Today in History:

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


temporary foot-bridge we found there. Immediately on receipt of your orders to that effect, I moved across the creek, leaving the Twenty-seventh Missouri with the artillery at the foot of the bridge. Before I left, 2 colonels made their appearance, with orders to construct a bridge across Chickamauga Creek. Neither of these gentlemen appeared to be impressed with the necessity of pushing this work forward with all vigor, notwithstanding that in the completion of this bridge lay all our chances of bringing over our artillery. I mention this because the events of the following day proved that the delay of our artillery at the bridge was considerably felt. An earlier appearance of artillery in the next day's fight would have certainly saved many valuable lives.

I reached your headquarters after a march of a few miles, and received your instructions for next morning, i. e., to leave my bivouac at early daybreak and take the lead of the column again. The commanding general expressed his opinion that the enemy would probably make a stand at Ringgold, which town was not over 6 miles from our camp.

November 27, I left my bivouac at half past 5 o'clock. The mounted infantry, under Captain House, supported by a line of eclaireurs and flankers, of the Seventeenth Missouri Infantry, Colonel Cramer commanding, advanced rapidly over the very bad roads, exploring well the adjacent hills and fields. They found all the marks of a retreating enemy, and secured a good number of prisoners before reaching Chickamauga Creek. The creek runs in a wide semicircle round the town of Ringgold, emerging in the rear of the place from a gap in the so-called Taylor's Ridge, a high and very steep ridge, similar in appearance to Missionary Ridge.

The road we marched over led to a pretty good ford, but there was also a covered trestle bridge to right of town, which had not yet been burned by the enemy. Rebel cavalry, amounting to not less than 200, were posted at the ford and the bridge. Captain House's mounted men, being in advance of the infantry, at once engaged the rebels at the ford, who, after discharging their guns, ran for the town. House's men, following them closely, forded the creek and advanced in the direction of the bridge on the right. The rebels stationed there followed the example of their friends at the ford and ran for town, both parties vigorously pushed by Captain House's command of 12 men. When these brave soldiers came to the first houses of the town and the rebels fairly satisfied themselves of their small numbers, they made a dash out of town and drove my men back to an eminence near the creek.

During these movements Colonel J. F. Cramer urged his regiment (Seventeenth Missouri) and the Twenty-ninth Missouri (who together form a tactical battalion) forward, and secured the covered bridge before the rebels could set fire to it.

A considerable delay was occasioned by the circuitous road leading to the bridge before the infantry could be brought within supporting distance. This delay enabled the enemy to deploy their rear guard (consisting, in addition to the cavalry mentioned, of a large force of infantry and a few pieces of artillery) in the gap in rear of Ringgold and on both sides of it on Taylor's Ridge. The position was very strong and well secured on the right against a flank movement by the creek, which runs in a very deep bed through the gap. We had, for reasons already mentioned, no artillery.

As soon as Colonel Cramer, of the Seventeenth Missouri Infantry,