Today in History:

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


secured Smith's flank by throwing his extreme right back within 200 yards of Govan's left, bringing the latter officer's line nearly at right angles to his north front, thus enabling each line to assist the other if attacked. At a favorable point on Govan's line, selected by General Hardee, I placed Douglas' battery, commanded by Lieutenant John H. Bingham, so as to enfilade any line attempting to charge Smith's north front. Lowrey's position, across the spur before mentioned, was en echelon about 200 paces in front of Govan. I ordered the whole of his brigade to occupy this position, and completed my line from Tunnel Hill to Chickamauga. Lowrey had no artillery, the spur being too steep to admit of its being brought up. Calvert's battery, commanded by Lieutenant Thomas J. Key, I placed directly over the tunnel, and between the tunnel and left of Smith's brigade were placed three regiments of Brown's brigade were placed three regiments of Brown's brigade, of Stevenson's division. I was determined to construct a slight work in front of my line. I was prevented for some time by an eclipse of the moon, which rendered the morning very dark, but at length, distributing our few axes, we went to work.

The day broke hazy, so that it was some time before the enemy could discover our operations. As soon as he did, he commenced a heavy fire on General Smith's working party, and prevented us from erecting any work whatever in front of the battery on the top of Tunnel Hill. Up to 10.30 a.m. the enemy contended himself with severe skirmishing, and a heavy artillery fire from batteries erected by him during the night on the detached hill. About this hour he drove in Smith's skirmishers, and possessed himself of the breastworks which Smith had abandoned that morning. A heavy attack on the tunnel and on Smith's line was now imminent. General Hardee sent me directions to take my position at the tunnel, and to take charge of everything in that quarter and to the right of it. The enemy was now in sight, advancing in two long lines of battle, his right stretching far beyond my left, his left stretching beyond Smith's right, where farther view of it was prevented by the woods that covered and bordered the detached hill. For the full understanding of the fierce conflict that followed, it would be proper for me in this place to give a statement of the force of the enemy opposite my position as ascertained at a later hour from prisoners and other sources. It consisted of the divisions of Major General Jef. C. Davis, three divisions of the army brought by Sherman from Vicksburg, and Howard's (Eleventh) corps, of the Army of the Potomac, all under the command of Major-General Sherman.

At 11 a.m. the first serious fight of the day commenced. It was heavy along Smith's whole line, and extended some distance south of the tunnel. The right of the enemy's line, exposed to the fire of several pieces of artillery planted over the tunnel, and met by a brigade sent by General Hardee to the foot of the ridge, swayed backward and forward for some time, but did not dare to advance nearer than 400 yards, and finally lay down, contenting itself with sending forward a large body of skirmishers and sending to the rear a much larger number of stragglers. The enemy's left, however, under shelter of Smith's abandoned work of the night before, and protected by the woods on that flank, and by the precipitous, heavily wooded sides of Tunnel Hill, advanced rapidly on Smith's line, and finally made a heavy charge on Swett's battery on the apex of the hill. The artillery men stood bravely to their guns under a terrible cross-fire, and replied with canister at short range, but still the en-