Today in History:

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

Page 734 KY., SW. VA., Tennessee, MISS., N. ALA., AND . GA.


order from Major-General Stevenson, commanding forces on the left, to form my brigade as quickly as possible, to vacate the position which I had occupied for the previous eight or ten days on the mountain, and to proceed to occupy the line which had just been vacated by General Gist's (Walker's) division. I was at the same time informed that Jackson's brigade, commanded by Colonel Wilkinson, would assist me in holding the line in question, and that he had been already directed to report to me. Owing to the darkness, the exceeding badness of the road, and the number of wagons met going up the mountain, the brigade did not reach the line until about 9 p.m. I found Colonel Wilkinson already in the trenches, and placed my brigade on his right. When thus placed in position the two brigades rested with the right on Chattanooga Creek and the left on the road to Chattanooga which passes by the foot of Lookout Mountain. In consequence of the great length of the line (upward of a mile) when compared with the smallness of the force on hand for its defense, I considered the position to be exceedingly weak. Fortunately, however, neither on that night nor during the next day did the enemy manifest any disposition to attack us. The next day we witnessed, without being able to render them any assistance, the disaster which befell our troops on the mountain.

About 10 o'clock on the night of the 24th ultimo, Major-General Cheatham, who had in the course of the day arrived upon the ground, and by virtue of seniority superseded Major-General Stevenson in command, visited my headquarters at the Gillespie house, in company with Major-General Stevenson and Brigadier-General Jackson. The order of detail was at that time given by Major-General Cheatham for the withdrawal of the troops from the west side of Chattanooga Creek. By the terms of this order my command (two brigades) withdrew the last, and at an hour arranged with reference to the withdrawal of the other brigades from the mountain, 2.30 o'clock being designated as the hour for my brigades to retire and 3 o'clock being designated as the hour for my brigades to retire and 3 o'clock for my picket to be recalled. The order of Major-General Cheatham also directed that the troops having withdrawn should be established in line of battle on the east side of the creek. Shortly after this Major-General Cheatham withdrew, leaving Major-General Stevenson in command at that point.

A short time before the arrival of the hour designated for the withdrawal of my command, a staff officer of the general commanding reached the quarters with directions that all the troops should be withdrawn as rapidly as possible from that side of the creek, and that instead of forming line of battle after having crossed they should be marched with all possible dispatch to the right and report to Lieutenant-General Hardee. It being within a few minutes of the time designated for the withdrawal of my brigades by Major-General Cheatham, and the road being now occupied by the troops which preceded mine, Major-General Stevenson deemed it not advisable to change the time indicated in the order of Major-General Cheatham.

At 2.30 o'clock I withdrew, and having reached the Gillespie house directed Wilkinson's brigade to cross the creek by the upper bridge and report there to Brigadier-General Jackson. My own brigade crossed at the lower bridge, passed through the valley, and ascended the ridge by the road on the right of General Bragg's headquarters. After reaching the top of the ridge we were subjected to a fire of shell. At this time I dispatched a staff officer to find the headquar-

Page 734 KY., SW. VA., Tennessee, MISS., N. ALA., AND . GA.