Today in History:

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


mauga River. It was narrow, covered with thick pine undergrowth, and open only where it was traversed by the railroad and the country road, which ran parallel to and alongside of each other. The position occupied by the guns commanded a clear and open view of the ground over which the enemy were forced to advance, except where it was obstructed by a number of houses from 75 to 200 yards distant. The railroad ran through the gorge on the left of the position, and the houses were on the left of the railroad, the nearest not more than 75 and the farthest not more than 200 yards distant. A portion of Liddell's brigade, consisting of, I believe, two regiments, were formed, in rear of the pieces, in two lines, the left of the front line holding a clump of woods at the left of the mouth of the gorge. The guns were screened from sight by bushes placed in their front and on their sides. It was not long before the head of the column of the enemy appeared in sight. Their first attack was made, I think, against the troops which were holding the ridge upon the right. The fight here was short, sharp, and decisive. They were quickly hurled down the hill-side by the infantry. While the troops there were being engaged, they also moved as if to possess themselves of the gap. One portion of their forces moved straight forward down the railroad in column, while three regiments moved forward by a right-oblique as if to flank our left. These three regiments moved in line with the beautiful order and precision characteristic of well-drilled troops until they were distant not more than 300 yards.

Meanwhile, the column on the railroad came slowly on until their advance was arrested by a solid shot from the left piece. Simultaneously a round of canister from the right piece was fired into the line which had marched opposite to our left. Then the left piece was quickly trained to the left and another round of canister from each was thrown into the same line. Owing to the high weeds and the smoke of the discharge, it was not possible to ascertain what, if any execution had been done in the enemy's ranks, when the smoke of the second round had lifted, the ground upon which they had stood was abandoned.

Five or ten minutes afterward their skirmishers were seen running up from a distance greatly in rear of the place to which they had first advanced. At no time after that did they move so large a force so close to us; but, sending their skirmishers forward, they were able to cause great annoyance, for one by one, stealthily and rapidly approaching, their sharpshooters gained the cover of the houses before spoken of. From behind these, running from one to the other until there were many behind each, they fired many times and accurately. Not many men were hurt because of the protection afforded by a slight ravine which ran immediately in rear of the pieces and in which the cannoneers sought cover while not firing. Having but two chests of ammunition I did not deem it advisable to fight with men singly and in groups of twos and threes, but reserved my other ammunition and my last canister for a larger force. In this I was fortunate, for after their sharpshooters had been for some time firing without being able to provoke a reply, except from the infantry upon our left, taking courage from the silence of the pieces, about 300-probably a portion of the three regiments which had been driven back by the first fire and had sought the houses for protection-suddenly springing from behind the houses, made a rapid, daring, and determined dash as if to gain the clump of woods which was im-