Today in History:

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


seventh Missouri) crossed on a hastily constructed foot-bridge within easy range of the foot of Missionary Ridge, where, posted in the gap in rear of Rossville, we found the rebels in position with infantry and artillery, under cover of a narrow belt of timber. Colonel Curly, commanding Twenty-seventh Missouri Infantry, pushed his skirmishers forward, and the men advanced briskly in the face of the enemy's musketry, shell, and shrapnel.

With a view of flanking the enemy's position in the gap, all the infantry of my division was pushed across the creek, and Brigadier-General Woods, with the First Brigade, was ordered to take the ridge on the right, while four regiments of the Second Brigade (Colonel Williamson commanding) ascended the steep (Missionary) ridge on the left of the gap.

The troops of First Brigade had to pass through a very severe artillery fire, but executed their orders without causing any delay. So, also, did those of the Second Brigade. They met but little resistance, which proved that the rebels did not at that time anticipate an attack from us in force; at least they were not prepared to defend this very important position.

Seeing both their flanks and their line of retreat threatened, they hastily evacuated the gap, falling back toward the center of their line. In executing this movement, however, they had to leave their

artillery, ammunition, several wagons, ambulances, and large amounts of subsistence stores in our hands. The Twenty-seventh Missouri was immediately ordered to occupy the gap, while I followed up the enemy as closely as possible to a fork in the road where it divides, one road leading to Ringgold and the other running north and parallel with the Missionary Ridge.

I sent orders to General Woods and to Colonel Williamson to bring their respective commands to the road, and, forming in the gap, to await further orders.

Having reported to you the success of the above movements, I received your instructions to advance along the northern road (toward Chattanooga) after having passed the gap, and to act as circumstances might demand.

The corps of Generals Sherman and Thomas seemed to have engaged the enemy in full force, as the firing in that direction was at that time most terrific. I pressed forward as fast as the column of infantry could move, and had hardly advanced 1,000 yards in a northerly direction when I observed a strong column of the enemy, preceded by some mounted men, hurrying toward the gap we had just taken, evidently with the intention of re-enforcing that very important point. I immediately sent the information to you and to General Cruft, who followed my division with a division of the Fourteenth Corps, cautioning my command to prepare for making or repelling an attack as might become necessary.

In order to reconnoiter the ground more thoroughly, which is here very broken, I started ahead with Captain House's men to an opening where I could make a proper survey.

Having accomplished this, I returned with as little delay as possible, and formed my command in an oblique line of two echelons, pushing the left (four regiments of Second Brigade) well forward toward the crest of Missionary Ridge and extending with the right echelon (First Brigade) well down the slope of the hill. Two battalions of First Brigade followed in reserve behind the right wing. While making these preparations I could observe the movements of