Today in History:

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

Page 604 KY.,SW. VA.,Tennessee,MISS.,N. ALA.,AND N. GA. Chapter XLIII.

had crossed the covered bridge he deployed the right wing of his battalion, and, supported by the left wing, drove the rebel skirmishers, both horse and foot, through the town into the gap, advancing under cover of the railroad embankment. The road coming from Chattanooga runs between the foot of Taylor's Ridge and town, and enters the gap at a rather short curve.

While Colonel Cramer's line of skirmishers drove the rebels back on their main line, and advanced beyond the railroad, General Woods received orders to deploy the Thirteenth Illinois and the Third, Twelfth, and Thirty-first Missouri Regiments on the line just vacated by Colonel Cramer's advancing battalion.

The Seventy-sixth Ohio, also of General Woods' brigade, was detailed to ascend Taylor's Ridge on the left, with a view of getting on the enemy's flank. This movement was, however, soon observed by the rebel commander, who appears to have been stationed on the ridge, and I saw a strong column moving in a direction to check the progress of the Seventy-sixth Ohio Infantry. Three regiments, the Fourth, Ninth, and Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry, of Second Brigade, were accordingly dispatched to support the Seventy-sixth Ohio Infantry. Colonel Williamson personally took command of this party, and they climbed steadily up the steep slope in two lines.

I retained the Thirty-first Iowa in reserve, detailing, however, two companies from it to deploy as sharpshooters on the slope at the left of Colonel Cramer's skirmishers, and covering the ascending battalions.

During all these movements the enemy kept up a most galling fire of artillery and musketry along the whole line, to which our infantry replied most vigorously and without yielding any of the ground they gained inch by inch. The enemy's artillery was placed at very short range in the gap, and partly masked by undergrowth and young pine trees. He fired mostly shell and canister.

Strengthening Colonel Cramer by skirmishers from the Twelfth Missouri Infantry, I sent orders to that officer to push the left of his line well forward, and at the same time ordered the Thirteenth Illinois Infantry (which held the extreme right) to advance rapidly over an open field to a few houses in front. By these movements I concentrated a converging fire on the enemy's artillery, which I hoped to secure, by driving off the cannoneers and supports.

The Thirteenth Illinois Infantry executed the order in magnificent style; they charged through a hail-storm of balls, and gained the position assigned to them and held it, although the rebels poured a most murderous fire into these brave men from the gorge in front and the hill on the right.

Seeing their artillery, nd with it the key of their position, threatened, the enemy rallied a strong force and dashed from the gorge and down the hill with great energy. He succeeded in driving in my skirmishers, who fell back on my second line (deployed behind the railroad embankment). This assault of the enemy was promptly checked by the Third, Twelfth, and Thirty-first Missouri Infantry regiments, whose well-directed volleys drove the enemy immediately back again, leaving their dead and wounded on the ground, which was at once re-occupied by a line of skirmishers. The Thirteenth Illinois remained undaunted, keeping up a vehement fire.

While the rebels were making this charge in the center, Colonel Williamson, who had meanwhile almost reached the crest of the ridge, sustained a similar assault by superior forces. I refer to his account of the occurrences connected therewith.

Page 604 KY.,SW. VA.,Tennessee,MISS.,N. ALA.,AND N. GA. Chapter XLIII.