Today in History:

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

Page 718 KY., SW. VA., Tennessee, MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA.


by Brigadier-General Gist, to occupy that portion of the line which lay west of the Chattanooga Creek to the Chattanooga road, at the base of the mountain; Cheatham's division, commanded by Brigadier-General Jackson, that known as the Craven house slope, extending from the left of Walker's line to Smith's trail, on the western side of the mountain, and the defense of the mountain was intrusted to my division and a very small and inadequate force of cavalry.

The position assigned to me-that table on the top of the mountain-included the pass at Johnson's Crook, distant 18 miles. The numerous passes along the western crest to Nickajack Pass, a distance of about 10 miles, were held by infantry; the remainder by the small force of cavalry. The defensive works on the mountain extended across from east to west at about 2 1/2 miles from the point. To guard this extended line, to protect these numerous passes, and to complete, with the dispatch so frequently urged upon me by the general commanding the line of defense, the work upon which was prosecuted agreeably to his orders day and night, and the necessity of watching with the utmost vigilance the movements of the heavy force of the enemy threatening my rear at Stevens' Gap and Johnson's Crook, demanded and received my constant and undivided attention. By personal inspection and reconnaissance, I familiarized myself with the character of the line intrusted to me, but had neither time nor occasion to make myself acquainted with the dispositions made by the lieutenant-general commanding for the defense of the rest of the line further than such information as I acquired by personal observation in visiting and adjusting the posts of my pickets and signal stations at and near the point of the mountain, from which place in favorable weather both armies could be plainly discerned.

On November 23, about 1 p.m., my attention was attracted by heavy firing in the valley below. I immediately proceeded to the point of the mountain from which I could plainly see all the movements of the enemy. I watched them closely until dark, and then hurried off the following dispatch by signal both to Lieutenant-General Hardee and direct to General Bragg:

I observed closely from the point the movements of the enemy until dark. An object seemed to be to attract our attention. All the troops in sight were formed from center to left. Those on their right moved to center. The troops Raccoon were in line in full sight. If they intend to attack, my opinion is it will be upon our left. Both of their bridges are gone.

The movements of the enemy and his demonstrations against our right center were such that in my own mind I had not the slightest doubt that his purpose was to attract our attention, induce us to concentrate on our right, thereby weakening our left, and thus render the acquisition of Lookout Mountain practicable for him.

The maneuver had the desired effect, for during that evening Walker's entire division was removed from its position to the extreme right, and the force west of Chattanooga Creek thereby diminished more than one-third. After dark I was informed by Lieutenant-General Hardee that he had been ordered to the extreme right, and I was directed Hardee that he had been ordered to the extreme right, and I was directed to assume command of the troops west of Chattanooga Creek. To fill, as far as possible, the vacancy caused by the removal of Walker's division, Jackson's brigade, of Cheatham's division, was removed from the Craven house slope, and Cumming's brigade, of my own division, from the top of the mountain, General

Page 718 KY., SW. VA., Tennessee, MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA.