The Project Gutenberg EBook of Chattanooga or Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge from Moccasin Point, by Bradford Ripley Wood This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Chattanooga or Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge from Moccasin Point Author: Bradford Ripley Wood Release Date: November 8, 2010 [EBook #34242] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CHATTANOOGA *** Produced by The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)
Brevet Captain, late U.S.A., Brevet Major U.S.V. Albany, N.Y.
A paper read at the Thirty-second Annual Meeting of the U.S. Veteran Signal Corps Association, held at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., September 10, 1907.
Major Wood, when introduced, said:—
I wish to describe to the comrades present a great battle which resulted in a victory for the Union, and to introduce you to some of our Western soldiers. If I can give you one or two new facts, or increase your love for the West or for all of our great and glorious country, I shall be well pleased. My story is not all original, but what is not I have taken from official and reliable records, so that I can say that it is all true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN AND MISSIONARY RIDGE
FROM MOCCASIN POINT
In the fall of the year 1863, during the Civil War, while serving in the signal corps attached to the fourth corps of the army of the Cumberland, it was my privilege to have a good station on Moccasin Point, opposite Lookout Mountain, on the north side of the Tennessee river, from which to witness the assault of the Union troops under Gen. Hooker up the north face of the mountain, and also the charge of the army of the Cumberland under Gen. Thomas up the western slope of Missionary Ridge.
Moccasin Point is about three miles below Chattanooga and is formed by a bend in the Tennessee, which turns to the east and north at Lookout Mountain, continuing in that direction to a little north of Chattanooga, when it inclines to the northwest and then again to the southwest. The eastern side of Moccasin Point near the river is quite steep and from 100 to 150 feet above it, the crest of the ridge being covered with trees. The western side and the point slope gently to the river bank and contain some cultivated fields and farm houses, the peninsula being about a mile wide in the widest part. From the summit of Lookout Mountain it bears some resemblance to an Indian's foot clad in a moccasin, from which it derives its name. Lookout Mountain is an elevated plateau extending from the Tennessee river about forty miles southwest into Georgia and Alabama, its sides and summit being covered with trees, with some open fields and cultivated farms. Near Chattanooga its height is about 1500 feet above the river. The northern slope from the Tennessee is rocky and steep for about 600 feet, when the ascent is more gradual and contains an open space of a few acres cultivated as a farm. A white farm house, known as Craven's, is situated on the upper margin of the farm and near the western point. From the southern side of the farm the ascent to the summit is very rocky and almost perpendicular. The house was occupied by the confederate general E. C. Walthall as his headquarters. Around the point of the mountain, a little above the river, is the track of the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad cut in the side of the rock, and above it, across the open field, was a wagon road leading into Lookout valley. On the eastern side of the mountain and connecting with this was the road to Summertown, the only wagon road to the summit of the mountain for many miles. Chattanooga creek, a good-sized stream, flows into the Tennessee at the foot of the mountain on the eastern side, and Lookout creek from Lookout valley on the western.
After the battle of Chickamauga the center of the army of the Cumberland withdrew from the field in good order on the night of Sept. 20, 1863, to Rossville, a few miles south of Chattanooga, and was ready to give battle on the following day, the right and left wings being again in position. It was not however closely followed or attacked by the enemy, but as Chattanooga was considered a much better position for defense, on Sept. 22, the army took up its position on the hills surrounding the town and was soon intrenched and securely fortified against any attack. Its lines extended from the Tennessee river on the south to the bank of the river on the north. It also held Moccasin Point, the river being crossed by a pontoon bridge, and the north side of the river to Bridgeport, from whence it received its supplies by wagon road.
The Confederate army occupied Lookout Mountain, Lookout and Chattanooga valleys on the south, and Missionary Ridge on the east, also Orchard Knob and some other intervening hills. They had railroad connection with Atlanta, 140 miles south, and could easily receive supplies and reinforcements.
On Oct. 20, 1863, I was ordered with Lt. S. A. Thayer and four flagmen to establish a signal station of observation on Moccasin Point, to watch the movements of the enemy and report to a signal station on Cameron Hill directly south of Chattanooga, from whence there was a telegraph line to the headquarters of the army in the town. Our station was on the edge of a bluff overlooking the river, and about fifty yards in rear of the guns of Capt. Naylor's battery, the 10th Indiana. This battery consisted of one 10-pounder and one 20-pounder Parrott, and two 12-pounder brass howitzers. To the right and a little lower down on the point, was Capt. Spencer's battery the 1st Illinois, formerly Capt. Aleshire's, of two brass Napoleons and two 12 pounder howitzers. Still further to the right and rear was encamped a brigade of infantry under the command of Gen. W. C. Whitaker. On the north face of Lookout Mountain were two lines of intrenchments with redoubts on the eastern and western extremities, and a covered way around the point. There had been a battery near the Craven house, but the fire of our guns was so accurate that it had been withdrawn to the summit of the mountain where it was more secure. Our batteries had a good range of the wagon road across the point of Lookout and also of the Summertown road on the eastern side of the mountain, a portion of which could be seen. As Capt. Naylor was serving at division headquarters as ordnance officer, Lt. Crosby was left in charge of his battery, and with his Parrott guns he did some very fine shooting. He sank the trail of one of them in the ground elevating the muzzle sufficiently to explode some shells directly over the summit of the mountain. One day we noticed a signal officer on the point of Lookout, signaling to Gen. Bragg's headquarters on Missionary Ridge, and Lt. Crosby was about to fire at him when I requested him not to do so in order that I might try to read his message. I called off the numbers to one of my flagmen, who wrote them down and afterwards compared them to the Confederate code which had been given me, but they did not agree. As the flagman on the mountain stood with his left side towards me, it was very difficult to distinguish the motions of the flag from the right to the left; so I thought I did not get the numbers correctly, or else the officer was using a cipher. I tried again however, Lt. Crosby writing down the numbers for me, but meeting with no better success, I said I had no objection to his firing at the flag, which he did, the shell exploding very near it, and we saw it no more. There was a rumor soon after that a signal officer had been killed on the top of the mountain, but I never heard it confirmed. The signal station was probably moved further back on the summit where we could not see it, as communication was still kept up with Missionary Ridge. For firing at the summit, Lt. Crosby cut his fuses for twenty seconds, and for firing at the enemy on the Craven farm and the Summertown road, for ten and twelve seconds. A little later a section of 20-pounder Parrotts was placed on an elevation to the right and some distance to the rear of the batteries mentioned, which enfiladed the enemy's lines on the western slope of the mountain. The firing from Lookout Mountain though frequent did little damage on Moccasin Point, the shells either falling short or going over our heads into the Tennessee river.
One evening while sending a message by torchlight it became necessary to fill the stationary foot-torch with turpentine. In doing so some of the fluid was accidentally spilled on the ground, which afterwards became ignited from one of the torches, the flame spreading rapidly among the dry pine needles and brush on the ground. The enemy seeing the fire commenced shelling us, one shell striking very near, but with the assistance of some men from the battery, by stamping and beating, we soon succeeded in extinguishing the fire. Waiting a few minutes until everything was quiet, I lighted my torches again and finished my message without being again disturbed. Not long after this there was a forest fire on the eastern side of Lookout Mountain, which burned for nearly a week, but as it approached the houses near the point it was extinguished.
The following are a few of the messages sent in cipher from the signal station on Moccasin Point to the station on Cameron Hill:—
Oct. 26, 1:20 a.m.
Gen. Thomas:—Beat the enemy off Williams' Island twice to-night. Want no help.
(Signed) Whitaker, General.
Oct. 29, 7:50 p.m.
Gen. Thomas:—Rebel troops were moving about northeast. They were twenty-seven minutes in passing a given point.
Nov. 15, 11:20 a.m.
Capt. Leonard:—Naylor's battery firing at squads of men passing along the road near white house on Lookout, also at earthwork on the edge of open field below and to the right of the house.
Nov. 15, 12:30 p.m.
Battery No. 5 is now firing at a regiment of infantry and wagons going up Lookout.
Nov. 16, 9:30 a.m.
About a brigade of infantry just passed over the mountain towards Lookout valley. Our batteries opened on them.
Nov. 20, 11:20 a.m.
Rebels are extending rifle pits on Lookout below white house. Naylor's battery is shelling them.
Nov. 21, 4:20 p.m.
Lt. Bachtell:—They are rifle pits. I reported them to Gen. Thomas about a week ago when he was here. Have seen a few men passing there to-day but none at work. Naylor's battery will fire at the point you mention.
Nov. 22, 9:55 a.m.
Capt. Leonard:—The enemy are strengthening their earthworks on northeast face of Lookout. Naylor's battery is shelling them.
Nov. 22, 11:15 a.m.
Can see artillery and a long train of wagons going up the road on Mission Ridge, 85 degrees east of south from this station.
Nov. 23, 11:15 a.m.
Naylor's battery is firing at wagons going up the mountain and at men at work on earthwork near white house. Three shots from summit of Lookout this morning.
Nov. 23, 3 p.m.
Naylor's and Aleshire's batteries firing at enemy in line of battle on our right beyond rolling mill.
It is very probable that the firing of our batteries at this time was intended to draw the attention of the enemy from the approach of Gen. Sherman's troops above Chattanooga.
Nov. 23, 9:30 p.m.
Have just read rebel message from station on Mission Ridge, viz: "On whose left did Gen. S—— think the attack would be made?"
This message was sent from Gen. Bragg's' headquarters on Missionary Ridge without address or signature. In the evening of the same day the following message was secured from another source:—
Gen. Hardee:—I observed from the Point the movements of the enemy until dark. The object seemed to be to attract our attention. The troops in sight were formed from center to left. Those on the right moved to center. The troops from Raccoon were in full sight. If they intend to attack, my opinion is, it will be on our left. Both of their bridges are gone.
(Signed) Gen. Stevenson.
The troops from Raccoon referred to were Gen. Sherman's. From the summit of Lookout Mountain and from Missionary Ridge the movements of the Union army could easily be seen in the day time, but the Confederates seem to have been surprised by the coming of Generals Hooker and Sherman. In Gen. Longstreet's book, "From Manassas to Appomattox," in the month of October he states: "Gen. Longstreet's command occupied Lookout Mountain and the left of the Confederate army. Alexander's batteries occupied the top of the mountain. Gen. Alexander managed to drop an occasional shell about the enemy's lines by lifting the trails of his guns, but the fire of other batteries was not effective." President Davis visited Gen. Bragg's army Oct. 9, and viewed Chattanooga from Lookout Mountain. We on Moccasin Point were informed of his presence and looked for him with our glasses. He seemed to have been much encouraged by the view from Lookout rock and predicted that the town would soon be again in his possession with the Union army which surrounded it. The Union army was surrounded on every side but one by the Confederates, occupying fortified positions on summits which seemed naturally impregnable. The supplies of the army had to be hauled from Bridgeport over a wagon road through the Sequatchie valley, a hostile country, a distance of 60 miles, in some places exposed to sharpshooters and the guns from Lookout Mountain, and then must cross the Tennessee on a frail pontoon bridge. Gen. Longstreet had established a signal station in observation of Bridgeport. He writes:
"On Oct. 27 the signal party reported the enemy advancing from Bridgeport in force, artillery and infantry, but the report was discredited at Gen. Bragg's headquarters. On Oct. 28 Gen. Bragg while laying his plans sitting on the point of Lookout rock, the battery from Moccasin Point threw a shell which exploded about two hundred feet below them. That angered Gen. Bragg and he ordered Gen. Alexander to drop some of his shells about the enemy's heads. As this little practice went on a dispatch messenger came bursting through the brushwood asking for Gen. Longstreet, and reported the enemy marching from Bridgeport along the base of the mountain, artillery and infantry. Gen. Bragg denied the report and rebuked the soldier, but the soldier said: 'General, if you will ride to a point on the west side of the mountain, I will show them to you.' They did so and saw the 11th and 12th corps under Gen. Hooker marching quietly along the valley towards Brown's Ferry. Gens. Bragg and Longstreet were surprised, but the latter was surprised because Gen. Hooker did not march along the mountain top instead of in the valley. They saw the enemy go into bivouac with the rear guard of about 1500 men about three miles in the rear and planned to capture it by a night attack."
Gen. Hooker left Bridgeport Oct. 27, and marching up the river left Gen. Geary with the rear guard to protect Kelly's ford, and with the main body of his troops proceeded to the vicinity of Brown's Ferry, a few miles further up the river, where they went into camp. He wished to hold both fords of the river. A desperate attempt was made to cut off Gen. Geary in the night, but his men were not surprised and after a sharp fight drove the enemy back. Gens. Howard and Schurz were sent to the assistance of Geary and soon ran into the enemy, with whom they had a severe fight, driving him up the mountain and taking many prisoners. This was called the battle of Wauhatchie. The loss of Gen. Hooker was 383 in killed and wounded. The loss of the Confederates Gen. Longstreet states was 408. 150 were found dead in front of Gen. Geary and over 100 prisoners were taken.
The capture of Brown's Ferry seems to have been a complete surprise. The night of Oct. 27 was dark and the pontoons for the new bridge, loaded with soldiers, which floated down the river from Chattanooga around Moccasin Point to the ferry, a distance of nine miles, were not perceived by the enemy until they reached the appointed place of landing, when the pickets fired a few shots and fled. Troops which had marched across Moccasin Point from Chattanooga were hurried across the river in the boats, and in a short time the defenses were strong enough to hold the new pontoon bridge, which was speedily completed. Communication by river was now open between Bridgeport and Chattanooga, so that supplies of provisions and stores were soon rushing to the army of the Cumberland. Although Lookout valley seemed now lost to the Confederates and Lookout Mountain was threatened, Gen. Bragg on Nov. 4 detached Gen. Longstreet with 15,000 men to attack Knoxville. The situation of Gen. Burnside was precarious, as he was surrounded by the enemy and in more need of supplies than the army of the Cumberland.
About 2 p.m. on Nov. 23, which was a cool and clear day, we noticed a long line of troops in front of Fort Wood on the east side of Chattanooga, as if for inspection or review; but as soon as they commenced to move forward we concluded it was for a reconnoissance. This proved to be the case, as deserters had reported that many of Gen. Bragg's troops had gone away, some to intercept Gen. Sherman, who was thought to be approaching by the way of Trenton and McLemore's Cove, Georgia, on their left. The reconnoissance was made by the division of Gen. Thos. J. Wood of the 4th corps, supported by Gen. Sheridan on the right and Gen. Howard on the left. It was soon ascertained that the Confederate intrenchments were still occupied, but by a rapid movement of our troops they were carried with the capture of Orchard Knob, an important elevation between Fort Wood and Missionary Ridge. The loss in Gen. Wood's division was 190 killed and wounded. He took 174 prisoners including eight officers and one stand of colors. The summit of Orchard Knob was immediately occupied by Bridge's battery of six guns, four 3-inch Rodmans and two Napoleons. This advance was of great advantage to the Union Army and caused Gen. Bragg to transfer Walker's division from Lookout Mountain to sustain the right against what seemed to be a most threatening demonstration.
During the 23d of November the pontoon bridge above Chattanooga parted, leaving Gen. Osterhaus' division on the north bank of the Tennessee; but as three of Gen. Sherman's divisions had already crossed, Gen. Grant directed not to delay operations any longer. Gen. Thomas then advised Gen. Hooker, if Gen. Osterhaus' division failed to cross, he should endeavor with it and his own troops to take the point of Lookout Mountain, and later he advised him that the mountain should be taken if a demonstration should develop its practicability.
The morning of Nov. 24 was cool and cloudy, threatening rain. There was a cloud about the summit of the mountain, and at no time during the day was the top of the mountain clearly visible from Moccasin Point. A little before 10 a.m. heavy firing was heard on the west side of the mountain, gradually growing nearer. At 10:30 a.m. I received the following message from Lookout valley by the way of Chattanooga:—
Commanding Officer Batteries on Moccasin Point:—Gen. Hooker desires that you will keep a sharp lookout on the eastern slope of the nose of Lookout Mountain. If any of the enemy's troops go up there, shell them.
(Signed) D. Butterfield, Maj. Gen. and Chief of Staff.
Not long after, suddenly, crowds of the enemy came rushing round the western point of the mountain and filled the trenches and earthworks on the northern slope close by. All the guns on Moccasin Point now opened a destructive fire.
Gen. Hooker's command consisted of Gen. Geary's division of the 12th corps, Gen. Osterhaus' division of the 15th, and two brigades of Gen. Cruft's division of the 4th corps. He had sent Geary's division and Whitaker's brigade of Cruft's division to Wauhatchie to cross Lookout creek and then to sweep down the right bank, to clear it of the enemy and cover the crossing of the remaining forces. He ordered Col. Grose to seize the common road bridge just below the railroad bridge crossing and repair it, and directed Gen. Charles R. Woods, then in command of Gen. Osterhaus' division, to move his division to Brown's Ferry under cover of the hills, to the crossing of Lookout creek and support the batteries; one, battery K, 1st Ohio artillery, on a high hill a little north of the stream; and the other battery K, 1st N.Y. artillery, on a hill to the rear of the other. At 8 a.m. Gen. Geary crossed Lookout creek, captured the enemy's pickets, and then ascended the mountain side until his right touched the base of the palisades. The fog which overhung the mountain top and upper steeps and the woods concealed the movement. Then with the right clinging to the palisades he swept round towards the mountain's point. Simultaneously with Gen. Geary's first movement, Col. Grose attacked the enemy at the bridge and having driven them back commenced to repair. The noise of the conflict called the enemy's nearest forces from their camps. One detachment advanced to the railroad embankment, which formed a good parapet and admitted a sweeping fire upon the Union troops advancing from the bridge. To avoid loss of life in a direct advance, Gen. Hooker directed Gen. Osterhaus, now commanding his division, to send a brigade to prepare a crossing a half mile further up the creek under cover of the woods. At 11 a.m. the bridge was completed, and soon after Gen. Geary's division and Whitaker's brigade in line, sweeping the mountain from base to palisade, came abreast. The batteries then opened fire, and Woods and Grose crossed the creek and aligned their brigades on Geary's left as it swept down the valley. The troops of the enemy in the first positions that escaped the artillery fire ran into the infantry lines so quickly that overthrow occurred to all that had taken position in the valley and near the western base of the mountain. Many were killed and wounded and the remainder were captured. Then the line moved onwards towards the mountain's front. As the increasing roar of musketry indicated the sweep of the battle to the east, the anxiety for its revelation on the open ground became intense. Soon could be seen the routed enemy in rapid motion followed by Gen. Hooker's line with its right under the palisades. With a plunging fire from above and behind, they rolled up the enemy's lines and driving them from their intrenchments, did not halt until the middle of the open ground was gained. Here the enemy received reinforcements and a more determined stand was made.
Gen. Cruft had been ordered to move south along the western base of the mountain and charge up to the white house. Grose's brigade of his division and Osterhaus' command, having gathered up the captured on the lower ground, closed on the left and then the enemy was driven from his defenses on the open ground and retreated up the mountain toward the eastern slope. As Gen. Cruft's troops charged the last line of intrenchments near the Craven house, the sun shone out for a few minutes and the battle flags of both sides could be plainly seen from Moccasin Point. It was a thrilling sight. Gen. Hooker was greatly assisted by the batteries on Moccasin Point, which swept the northern face of the mountain, pouring shot and shell into the enemy's lines about the Craven house and the Summertown road.
At 12:50 p.m. I received the following message:—
Commanding Officer Moccasin Point:—Throw no more shells on this side of the mountain. You are throwing in the midst of our men.
I immediately read the message to Capt. Naylor, who ordered his battery to cease firing. I asked him if he could see the enemy and our troops plainly, and he said he could. I then asked him if he was firing into our men, and he replied he was not. I then ran with the message to the commanding officer of the other battery to the right, who immediately ordered his battery to cease firing, and asked him the same questions. He denied that he was firing into our men or that he was firing on the western side of the mountain. I had watched the firing of the batteries and did not believe that they were firing into our own troops or that any of the shells went on the western side of the mountain. I did not think that Gen. Thomas would believe it, and as my messages went through headquarters at Chattanooga, with the consent of Capt. Naylor, whom I considered the commanding officer on the Point at that time, at 1:18 p.m. I sent the following message to Gen. Hooker:—
Capt. Naylor, Moccasin Point, says he can see the enemy's flank plainly and requests permission to fire at them.
(Signed) Wood, Capt. and A.S.O.
At 2:35 p.m. I received the following message from headquarters at Chattanooga.
Wood:—Gen. Thomas directs that the batteries on Point open on the Summertown road immediately.
Capt. Jesse Merrill was chief signal officer of the army of the Cumberland on Gen. Thomas' staff. About this time the mists descended on the mountain and the troops were hidden from view and there was a little rain. It did not become clear again until nearly dark, so that the batteries did not begin firing again, but I read the message to the commanding officers of the batteries and we considered it a sufficient vindication that Gen. Thomas did not believe that they were firing into Gen. Hooker's men. The musketry firing continued in the fog and the enemy made a desperate stand behind a large rock to the left of the Craven house and in defending the Summertown road on the eastern side of the mountain. The heavy firing ceased about 2 p.m. Gen. Hooker's troops had exhausted their ammunition and no ammunition trains could now reach them. At 5 p.m. Gen. Carlin's brigade of the 1st division 14th corps crossed Chattanooga creek near its mouth and ascended the mountain to Gen. Hooker's right. The troops of this brigade carried on their persons ammunition for Hooker's skirmishers in addition to their ordinary supply for themselves. As night settled down the skirmishing continued very heavy, the flashes of the muskets on the side of the mountain presenting a brilliant sight to the spectators. Under cover of the skirmishing the mountain was evacuated and in the morning there were no troops to be seen on the northern slope. The weather was a little foggy, but as it gradually cleared, a line of troops without colors displayed could be seen in the valley through an opening in the trees, marching towards Missionary Ridge. Not being able to distinguish whether they were the enemy's or our own, at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 25 I sent the following message to Capt. Jesse Merrill at army headquarters:—
Can see a long line of infantry on ridge beyond Chattanooga creek a little east of South. Are they our troops?
Not receiving an answer very promptly, I left a man to watch the station on Cameron Hill with my marine glass, and unfastening my telescope from the stake to which it was attached, hastened to the guns on the point, and looking through it could see plainly by the gray and jean uniforms, the slouched hats and the furled colors, that the troops were Confederates, and asked Lt. Crosby to look at them and if he thought he could reach them, but he said that he could not train his guns upon them. At 10:10 a.m. I sent the following message to Capt. Leonard:—
Fifty degrees east of south and about two miles distant, a heavy column of rebels marching towards Mission Ridge.
Shortly after I received this answer to my message to Capt. Merrill:—
I do not know.
Some daring soldiers of the 8th Kentucky were the first to scale the palisades and unfurl the national flag on the summit of Lookout Mountain. As the fog lifted it soon became apparent that the left flank of the enemy had been turned and the forces which held the mountain had been transferred to Missionary Ridge. In this battle Gen. Hooker had two divisions and two brigades, seven brigades in all of 9680 men, and in the evening was reinforced by the brigade of Gen. Carlin, three regiments of which were engaged. Gen. Stevenson, the Confederate general, commanded two divisions of six brigades on the mountain, and another brigade was sent to reinforce him but too late to be of any value. He reports that only four of his brigades were in action. The casualties in a few of the regiments under Gen. Hooker were not reported until after the fighting at Ringgold and Graysville, when the total was given for the four days; but the loss at Lookout Mountain was about 75 killed and 375 wounded, a total of 450. The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was about the same and Gen. Hooker captured between 2000 and 3000 prisoners, five stand of colors, two pieces of artillery and 5000 muskets, and 20,000 rations and camp and garrison equipage for three brigades were abandoned on the summit of the mountain.
Owing to bad weather and roads Gen. Sherman had been delayed in crossing the Tennessee. Gen. Howard's corps had been detached from Gen. Hooker and was formed in close column north and west of Fort Wood Nov. 23. The 4th and 14th corps extended from Citico creek north of Chattanooga around Forts Wood and Negley, and Academy and Cameron Hills. On the morning of the 24th Gen. Sherman was crossing the river above Chattanooga. The utmost efforts had been made by Gen. W. F. Smith to provide the pontoon bridges for Gen. Sherman's troops to cross the river near the mouth of Chickamauga creek to attack the enemy's right flank. The river at the point selected for the crossing was 1300 feet wide, and two bridges were proposed, and one also for the mouth of South Chickamauga 180 feet in length. As it was expected that the enemy would contest the passage every precaution had been taken to keep the projected bridges a profound secret. The pontoons had been hauled on by-roads on the north side of the Tennessee to the North Chickamauga creek, eight miles above Chattanooga, and there launched and concealed, in readiness to be floated down to the place of crossing. At midnight on Nov. 23d, 116 boats with a brigade left the North Chickamauga and floated quietly to the place of crossing. They were landed above and below the mouth of South Chickamauga and were first used to transport troops from the opposite shore. By daylight two divisions were over and the construction of the bridge was under vigorous prosecution. The steamer Dunbar from Chattanooga, which had been captured in a disabled condition and repaired by our soldiers, was also of great assistance in transporting the troops, especially as on account of the rise in the river from heavy rains, more pontoons were needed and but one bridge could be thrown. Just as the last boat was connected Gen. Howard with one brigade of infantry and a small cavalry escort arrived from Chattanooga without having met with any resistance. Leaving his brigade to skirmish on the right of Gen. Sherman's advance at his request, he returned to Chattanooga with his escort. The bridge was finished at 11 a.m., and at 1 p.m. Gen. Sherman moved forward with three divisions in echelon. He met with no serious resistance and at 4 p.m. occupied the two northern summits of Missionary Ridge. There was still one summit between Gen. Sherman and the tunnel. Gen. Grant had expected that he would carry the ridge to the tunnel before the enemy could concentrate against him; but the intervening hill was the one upon which Gen. Bragg's right flank rested. The crest of Missionary Ridge is divided into distinct summits throughout its whole length by numerous depressions. The deepest of these between the Tennessee river and Rossville separates the second summit, which Gen. Sherman had gained from the third, which was the strongest position for lateral defense within Gen. Bragg's lines. Here Gen. Cleburne's famous division was placed. Heavy barricades constructed of logs and earth, covered the troops on the first defensive line, while the higher ground to the south gave room for successive supporting columns. A somewhat thickly planted forest gave additional protection to the enemy. It was the strength of this position that induced Gen. Bragg to yield the first two hills to Gen. Sherman. Their abandonment shortened his line while the depression on his right and the slopes east and west placed his enemy under his guns on every practicable line of attack. Gen. Bragg now had his entire army on the ridge. Cleburne's and Gist's divisions were on the extreme right opposed to Gen. Sherman, his left was held by Stewart's division, his center by Breckenridge's division and portions of the commands of Buckner and Hindman under Gen. Anderson, and the divisions of Cheatham and Stevenson from Lookout Mountain were in motion toward the right. Gen. Sherman opened the battle of Nov. 25 soon after sunrise by the advance of Gen. Corse's brigade from the right center. Gen. Corse moved down the southern slope of the second hill gained the night before and under a destructive fire ascended towards Cleburne's fortified position. He gained a lateral elevation about eighty yards distant from the enemy's defenses and held it firmly. Advancing repeatedly from this position he was as often driven back and in turn repulsed every attack of the enemy. In the meantime Gen. Morgan L. Smith's division advanced along the eastern base of the hill and Loomis' brigade supporting Corse on the left was sustained by the two reserve brigades of Gen. John E. Smith's division. Gen. Morgan L. Smith pressed his attack to the enemy's works but gained no permanent lodgement. The character and issue of this contest was observed by Gen. Grant from Orchard Knob.
Pending Gen. Sherman's series of attacks there had been some activity on the right flank of the Union army. Early in the morning Gen. Thomas had directed Gen. Hooker to move with his forces except two regiments to hold the mountain on the road to Rossville. Later he had ordered him to advance upon the enemy's works in conjunction with the 14th corps under Gen. Palmer. Gen. Hooker advanced rapidly to Chattanooga creek, but was there delayed to restore a bridge which the enemy had destroyed in his retreat from the mountain. It was evident from the importance of the position that Gen. Bragg would maintain his right if possible. Gen. Sherman was threatening not only to turn that flank, but was also menacing his rear and his depot of supplies at Chickamauga station. In the mean time Gen. Hooker had attained position on the enemy's left flank which caused him to retreat to Rossville. Gen. Hooker then disposed his troops to sweep Missionary Ridge toward the north. He directed Gen. Osterhaus to cross to the east side, Gen. Cruft to advance on the summit and Gen. Geary on the western slope and edge of the valley. Gen. Grant had waited for Gen. Sherman's success in turning the enemy's right flank since early morning, and during the afternoon he had waited for Gen. Hooker to engage his left. The day was now nearly gone and some new measure was necessary or the sun would set with Gen. Bragg in possession of Missionary Ridge. Four divisions were in front of Gen. Bragg's center, now held by less than four divisions, as a portion of Stewart's on the extreme left, under the direction of Gen. Breckenridge, had been sent against Gen. Hooker. From 11 a.m. until after 3 p.m. Confederate troops were plainly seen on the crest of the ridge marching past Gen. Bragg's headquarters to reinforce his right. In order to relieve the pressure on Gen. Sherman, Gen. Grant ordered Gen. Thomas to advance with the army of the Cumberland and attack Gen. Bragg's center. The order required that the enemy should be dislodged from the rifle-pits and intrenchments at the base of Missionary Ridge. His four divisions from right to left were Johnson's, Sheridan's, Woods' and Baird's, consisting of eleven brigades of about 20,000 men. Two lines of skirmishers covered the battle front and such troops as were designated as reserves were massed in rear of their respective organizations. Gen. Thomas' line was more than a mile long. Most of the houses between the lines had been destroyed and the trees cut down and used for fuel. To the east and south of Fort Wood the plain was barren. At five minutes past 4 p.m. six successive cannon shots from the battery on Orchard Knob gave the signal for the advance. At the sixth discharge the line moved forward in splendid array with colors flying and bayonets fixed. The batteries of the enemy on the ridge immediately opened upon them with great activity. Gen. Brannan's heavy guns in Forts Wood, Negley, Sheridan and Rosseau and four light batteries on the intermediate hills gave emphatic response. Their fire was at first directed to the enemy's inferior intrenchments, and when that endangered the advancing lines, their missiles were thrown upon the summit of Missionary Ridge. The change of direction was soon necessary, as the troops in rapid movement first met the enemy's pickets and their reserves, and then his stronger line in his lower intrenchments, and drove all in confusion to the crest of the ridge. The advance of the Union troops had been so rapid that the forces which had so often repeated their furious assaults at Chickamauga lost courage and made no soldierly efforts to maintain their positions, though supported by at least fifty guns which at short range were fast decimating the assaulting columns. Having executed their orders holding the enemy's lower defenses, the four divisions stood under his batteries while the troops they had routed threw themselves behind the stronger intrenchments on the summit. To stand still was death, to fall back was not compassed by orders and was forbidden by every impulse of the brave men who with no stragglers had moved so boldly and so successfully upon the foe.
Missionary Ridge rises to a height of between 400 and 500 feet. The trees had been cut down and the slope was rough and uneven, in places rocky and covered with trunks and stumps of trees. There were rifle-pits half way up and just below the crest a strong line of intrenchments. While looking through my telescope at the lower line almost directly in front of Gen. Bragg's headquarters, in less than a minute after they had been taken and before the enemy who were driven out had reached the crest, I saw a few of our men start up the hill in pursuit. The movement extended first to the left and afterwards to the right. I exclaimed, "They are going up the hill, may God help them," and some one standing near by said, "Amen." We did not expect it and it looked like a forlorn hope. The cannonade was terrific. Sometimes our men would halt for a few seconds until others came up, but none went back. The enthusiasm spread and our men kept advancing, inclining a little to the right, taking advantage of what cover there was or stopping to reload, though there was not much firing on their part. During the assault a caisson on the crest a little to the north of Gen. Bragg's headquarters was struck by a shell, probably from Fort Wood, and exploded with great effect, a column of smoke rising high in the air; and not long after another exploded further to the north in a similar manner. Just before our line of troops appeared on the crest I saw a group of men run a gun from the intrenchment to the top of the ridge, fire it to the south along the line of intrenchments and then turn it around and fire it at the fleeing enemy on the other side of the ridge. Capt. McMahon of the 41st Ohio writes: "His regiment was on the right of the first line of Gen. Hazen's brigade. The right company of the regiment captured a section of artillery on the crest, turned the guns, enfiladed the crest and drove the enemy in Gen. Sheridan's front into a precipitate retreat." In a few moments more the crest of the ridge was occupied all along the front of the army of the Cumberland and Gen. Bragg's center was routed. Gen. Hooker soon after swept the ridge northward from Rossville connecting with Gen. Johnson's right. Gen. Hardee's forces opposite Gen. Sherman alone maintained their position. From Gen. Bragg's own declaration and from the observation of those occupying elevated positions, there is no room to doubt that Gen. Thomas J. Wood's division first reached the summit.  Gen. Sheridan's and Gen. Baird's, on the right and left, very soon after gained the crest. Gen. Wood's troops enfiladed the enemy's line to the right and left as soon as they broke through it. Many isolated contests were conducted with spirit by the enemy but the fragments of his line were speedily brushed away.
About 6 p.m. I saw a signal flag on a hill in Chattanooga valley near the ridge calling my station, and answering the call received the following message which I forwarded to the Cameron Hill station.
Gen. Thomas:—I think we have got them, but I want a battery.
(Signed) Gen. Granger.
The impulse to carry the summit of the ridge was seemingly spontaneous and from different points several brigades passed beyond the limit fixed by Gen. Grant's order before there was any concerted action toward a general assault. Gens. Bragg, Hardee, Breckenridge and others of inferior rank exerted themselves to prevent defeat, and Gen. Bragg was nearly surrounded before he entirely despaired and abandoned the field. Gen. Breckenridge resisted Gen. Hooker as he ascended the ridge at Rossville, availing himself of the intrenchments which had been constructed by the Union army after the battle of Chickamauga. His first resistance was quickly overcome by Grose's brigade. Gen. Cruft's division was then formed in four lines on the summit, and with the lateral division abreast moved rapidly forward, driving the enemy in turn from several positions. Many of his troops that fled east or west were captured by Osterhaus or Geary, and those who tried to escape northward fell into Johnson's hands. As soon as Gen. Hardee heard the noise of battle to his left he hastened to join his troops under Gen. Anderson on the right of their central line, but before he could cross the chasm corresponding to the interval between Gen. Sherman's right and Gen. Thomas' left, Anderson's command was thrown into a confused retreat. He then hurried Cheatham's division from the vicinity of the tunnel and formed it across the summit to resist Baird's division which had advanced northward after carrying its entire front in the assault. In a severe contest in which Col. Phelps, a brigade commander, fell, Gen. Baird pressed this fresh division northward from several knolls, but was finally compelled to abandon the conflict by the peculiar strength of a new position and the approach of darkness. The victory was gained too late in the day for a general pursuit. Gen. Sheridan's division and Willich's brigade of Wood's division pursued the enemy for a short distance down the eastern slope. Later Gen. Sheridan advanced and drove the enemy from a strong position, captured two pieces of artillery, numerous small arms and several wagons from a supply train. Darkness was now fast coming on and the pursuit could no longer be continued, so the troops bivouacked on the ridge for the night. Gen. Cleburne on Gen. Bragg's right had been able to hold the bridge over the Chickamauga on his right and when night fell Gen. Hardee withdrew his troops from the position which was so persistently held against Gen. Sherman, saving his arms and material.
Now that Gen. Bragg had been defeated, Gen. Grant, who had been very anxious about Gen. Burnside, gave attention equally to the pursuit of the routed enemy and the relief of Knoxville; and during the evening of the 25th gave orders to Gen. Thomas to recall the 4th corps to prepare for forced marches to Knoxville, and in conjunction with Gen. Sherman to pursue the enemy with his available troops. Accordingly Gen. Thomas ordered Wood's and Sheridan's divisions to return to Chattanooga and Gens. Hooker and Palmer, the latter with two divisions, to move in pursuit of the enemy. The generals moved on the morning of the 26th, Hooker leading. The troops were delayed at West Chickamauga and Peavine creek, where bridges had to be constructed. At 9 p.m. the enemy was overtaken near Graysville, and on being attacked by Stoughton's brigade fled in all directions. At 11 p.m. the enemy was again attacked and one gun and a number of prisoners taken.
On the following day the columns advanced to Ringgold, where a stand was made. Gen. Hooker was without artillery, but he determined to feel the enemy at once. The skirmish line was driven back upon the main line and the exact position of a battery was ascertained. The endeavor to pick off the gunners provoked the enemy to advance against Gen. C. R. Woods' line. His skirmishers fell back and the main line repulsed the enemy handsomely and followed them into a gorge. Cleburne's division was engaged and its dead and wounded were abandoned as it gave ground. The enemy having been developed in force in a strong position, troops were moved to support those who had been engaged and the action was arrested in waiting for the artillery. Between 12 and 1 p.m. the guns came upon the field and were put in position and the dispositions were made to renew the attack; but the enemy having succeeded in delaying pursuit withdrew, attempting to burn the bridges beyond the town. He was so closely followed, however, that the bridges were saved. Gen. Grant having reached the field gave orders to discontinue the pursuit, but in the afternoon Col. Grose was sent forward with his brigade to Tunnel Hill. Grose soon encountered the enemy's cavalry and drove them upon the infantry. Ascertaining that there was a strong column in a strong position, he returned to Ringgold. Gen. Hooker lost according to his report 65 killed and 377 wounded. Col. Creighton and several officers fell. The enemy left 130 dead on the field and 230 as prisoners; his wounded was not known.
Very early in the morning of Nov. 26 Gen. Davis was ordered by Gen. Sherman to cross his division on the pontoon bridge at the mouth of the Chickamauga and pursue the enemy, and Gen. Howard was ordered to repair a bridge two miles up the creek and follow. Davis in advance reached Chickamauga Station at 11 a.m., in time to witness the burning of the depot building and the greater portion of the supplies. A short distance beyond, the enemy was found partially intrenched, but was speedily forced to retreat. He was pursued and overtaken at dark, when a sharp conflict ensued, but the darkness covered his escape. In the morning Davis reached Graysville and found himself in the rear of Hooker's command. Gen. Howard advanced through Parker's Gap further east and detached a column to destroy railroad communication between Bragg and Longstreet. These movements terminated the pursuit of the enemy.
Gen. Burnside's condition was very critical and Gen. Grant deemed his relief of more importance than the pursuit of Bragg. He therefore directed Gen. Sherman to give his troops a rest of one day before starting to raise the siege of Knoxville. In addition to his own three divisions Gen. Grant gave him Howard's and Granger's corps and Davis' division of the 14th corps. Gen. Hooker was ordered to remain at Ringgold until Nov. 30, to cover Gen. Sherman's movement towards Knoxville and keep up the semblance of pursuit.
It is probable that Gen. Grant had 60,000 men in action in the battle of Chattanooga, and Gen. Bragg 40,000. The former had thirteen divisions including two detached brigades, and the latter had eight divisions. Gen. Bragg's loss in killed and wounded was between 2500 and 3000 men. He lost by capture 6142 men, forty-two guns, sixty-nine gun carriages, and 7000 stand of small arms. His loss in material was immense, part of which he destroyed in his flight, but a large portion which was uninjured fell to the Union army. The aggregate losses of the armies of the Cumberland and Tennessee were 753 killed, 4722 wounded, and 349 missing, making a total of 5824. These losses were small compared with those of other battles of similar proportions, and very small in view of the fact that the enemy generally fought behind intrenchments.
Chattanooga was a very important position for defense or aggression. Fortified on its outer lines by ranges of mountains, after the battle of Chickamauga it had been made strong by intrenchments, forts and redoubts, and heavy guns. Situated at the confluence of several streams and diverging valleys, and especially as the gateway of Georgia, it was the natural base for an invasion of the Gulf states from the north. This position had been the objective point of the army of the Cumberland for a long time, and as a result of a battle compassing all the elements of the most brilliant warfare, it fell into its possession when the troops reached the crest of Missionary Ridge. The issue of the battle produced a startling surprise throughout the South. Gen. Bragg had said that the Ridge ought to have been held by a skirmish line against an assaulting column, but no skirmish line could have held Missionary Ridge against even a portion of the brave men who dashed up its steep acclivity. The moral forces were with the assaulting columns. The battle had been opened by the splendid charge of Wood's division capturing Orchard Knob, and Lookout Mountain had been wrested from the enemy by Gen. Hooker in such a way as to change the martial tone of each army. Those assaulting Missionary Ridge had Chickamauga to avenge and Lookout Mountain to surpass, and the firm and resolute sweep of the charging column for more than a mile expressed in advance the resistless character of the attack. When fifty battle flags forming the foremost line approached the crest, the Confederate soldiers knew that they would wave over their defenses or those who bore them, and many of the 20,000 men who followed would fall. The men who fled had proved themselves brave on other fields and were perhaps less to blame than their impassive general, who had failed to perceive the ruling conditions of the battle. The loss of more than 20 per cent in the two central divisions in a contest of less than an hour shows that the enemy did not yield his position without a struggle. There was a panic, but its cause was not mere fear but the overwhelming impression that resistance was useless.
The battle of Chickamauga was fought on Sept. 19 and 20, 1863. After the battle of Chattanooga it was found that many of the Union dead were left unburied on the field of Chickamauga, and on Nov. 27 the brigade of Col. Wm. Grose of the 4th corps was detailed to proceed to that field and bury the dead. Col. Grose found that on the left of the line the dead had not been sufficiently covered, that toward the center and right few of our dead were covered at all, and that west of the road from Lee and Gordon's mills to Rossville but few burials had been made of either party. All good clothing had been stripped from the bodies. He buried 400 which had been the prey of animals for more than two months. He had not time to examine the entire field.
The first permanent National Cemetery for soldiers established by military order was the one founded by Gen. Geo. H. Thomas near Chattanooga. During the battle a reserve force, in line over a hill near the field position of Gen. Thomas, revealed its beautiful contour and suggested its use as a National Cemetery. This hill is located equidistant from Cameron Hill, which rises abruptly from the Tennessee river where it turns towards Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge in the east, and is central between Gen. Hooker's point of attack on the mountain and Gen. Sherman's on the northern summit of Missionary Ridge. During the war it was known as Bushey Knob.
On Dec. 25, 1863, Gen. Thomas issued a general order of which the following is an extract:—
(General Orders No. 296)
"It is ordered that a National Cemetery be founded at this place, in commemoration of the battle of Chattanooga fought Nov. 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27, and to provide a proper resting place for the remains of the brave men who fell upon the fields fought over upon those days, and for the remains of such as may hereafter give up their lives in this region in defending their country against treason and rebellion."
The ground selected for the cemetery is the hill lying beyond the Western and Atlantic railroad, in a southeasterly direction from the town. The reservation consists of 128 acres. The cemetery proper comprises the entire hill with an area of seventy-five and one-half acres surrounded by a stone wall. The summit of the hill is eighty-three feet above the level of the base. Since the war forest trees two feet and over in diameter cover the ground. The number of soldiers interred here up to April, 1903, was 13,364, and of this number 8394 are known and 4970 unknown. The dead of Chickamauga, some 2000, were removed to this cemetery soon after the Union army gained possession of the field. Of these 154 were identified and the balance unknown. Each grave has a headstone which gives when known the name, rank and state, but when unknown the number of the grave only. Quite a number of private headstones have been erected but the only large monuments are the Ohio monument to the Andrews Raiders and that of the Fourth Army Corps. The Andrews monument consists of several blocks of granite surmounted by a bronze locomotive, a peculiar emblem of peace amid so many signs of war, but this monument commemorates the names of a few brave men who lost their lives for taking part in a very daring though unsuccessful raid within the enemy's lines.
The entrance to the cemetery has a handsome arch erected by the Government. The grounds have been adorned and made beautiful with trees, shrubs and flowers, and are carefully kept by the superintendent. Few cities add to such wealth of scenic and historic attractions such a site in the midst of the highways of trade as Chattanooga, such store of coal, iron and timber, such busy industry. The first charter of the town was given Dec. 20, 1839. By the second charter passed in November, 1851, the town became officially the city of Chattanooga. In the spring of 1862 the city was occupied by the Confederates. On the 21st of August, 1863, a few shells from Wilder's guns on Stringer's Ridge on the north side of the Tennessee came into the city, and on the 19th of September the last troopers in gray rode out and the men in blue came in, and the stars and stripes went up on the Crutchfield House. By the census of 1860 Chattanooga had a population of 2545. At the close of the Civil War there was less than that number, which soon grew by the return of refugees and by the addition of new citizens. The geographical situation attracted new railroads, among them the Alabama Great Southern; Central Georgia; Chattanooga Southern; Cincinnati Southern; Southern Railway, Memphis, Knoxville and Atlanta Divisions; Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis; and Western and Atlantic. The Tennessee river is navigable from Knoxville to its junction with the Ohio at Paducah in Western Kentucky. The population in 1905 including suburbs was estimated from 64,000 to 70,000. The city has six libraries, the Public Library being a Carnegie building. It contains two hospitals and five homes for the needy. It has 111 church organizations, seven banking institutions, and 258 factories, employing in 1904, 10,487 hands.
In the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park many grand and beautiful monuments have been erected by several of the states of the North and South in honor of their fallen soldiers. The Park contains 6965 acres, mostly at Chickamauga, but also at Orchard Knob, at different points on Missionary Ridge, at the battlefield on the slope of Lookout Mountain, at the Point Park on the summit, in Lookout valley and at Ringgold, Georgia. It contains one of the finest cavalry posts in the United States: Fort Oglethorpe. The improved roads in the Park are eighty miles in extent. On the Chickamauga battlefield are 170 monuments erected by different states and 323 markers, and in the National Park outside of this battlefield 51 monuments and 113 markers, among these seven monuments by the state of New York. Besides these there are many shell and marble monuments erected by military organizations and private individuals. In addition fifty-five Union batteries with 135 guns, and sixty Confederate batteries with 141 guns have been mounted, some of them outside the Park. All the Confederate batteries which were faced in storming Missionary Ridge are again in position.
Point Park on the summit of Lookout Mountain includes eleven and eight-tenths acres and here are placed cannon of the Confederate artillery of the war time. In this Park the state of New York is erecting a monument which will be the largest and most costly of any in the National Park. It is to be of granite and bronze, rising to the height of about 100 feet, the lower part in the form of a Grecian temple. On its tablets will be information about both armies. On a clear day seven states are within the range of vision from Point Rock; Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee are close at hand, to the east are the mountains of North and South Carolina, and to the north the mountains about Cumberland Gap in Kentucky and Virginia. The fine monument erected on Orchard Knob by the state of Maryland is dedicated to the memory of her sons of the Blue and the Gray. The beautiful monument in Chickamauga Park near the La Fayette road, erected by the state of Kentucky in memory of her sons of both armies who fell on that field, bears these patriotic words: "As we are united in life and they united in death, let one monument perpetuate their deeds, and one people forgetful of all asperities forever hold in grateful remembrance all the glories of that terrible conflict which made all men free and retained every star in the Nation's flag."
The neighing steed, the Bashing blade,
The trumpet's stirring blast,
The charge, the dreadful cannonade,
The din and shout are past;
No war's wild note, nor glory's peal.
Shall thrill with fierce delight
Those breasts that nevermore shall feel
The rapture of the fight.
Yon marble minstrel's voiceless stone
In deathless songs shall tell,
When many a vanished age hath flown,
The story how ye fell;
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight.
Nor Time's remorseless doom,
Shall dim one ray of holy light
That gilds your glorious tomb.
Many brave and gallant generals of the Civil War took part in the battle of Chattanooga. On the side of the Union we might mention the names of Generals Grant, Sherman, Thomas, Hooker, Granger, Palmer, Howard, Slocum, Geary, J. J. Remolds, W. F. Smith. Butterfield, Cruft, T. J. Wood, Sheridan, Davis, Baird, Johnson, M. L. Smith, J. E. Smith, Osterhaus, Brannan, Corse, C. R. Woods, Loomis, Beatty, Harker, Hazen, Wagner, Willich, Von Steinwehr, Ruger, Turchin, D. McCook and Rosseau; and among the Confederate Generals, Bragg, Hardee, Breckenridge, Cleburne, Hindman, Buckner, Stewart, Cheatham, Walker, Stevenson. Armstrong, Jackson, Anderson, Walthall, Wright, Moore, Polk, Gist, Vaughan, Reynolds, Adams, Bate, Cumming, Clayton, Brown, Pettus, Strahl, Lewis, Wade, Grigsby, Lidell, Stowell, M. Smith, Manigault and Tyler.
To Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, to whom all plans were submitted, upon whom rested the greatest responsibility, and who gave the final and decisive orders, should be given the greatest credit for the victory; but I should like to say a few words in honor of another great general who took a prominent part in this battle and whose presence gave promise of success. I refer to Maj.-Gen. George H. Thomas. Gen. Thomas was of Welsh and English descent on his father's side, and French Huguenot on his mother's. His ancestors settled in southeastern Virginia in the early days of that colony. He was born in Southampton county on the 31st of July, 1816, in a happy country home. He entered West Point in 1836 and graduated in 1840, the 12th in a class of forty-two. He was assigned to the 3d Artillery. He served in the Florida War 1840-42, the Mexican War 1846-48 and the Seminole War 1849-50; was instructor of artillery and cavalry at West Point 1851-1854 and on frontier duty in Texas and California in 1860. He was brevetted several times for gallant and meritorious conduct and in 1855 was made a major in the 2d Cavalry, which he commanded for three years. He was wounded in a fight with the Indians at the head waters of the Brazos river in August, 1860, and on the following November was east on leave of absence. Three-fourths of the officers of his regiment were from the slave States. Albert Sidney Johnston was its colonel, Robert E. Lee lieut.-colonel, and W. J. Hardee the senior major. Among the captains and lieutenants were Van Dorn, Kirby Smith, Jenifers, Hood and Fitzhugh Lee. More than one-third of its officers became Confederate generals. Social and family influences bound Gen. Thomas to his native state, but his wife was a patriotic Northern lady. Gen. Thomas never wavered in his loyalty to the government, and when the first gun was fired on Fort Sumter he relinquished the remainder of his leave of absence and reported for duty at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., on the 14th of April, 1861. With but two exceptions all the officers of the 2d Cavalry from the seceded states joined the rebellion. Thomas was one of the two. His family, friends, and State summoned him to join the South. He answered by leaving Carlisle Barracks on May 27 and leading a brigade from Chambersburg across Maryland to Williamsport, and on June 16 rode across the Potomac to invade Virginia and fight his old commanders. A few days later he led the right wing of Gen. Patterson's army in the battle of Falling Waters, where the rebels under Stonewall Jackson were defeated. The fame of Gen. Thomas as a soldier is linked forever with the history of the army of the Cumberland. In 1861 he organized and mustered in its first brigade, and in 1865 at Nashville, the scene of his greatest victory, he passed in farewell review and mustered out of the service more than 130,000 of its war-worn veterans.
During the Civil War the army of the Cumberland held the center of the line, which was in many respects the most difficult of all. From the 30th of November, 1861, to 30th of September, 1862, Gen. Thomas commanded a division of Gen. Buell's army. He won the battle of Mill Springs on Jan. 19, 1862, which was the most important military success that had yet been achieved west of Virginia. On the 30th of September, 1862, he was appointed second in command of the army of the Ohio, and served as such until after the battle of Perryville. Gen. Rosecrans, who succeeded Gen. Buell, reorganized the army then known as the 14th Corps into three distinct commands, right, left, and center, and assigned Gen. Thomas to the center, which consisted of five divisions. He held this command in the battle of Stone River, and until Jan. 9, 1863, when by order of the War Department three divisions of the army were made army corps. One of them, the 14th, Gen. Thomas commanded during the campaigns of Middle Tennessee and Chickamauga, which resulted in driving the Confederates beyond the Tennessee and gaining possession of Chattanooga. On the 19th of October, 1863, in obedience to orders from the War Department, he relieved Gen. Rosecrans and assumed command of the Army of the Cumberland. Soon afterward two other armies, Sherman's and Hooker's, were brought to Chattanooga, the three forming a grand army under Gen. Grant. The army of the Cumberland, consisting of four corps, formed the center and right of the grand army. In this position Gen. Thomas commanded it at the storming of Missionary Ridge.
On Sept. 27, 1864, Gen. Thomas was ordered to Tennessee to protect the department against the invasion of Hood. While in this command he conducted the operations which resulted in the combats along the Duck river, the battle of Franklin Nov. 30, and the battle of Nashville and destruction of Hood's army on Dec. 15 and 16, 1864, and finally the capture of Jefferson Davis in May, 1865. From June, 1865 to May, 1869 he commanded most of the territory which had been the theatre of his service during the war. On the 15th of May, 1869, he started for San Francisco, where he remained in command of the Military Division of the Pacific until the date of his death March 28, 1870. He was appointed-brigadier general of volunteers Aug. 17, 1861, major-general of volunteers April 25, 1862; Brigadier General in the Regular Army Oct, 27. 1863, and Major General Dec. 15, 1864. His career was not only great and complete, but, what is more significant, was in an eminent degree the work of his own hands. It was not the result of accident or chance. Every step was marked by the most loyal and unhesitating obedience to law—to the laws of his government and the commands of his superiors. His influence over his troops grew steadily and constantly. He gradually filled them with his own spirit, until their confidence in him knew no bounds. It was reserved for the last day of Chickamauga to exhibit in one supreme example the vast sources of his great strength. After a day of heavy fighting and a night of anxious preparation, Gen. Rosecrans had established his lines for the purpose of holding the road to Chattanooga. If our army failed to hold it, not only was the campaign a failure but the army was in danger of destruction. Gen. Thomas commanded the left and center of our army. From early morning he withstood the furious and repeated attacks of the enemy, who constantly reinforced his assaults on our left. About noon the whole right wing was broken and driven from the field. Gen. Rosecrans was himself swept away in the tide of retreat. The forces of Longstreet, which had broken our right, now forming in heavy columns assaulted the right flank of Thomas with fury. Seeing the approaching danger he threw back his exposed flank and met the new peril. With but 25,000 men formed in a semi-circle, of which he himself was the center and soul, he successfully resisted for more than five hours the repeated assaults of an army of 65,000 men flushed with victory and bent on his annihilation. On a portion of his line the last assault was repelled by the bayonet and several hundred of the enemy were captured. When night had closed over the combatants the last sound of battle was the booming of Gen. Thomas' guns. He held the road to Chattanooga and the army of the Cumberland was saved from destruction.
Gen. Thomas resembled Washington in the gravity and dignity of his character, in the solidity of his judgment, in the careful accuracy of all his transactions, in his incorruptible integrity, and his extreme but unaffected modesty. Large and powerful, his movements were easy and quiet. He was resolute, unyielding, with a fortitude incapable of intimidation or dismay, and yet without pretension, boasting or self-assertion. He was altogether free from affectation or envy. He was never coarse or vulgar. He was genial and frank in communication, yet reticent and self-contained as to all that related to himself, neither inviting nor volunteering confidence. He was a model soldier. Arms was his profession. He recognized but one path to glory—the path of duty. His reason told him where his duty lay, his conscience bade him follow it. His plans of battle were carefully prepared, and then when all things were ready he launched the dread thunder-bolt of power, and with one stroke dealt the destruction he had devised. Mill Spring and Nashville—his first and last battles in the West—are capital illustrations of his military character. In reference to the battle of Nashville, the impatience of his superiors at a distance too great to appreciate the difficulties of the situation provoked from him no complaint. He telegraphed to the lieutenant-general: "I can only say that I have done all in my power to prepare, and if you should deem it necessary to relieve me, I shall submit without a murmur." When the time arrived for the delivery of the meditated blow, and its complete and thorough success was known, he received ample compensation for the temporary distrust in hearty and ungrudging congratulations from the president, secretary of war, and lieutenant-general as creditable to them as they were gratifying and just to him confirmed as they were by the thanks of Congress for the skill and dauntless courage by which the rebel army under Gen. Hood was signally defeated and driven from the State of Tennessee. A generation in Virginia will yet arise who will learn and confess the truth, that George H. Thomas, when he lifted his sword to bar the pathway of her secession, loved her as well as those who joined the cause of the South, and he served her better.
One day in September, 1863, while looking for Gen. A. McD. McCook in Chattanooga valley, I saw a signal flag waving not far away, and riding up to the signal station found Lieut. Wm. Quinton, signal officer on Gen. Thomas' staff, in communication with a signal station on Lookout Mountain. He could not tell me where to find Gen. McCook, but was very anxious to be relieved in order that he might ride on towards Chickamauga with Gen. Thomas, and asked me if I would not relieve him. As it seemed important to keep the line open, I agreed to take his place while the Twentieth Corps, which was to follow the Fourteenth, was passing. After we had made the necessary arrangements, Lieut. Quinton said to me: "Lieutenant, I would like to introduce you to General Thomas. He is one of the kindest men that ever lived, and his staff look on him more as a father than their general." So we rode up to a slight elevation where Gen. Thomas and his staff were watching his troops as they were marching along the road to Chickamauga. The general received us very cordially, paid a high compliment to the signal corps, said his signal officers were all gentlemen upon whom he felt he could always rely, and he thought the signal corps would be better appreciated in the West as the different generals became more familiar with it. While we were conversing a staff officer galloped up, saluted and announced to the general that Chattanooga had been evacuated by the enemy and occupied by the brigade of Gen. Harker. Gen. Thomas said that "he was very glad to hear it and he hoped Gen. Harker would see that all public and private property was protected; he understood that there was a large supply of hospital stores there, including considerable wine, and he wanted them all carefully saved for the benefit of his own wounded and those of the enemy." The staff officer said "he was sure that Gen. Harker would do it, and that guards were being established when he left." As we rode away Lieut. Quinton remarked "That was just like Gen. Thomas, that is the way he is always looking after the wants of his men."
The final obsequies in honor of Gen. Thomas took place on the 8th of April, 1870, in St. Paul's Episcopal church, Troy, N.Y., attended by President Grant, the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, senators and representatives of Congress, officers of the army and navy, and many veterans of the army of the Cumberland and the Civil War. The pall bearers were Generals Meade, Scofield, Hooker, Rosecrans, Hazen, Granger, Newton and McKay. The religious services were conducted by Bishop Doane of Albany and the Rev. Doctors Cort, Potter, Walsh and Reese, and the body was followed to the grave in the beautiful cemetery of Oakwood by his comrades and old soldiers, where it was buried beside his Northern wife.
Mild in manner; fair in favor;
Kind in temper; fierce in fight;
Warrior nobler, gentler, braver,
Never will behold the light!
 According to Confederate testimony, which in this case is impartial, the right of Willich's and left of Hazen's brigades, Wood's Division, were the first Union troops to reach the crest of the ridge. (See Obituary of Gen. Thos. J. Wood, Thirty-Fourth Reunion, Society of the Army of the Cumberland, October, 1906, page 98.)