Today in History:

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


soon as General Corse had made his preparations he assaulted, and a close, severe contest ensued, lasting more than an hour, gaining and losing ground, but never the position first obtained, from which the enemy in vain attempted to drive him. General Morgan L. Smith kept gaining ground on the left spur of Missionary Ridge, and colonel Loomis got abreast of the tunnel and the railroad embankment on his side, drawing the enemy's fire, and to-that extent relieving the assaulting party on the hill crest.

Callender had four of his guns on General Ewing's hill, and Captain Wood his Napoleon battery on General Lightburn's, also two guns of Dillon's battery were with Colonel Alexander's brigade. All directed their fire as carefully as possible to clear the hill to our front without endangering our own men. The fight raged furiously about 10 a. m., when General Corse received a severe wound, and was brought off the field, and the command of the brigade and of the assault at that key point devolved on that fine, young, gallant officer, Colonel Walcutt, of the Forty-sixth Ohio, who filled his part manfully. He continued the contest, pressing forward at all points. Colonel Loomis had made good progress to the right, and about 2. p. m. General John E. Smith, judging the battle to be most severe on the hill and being required to support General Ewing, ordered up Colonel Raum's and General Matthies' brigades across the field to the summit that was being fought for. They moved up under a heavy fire of cannon and musketry and joined to Colonel Walcutt, but the crest was so narrow that they necessarily occupied the west face of the hill. The enemy at the time being massed in great strength in the tunnel gorge, moved a large force under cover of the ground and the thick bushes, and suddenly appeared on the right and rear of this command. The suddenness of the attack disconcerted the men, and, exposed as they were in the open field, they fell back in some disorder to the lower edge of the field and reformed.

These two brigades were in the nature of supports and did not constitute a part of the real attack. The movement, seen from Chattanooga, 5 miles off, gave rise to the report, which even General Meigs has repeated, that we were repulsed on the left. Not so: the real attacking columns of General Corse, Colonel Loomis, and General Smith were not repulsed. They engaged in a close struggle all day, persistently, stubbornly, and well. When the two reserve brigades of General John E. Smith fell back as described, the enemy made a show of pursuit, but were caught in flank by the well-directed fire of one brigade on the wooded crest, and hastily sought his cover behind the hill. Thus matters stood about 3 p. m.

The day was bright and clear, and the amphitheater of Chattanooga lay in beauty at our feet. I had watched for the attack of General Thomas "early in the day." Column after column of the enemy was streaming toward me. Gun after gun poured its concentric shot on us from every hill and spur that gave a view of any part of the ground held by us.

An occasional shot from Fort Wood and Orchard Knob, and some musketry fire and artillery over about Lookout, was all that I could detect on our side, but about 3 p. m. I notice the white line of musketry fire in front of Orchard Knob, extending farther and farther right and left and on. We could only hear a faint echo of sound, but enough was seen to satisfy me that General Thomas was moving on the center. I knew our attack had drawn vast masses of the