has reflected honor on the Fifteenth Army Corps and the Army of the Tennessee. I leave the record of its history to General Hooker or whomsoever has had its services during the late memorable events, confident that all will do it merited honor.

At last, on the 23rd of November, my three divisions lay behind the hills opposite the mouth of Chickamauga. I dispatched the brigade, of Second Division, commanded by General Giles A. Smith up, under cover of the hills, to North Chickamauga, to man the boats designed for the pontoon bridge, with orders at midnight to drop down silently to a point above the mouth of South Chickamauga, then land two regiments, who were to move along the river quietly and capture the enemy's river pickets; General Giles A. Smith then to drop rapidly below the mouth of Chickamauga, disembark the rest of his brigade, and dispatch the boats across for fresh loads. These orders were skillfully executed, and every picket but one captured. The balance of General Morgan L. Smith's division was then rapidly ferried across, that of General John E. Smith followed, and by daylight of November 24 two divisions, of about 8,000 men, were on the east bank of the Tennessee, and had thrown up a very respectable rifle-trench as a tete-de-pont.

As soon as the day dawned some of the boats were taken from the use of ferrying and a pontoon bridge begun, under the immediate direction of Captain Dresser, the whole planned and supervised by

Page 572 Chapter XLIII. KY.,SW.VA.,Tennessee,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA.