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´╗┐Title: Chattanooga and Chickamauga - Reprint of Gen. H. V. Boynton's letters to the Cincinnati - Commercial Gazette, August, 1888.
Author: Boynton, Henry V., 1835-1905
Language: English
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    CHATTANOOGA

    AND

    CHICKAMAUGA.

    REPRINT OF

    GEN. H. V. BOYNTON'S LETTERS

    TO THE

    Cincinnati Commercial Gazette,

    AUGUST, 1888.

    Second Edition, with Corrections.

    WASHINGTON, D. C.:
    GEO. R. GRAY, PRINTER.
    1891.



PREFACE.


_Comrades of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland:_

When General H. V. Boynton's letters recently appeared in the Cincinnati
_Commercial Gazette_, so vividly portraying the achievements and heroism
of the Army of the Cumberland in its campaign for the possession of
Chattanooga, including the inevitable incident thereto, the battle of
Chickamauga, I thought how agreeable it would be for each member of the
society to have a copy for perusal at our approaching reunion on the
twenty-fifth anniversary of Chickamauga.

Accordingly I asked General Boynton's permission to print these letters
in pamphlet form, as advance sheets of any volume in which he may
determine to put them with other matter. To this he most cheerfully
assented in the following letter:

                                         WASHINGTON, _Sept._ 1, 1888.

     MY DEAR GENERAL: You are welcome to the Chickamauga letters for
     any use you choose to make of them. While the salient features
     of both days' battle are easily understood, the details of
     movements by brigades are in many cases intricate. For this
     reason various errors may have been made in the text. If those
     who observe them will take the trouble to correct them before
     the public, they would thus assist in establishing the correct
     history of a battle in which the Army of the Cumberland should
     take great pride.

                   Very truly yours,
                                           H. V. BOYNTON.

       General W. S. Rosecrans.

       With this explanation, the letters are given in the order of their
       respective dates.

                                           W. S. ROSECRANS.



WASHINGTON, _August 3_. [Special.]--In two preliminary letters about
Chickamauga the attempt was made to describe the field as it appears
to-day, and to present some of the scenes of the battle which came
rushing back over the plains of memory with a power suggestive of the
departed legions that once clothed these farms, forests, and ridges with
the terrible magnificence of battle.

In a sense, to write of Chickamauga is to try to excite interest in a
subject which far too many regard as worn; but to the veterans who
fought there it will never be a threadbare story. For that generation
which has been born and has come to manhood since Chattanooga was won by
the Union arms, there is no campaign which can be studied with greater
profit, or which will more richly repay the reader. History has not yet
done justice to Chickamauga, but its verdict is sure. Many of the
misconceptions of the days following the battle still exist in the
popular mind. It may be years before they are cleared away; but
eventually the Chickamauga campaign will stand in the history of our war
as unequaled in its strategy by any other movement of the contest, and
as unsurpassed, and probably not equaled, for the stubbornness and
deadliness which marked the splendid fighting of Unionist and rebel
alike; and, furthermore, it will stand as a substantial Union victory.

Just in proportion as the credit due is awarded to those who planned and
executed the campaign will well-merited condemnation be meted out to
those at Washington who insisted upon forcing the movement without
regard to proper and vital preparation, who withheld re-enforcements,
and who, in spite of public and private warnings which it was criminal
not to heed, made rebel concentrations against Rosecrans possible from
in front of Washington itself, and from Charleston, Mobile, and
Mississippi.

It will be the purpose of a few letters to go over some of the
well-known ground of this campaign with a view of enforcing the ideas
expressed in general terms above, and attempting to present a clear
account of this most involved, and still seriously misunderstood battle.
The strategy--matchless in our war--which compelled Bragg to abandon
Chattanooga; the life and death struggle for concentrating the Union
army when Rosecrans, against the protests of Washington authorities that
it could not be true, found his widely separated corps confronted with
re-enforcements from every part of the Confederacy; and, lastly, the
great battle in the Chickamauga forests for the possession of
Chattanooga, are each most fruitful and interesting themes. The present
letter will relate to the first-named subject, the strategy of the
Chickamauga campaign.

Marching from Murfreesboro on the 23d of June, 1863, General Rosecrans
had advanced against Bragg, who was strongly fortified, and whose lines,
besides, occupied gaps and ranges of great natural strength. By
brilliant strategy, with the loss of only 586 killed and wounded, and
thirteen captured or missing, the Army of the Cumberland, with its nine
divisions and twenty brigades, operating through sixteen days of
continuous rain, maneuvered Bragg, with his seven divisions and
twenty-three brigades, out of his natural and artificial strongholds,
and forced him across the Tennessee. Up to that time there had been no
strategic campaign to equal this, and it was soon to be far surpassed,
except in the one element of loss, by the campaign to follow it. So
brilliant had been the conception and the execution that all the corps
commanders, headed by General Thomas, hastened to call on General
Rosecrans and offer the warmest congratulations.

At the close of the Tullahoma campaign Bragg occupied Chattanooga and
the mountain passes above and below it. Rosecrans's army lay along the
western base of the Cumberland Mountains, its right above Winchester and
its left at McMinnville. Here General Rosecrans at once began the most
vigorous preparations for another campaign for the occupation of
Chattanooga. Because the necessities of the case compelled secrecy as
one of the main elements of success, there was soon at Washington a
manifestation of unreasoning impatience over what was criticized as the
inaction of the Union commander; but those who were on the ground know
well the unceasing activity and energy with which the work progressed of
accumulating sufficient supplies of food, material, and ammunition,
preparing the means for crossing the Tennessee and obtaining the
necessary knowledge of the mountain passes, roads, and trails by which
the army must move. Rosecrans's supplies reached him over a badly
equipped line of worn railroad, a hundred and thirteen miles in length,
and, as can be readily understood, when the daily wants of a great army
preparing for extended movement and battle are considered, the matter of
accumulating a surplus of supplies was not the task of a day or a week.
With every effort the railroad was not repaired until July 25, and the
forward movement began on the 14th of August.

[Illustration]

A glance at the map will disclose the great natural obstacles which lay
between General Rosecrans and Chattanooga. As his army faced toward the
latter point, the Cumberland Mountains, with a general elevation of
2,200 feet, rose before it. The escarpment was everywhere precipitous,
and destitute of every means of approach except narrow mountain roads
and trails, with the one exception that a short railroad ran from Cowan
to Tracy City, on the summit of the range. To the eastward this range
dropped by like precipitous and difficult slopes into the valley of the
Sequatchee River. Beyond that stream rose the equally sharp cliffs of
Walden's Ridge, with a general elevation of 1,300 feet. This fell off
along the eastern and southern edge of the plateau into the valley of
the Tennessee, and overlooked it from the mouth of the Sequatchee River
to a point far above Chattanooga. It was fifty miles as the crow flies
from the lines of Rosecrans's army across this continuous mountain
region to the valley of the Tennessee. This river was broad and deep,
and presented in itself the most serious natural obstacle which the
Union army had encountered since it left the Ohio River. It was 2,700
feet wide at Bridgeport, and 1,254 feet at Caperton, the points where
the bridges were subsequently thrown.

On the left bank of the river, the stronghold of Chattanooga lying
behind the river, and the great ranges to the westward between
Rosecrans's position and his own, might well seem to Bragg impregnable,
in fact almost unassailable. First, toward the west, came the Lookout
range, rising abruptly from the river to the height of 2,200 feet, and
stretching southwestwardly far into Georgia and Alabama. Its western
precipices looked down into the narrow valley of Lookout Creek. Beyond
the latter rose the equally precipitous cliffs of the Raccoon Mountains,
the latter having the same general elevation as the Lookout range.

The gorge of the Tennessee where it breaks through these mountain ranges
is so narrow and so thoroughly commanded from the heights on both sides
as to render it impracticable to so move an army as to attack it from
the front or river side.

With these giant obstacles to the progress of his columns, most serious
even if they had been within the Union lines, but almost insuperable
when found in an enemy's territory, and while he was bending every
energy to complete preparations for carrying out a brilliant plan of his
own for overcoming them, General Rosecrans was astonished at receiving
on August 4, only ten days after his railroad had been repaired to the
Tennessee River, a dispatch from Halleck saying: "Your forces must move
forward without delay. You will daily report the movement of each corps
till you cross the Tennessee River."

To a commander who was building boats, opening mountain roads, rushing
the accumulation of stores, getting out material for four thousand feet
of bridges, preparing to leave his base carrying provisions for
twenty-five days, and ammunition for two battles, and crossing three
mountain ranges and a deep and broad river, in an enemy's country, and
in the face of an army, this dispatch was not only astounding, but
discouraging and exasperating to the last degree.

It had become a habit at Washington to sneer at the slowness of General
Rosecrans, as it was later to denounce General Thomas in similar terms
at Nashville. There was no more reason or justice in the one case than
in the other. The verdict of history has been reached in the case of
General Thomas. It is sure to come, and to be the same in this matter,
for Rosecrans.

To this dispatch, which can only be excused on the ground of wholly
inexcusable ignorance of the active preparations in progress and the
natural difficulties of an advance, General Rosecrans replied with his
accustomed clearness and spirit: "Your dispatch ordering me to move
forward without delay, reporting the movements of each corps till I
cross the Tennessee, is received. As I have determined to cross the
river as soon as practicable, and have been making all preparations and
getting such information as may enable me to do so without being driven
back, like Hooker, I wish to know if your order is intended to take away
my discretion as to the time and manner of moving my troops." To this
Halleck responded: "The orders for the advance of your army, and that it
be reported daily, are peremptory." General Rosecrans immediately wrote
the following reply, and, calling his corps commanders together, read
the dispatches given above. There was no dissent from the proposition
that at that stage of their preparations it was impossible to move. He
then read his reply as follows, and all approved and agreed that they
should support him:

"GENERAL HALLECK: My arrangements for beginning a continuous movement
will be completed and the execution begun Monday next. We have
information to show that crossing the Tennessee between Bridgeport and
Chattanooga is impracticable, but not enough to show whether we had
better cross above Chattanooga and strike Cleveland, or below Bridgeport
and strike in their rear. The preliminary movement of troops for the two
cases are very different. It is necessary to have our means of crossing
the river completed, and our supplies provided to cross sixty miles of
mountains and sustain ourselves during the operations of crossing and
fighting, before we move. To obey your order literally would be to push
our troops into the mountains on narrow and difficult roads, destitute
of pasture and forage, and short of water, where they would not be able
to maneuver as exigencies may demand, and would certainly cause ultimate
delay and probable disaster. If, therefore, the movement which I propose
cannot be regarded as obedience to your order, I respectfully request a
modification of it or to be relieved from the command."

On the following day Halleck replied as follows:

"I have communicated to you the wishes of the Government in plain and
unequivocal terms. The objective has been stated, and you have been
directed to lose no time in reaching it. The means you are to employ and
the roads you are to follow are left to your own discretion. If you wish
to promptly carry out the wishes of the Government you will not stop to
discuss mere details. In such matters I do not interfere."

This was answered the same day by General Rosecrans as follows:

"Your dispatch received. I can only repeat the assurance given before
the issuance of the order. This army shall move with all dispatch
compatible with the successful execution of our work. We are pressing
everything to bring up forage for our animals. The present rolling-stock
of the road will barely suffice to keep us day by day here, but I have
bought fifty more freight cars, which are arriving. Will advise you
daily."

This was the last of interference from Washington, but, accustomed as
all there were to interfering at will, and directing affairs according
to the situation as they saw it, they could not brook such manifestly
proper independence as was shown by Rosecrans, and from that time
forward there was needed only an excuse to insure his removal.

Had there been a tithe of the attention given to preventing the rebels
from concentrating on his front from every part of the Confederacy--in
fact, bringing Longstreet's veterans from the lines under Halleck's own
eyes--that there was to the kind of interference which has been noticed,
Bragg would have been destroyed in front of Chattanooga. But this
subject properly belongs in a succeeding letter. The dispatches given
above are well known, but their reproduction will prove a convenience to
readers who may not carry their exact terms in mind.

Ten days later, namely, on August 14, the movement to secure Chattanooga
began. A glance at the map will reveal its strategy.

Rosecrans had decided to cross the Tennessee in the vicinity of
Bridgeport, and subsequently the Raccoon and Lookout Mountain ranges at
points south of Chattanooga, and thus compel Bragg to evacuate the place
or to come out of it and fight for his line of communications. It is
easily seen that if after crossing the river the enemy, warned in time,
should be found in force on the western slopes of these ranges further
progress in that direction would have been impossible, and a return to
the north bank of the river obligatory. It was, therefore, necessary to
wholly deceive Bragg as to the points of crossing.

Burnside was marching from Kentucky into East Tennessee. Any apparent
movement of the Army of the Cumberland in force in that direction would
naturally lead Bragg to believe that a junction of the Union forces was
contemplated on his right.

Everything being ready, Crittenden opened the campaign with the
Twenty-first Corps. Leaving his camps at Hillsboro, Manchester, and
McMinnville on the 16th of August, he crossed the Cumberland Mountains
and occupied the Sequachee Valley from a point between Jasper and Dunlap
to Pikeville. Van Cleve held the latter place, Palmer was established at
Dunlap, and Wood at Anderson, between Dunlap and Jasper. All built
extensive camp fires and moved about in such ways as to convey to
observers from the heights the impression that the whole army was
moving. Meantime Minty's active cavalry had moved through Sparta and
driven Dibrell's cavalry eastward through Crossville, on to the
Tennessee, and over it, and Dibrell, having come to reconnoiter and see
what was going on, naturally got the idea that Rosecrans's army was
coming. The crossing of the Cumberland was but the first step of the
imposing diversion. Though the mountain roads were few and very
difficult, Crittenden's movements over them had been completed exactly
on time. The advance over Walden's Ridge, equally difficult, though it
was not quite as high as the main range, was immediately undertaken.
Minty, on the extreme left, appeared on the Tennessee more than thirty
miles above Blythe's Ferry, where he made most energetic commotion.
Hazen reached the river in the vicinity of Dallas. Two brigades were
strung out along the edge of the cliffs on the top of Walden's Ridge,
where they overlooked Blythe's Ferry, and could be seen from the other
side of the river. Minty, with his troopers, swept down the valley of
the Tennessee to near Chattanooga. Wilder and Wagner also appeared in
the valley. While a show of building boats was made in the small streams
about Blythe's Ferry, Wilder from the heights of Walden's Ridge,
opposite Chattanooga, opened fire on the town with artillery. Bragg was
thoroughly deceived. Forrest was ordered far up the Tennessee to
Kingston to watch for the expected crossing. Buckner was ordered from
East Tennessee toward Blythe's Ferry.

As may be supposed, Wilder's cannonading produced the wildest excitement
in Chattanooga. The rolling-stock of the railroads was hastened out of
reach. The depots of supplies were moved out of the range of the
unexpected bombardment. D. H. Hill's corps was hurried off to guard the
river above, and other heavy forces were moved in the same direction.
Everything done by Bragg was based upon the idea that Rosecrans was
moving in force to points on the river above the city.

Meantime the real movement was going on quietly sixty to eighty miles in
the opposite direction, in the vicinity of Bridgeport and Stevenson. A
force of cavalry for the purposes of observation, and to convey the idea
by quick movements that Rosecrans was feigning below, while really
expecting to cross above the city, was sent as far westward as Decatur.
Thus Rosecrans was operating along the river through a hundred miles of
mountain region and fifty miles of low country beyond, and in spite of
the natural difficulties every part of the plan was working with
precision.

Thomas and McCook on the right moved at the same time with Crittenden.
Reynolds, of Thomas's corps, had marched in advance and repaired the
roads by way of University, and down the eastern slope of the mountain
to Jasper. Brannan followed him, and both were at first kept well out of
sight of the river. Baird and Negley came down nearer to Bridgeport, and
McCook descended back of Stevenson. With the exception of Sheridan, at
Bridgeport, all were kept well out of sight from the enemy's cavalry on
the left bank.

Sheridan alone made a show of his presence and openly began the
construction of a trestle through the shoal water, in order to lessen
the length of the floating bridge. As this was without a decided show of
strength it deepened the impression that the movements on this wing were
the feint and those toward the upper river the real move. In fact, after
watching Sheridan's trestle building for a while from the other side of
the river, Anderson's brigade of infantry, the only infantry force
available to oppose a passage of the river, was withdrawn and sent to
Chattanooga.

The bridge for Caperton's Ferry was brought down on a train, which was
halted out of sight, and a road cut for its transportation through the
woods to a point near its destination, where the troops which were to
lay it were drilled in their work.

Early on the 29th fifty boats, each carrying fifty men, were brought out
of the woods near Caperton's, rushed across an open field, launched, and
quickly rowed to the opposite shore. The Confederate cavalry pickets
were driven off and twenty-five hundred men held the south bank. The
bridge was promptly laid. Davis was soon over, and then McCook's entire
corps, with cavalry, started promptly for Valley Head, forty miles down
the Lookout range. Reynolds collected boats at Shellmound, Brannan had
built rafts and cut out canoes at the mouth of Battle Creek. The long
bridge was successfully laid at Bridgeport, and before Bragg had
recovered from his surprise, in fact before he had comprehended the
extent of the movement, Rosecrans, with two corps, was over the river
and moving on his communications.

As soon as the crossing was assured, Crittenden marched with celerity by
way of the Sequatchee Valley towards the bridges and was soon across
with the main body and advancing on the left of it directly towards
Chattanooga.

This crossing of the Tennessee was a great feat. The bridges were not
sufficient for the army. Reynolds gathered small boats and improvised
his own means of crossing. Brannan's men had cut out canoes from immense
poplars and launched them in Battle Creek out of sight. Some of them
would hold fifty men. They also built rafts, one of them large enough to
carry artillery. These, with an abandoned rebel pontoon boat,
constituted Brannan's flotilla. When the signal was given the whole
swept out from behind the bushes which concealed the mouth of Battle
Creek and made for the opposite shore. The rebel pickets withdrew and
the crossing was secured. Then all his men who could swim, piling their
guns, clothing, and accouterments on a few fence rails, pushed these
before them and thus gained the opposite bank. Later, Wilder swam his
mounted brigade across the river and joined Crittenden south of
Chattanooga. Halleck must have had this ability for crossing a river in
the presence of an enemy in mind when he telegraphed Rosecrans, a few
weeks before, to move at once and keep moving.

But this crossing, and the grand diversion which made it possible, were
only the preliminary, and by no means the formidable parts of the
movement. To complete it, Rosecrans was to cut loose from his base,
carry twenty-five day's supplies and sufficient ammunition for two
battles, cross two precipitous and difficult mountain ranges wholly
within the enemy's territory, and their passes presumably strengthened
and defended, and, after crossing the last range at widely separated
points, to descend into the valley in the rear of that enemy's
stronghold, prepared for battle or any other contingencies which might
arise on this distant and isolated theater of action.

When Bragg discovered the real point of crossing and the lines of actual
movement it was too late to recall the forces dispatched up the
Tennessee or to post columns of sufficient strength on the slopes before
Rosecrans to impede his advance in force. How strong the positions thus
turned by the Union forces were will appear from the statement that so
precipitous and otherwise difficult were the roads over these ranges
that at several of them it required a day and a night for a division
with its artillery and reduced trains to make the ascent.

The Union commander had delayed his movement until the corn was ripe in
order that it might not be necessary to carry grain for his animals,
which would have largely increased his trains--so careful, thoughtful,
and wise was he in every detail of preparation.

Bragg's failure to resist in the vicinity of Rosecrans's crossings and at
the crossings of Raccoon Mountain was due in part to the fact that even
after he knew that the heads of columns were over the river he was still
inclined to look upon their movements as a feint, and to regard the real
point of danger to lie above the city. Rosecrans, even after crossing,
sought successfully to strengthen such impressions in Bragg's mind. He
directed Wagner's, Wilder's, and Minty's brigades to report to Hazen,
and with this force, some 7,000 strong, the latter was ordered to make a
conspicuous show of crossing the river far above Chattanooga. This
active and efficient officer admirably executed his orders. By extended
fires, by marchings and countermarchings, by moving his artillery
continuously across openings in sight from the opposite bank, by buglers
at widely separated points, and other similar devices, he easily created
the belief that an army was encamped on the right bank intending to
cross.

With the exception of this force, all of Rosecrans's army was south of
the river on September 4, and on the move. The right was already well on
its way. On the 6th his army had descended from Raccoon Mountain and
occupied the valley between that range and the western slope of Lookout
from a point seven miles from Chattanooga to Valley Head, forty-two
miles from the city. The next day McCook and Thomas began to ascend
Lookout at points respectively forty-two and twenty-six miles from
Chattanooga. On the 8th McCook's troops were in motion down the eastern
slope of the mountain toward Alpine, and Thomas was descending from
Steven's and Frick's Gap, both of which were near where the road from
Trenton, after running southwardly, is represented as leading over
Lookout. Crittenden had pushed small portions of his command up mere
mountain trails, and on the 9th these gained position where they could
look down upon Chattanooga. They saw no flags, and soon discovered that
Bragg had evacuated. The day before Wagner, still watching from the
north bank of the river, had reported to Rosecrans that the enemy was
leaving. The news came in the night, and Rosecrans ordered Crittenden to
ascertain the situation. His detachments on the mountain had already
discovered that the city was deserted. Crittenden was at once ordered to
march around the north point of Lookout, and follow Bragg toward
Ringgold. At night on the 9th Palmer and Van Cleve's divisions were
established at Rossville, five miles south of Chattanooga.

Thus, in three weeks from the time his diversion towards Bragg's right
began, and in five days from the time his army was over the river,
Rosecrans had repeated the Tullahoma campaign on a far greater scale,
and in the face of much more formidable obstacles, and absolutely
without fighting, except as Minty had been slightly engaged with Dibrell
near Sparta in the outset of the movement, had driven Bragg from the
mountain stronghold of Chattanooga, the objective of the campaign. It
was well said later by General Meigs, who came from Washington to
Chattanooga after its final occupation by the Union army, and spent some
days in studying the movements by which it had been secured: "It is not
only the greatest operation in our war, but a great thing when compared
with any war."

But the occupation of Chattanooga, in a military sense, was not
accomplished by sending Crittenden's two divisions beyond it and one
brigade into it. Bragg had only withdrawn to save his communications and
supplies, and to await the re-enforcements he knew to be hastening from
Virginia, from Mobile, and from Mississippi. The battle for Chattanooga
was yet to be fought. Bragg had retired with deliberation. He
established his headquarters at Lafayette, behind Pigeon Mountains, but
his rear guard never passed beyond Lee and Gordon's Mills.

The news that Rosecrans' troops were in Chattanooga, and that he had
pushed out after the retreating Bragg, made a tremendous impression upon
the North. It was accepted as a capture, and a military occupation of
that long-coveted stronghold. It is true it was occupied, but not in a
military sense, since the Union army had not been brought into it, or
concentrated between it and the enemy.

Hence arose that misconception, which is widespread still, that the Army
of the Cumberland had occupied Chattanooga, and thence marching out to
attack Bragg, had been defeated by the latter at Chickamauga, and driven
back in disorder into Chattanooga.

But, instead, Chickamauga was the battle for Chattanooga, fought by
Rosecrans while on the way to take military possession of it, and while
he was concentrating his army between Bragg and that city, the objective
of the Union campaign. The battle was not for the Chickamauga woods, but
for the passes behind them which controlled the way to Chattanooga.
These were secured as the immediate result of the battle, and the
successful occupation of Chattanooga in the military sense followed--an
occupation which lasted till the close of the war.

In connection with the fact of Crittenden's unopposed movement into
Chattanooga another point of general misapprehension arose, which,
through the years, has formed the basis of unfair and unthinking, if not
ignorant criticism of General Rosecrans' brilliant strategy. Why did not
Rosecrans face Thomas and McCook about in the valley west of Lookout,
where their movements would have been concealed, and hurry them after
Crittenden into Chattanooga? It was simply because with McCook's advance
nearly fifty miles from Chattanooga by the roads west of Lookout, and
Thomas's head of column already down and over Missionary Ridge, full
thirty miles away, to withdraw and send them in succession after
Crittenden would have been to have invited attack in detail from Bragg
upon each head of column as it followed Crittenden, with all the chances
in favor of Bragg's success. Besides, the shortest and surest, in fact
the only practicable line of concentration looking to the safety of the
widely-separated corps was through a movement to the left along the
eastern bases of Lookout and Missionary Ridge. It was this movement of
Rosecrans for concentrating on Crittenden's position south of Rossville
that led to the battle of Chickamauga. Bragg, having been heavily
re-enforced, started at the same time from Lafayette to interpose
between Rosecrans and Chattanooga, the Union objective of the whole
campaign.

Subsequent letters will follow this exciting concentration, and the
desperate contests of each army for position, and the bloody battles
which ensued, and by which Chattanooga was finally won.

                                           H. V. B.



WASHINGTON, August 7.--[_Special._]--In the movements of the Union
armies none, from first to last, presented such brilliant strategy as
the two which brought General Rosecrans from Murfreesboro', to the rear
of Chattanooga. Almost equally wonderful was the successful
concentration of his widely scattered corps. This was accomplished in
the face of an enemy that had been heavily re-enforced with veteran
troops, and largely outnumbered General Rosecrans. The concentration,
moreover, united the Army of the Cumberland for battle between this
confident enemy and the city which was the objective of the Union
forces.

The story is crowded with brilliant and successful operations of
detached corps against greatly superior forces and of minor strategy,
which blend harmoniously with the more striking features of the great
campaign. It covers a period of intense anxiety for General Rosecrans
and his subordinate commanders, of most skillful action, and continued
danger to destruction in detail. It culminated in the delivery of a
battle, which, though still widely misunderstood, unquestionably ranks
for the stubbornness and effectiveness of its fighting and the
importance of its results with the most notable battles of the war.

A previous letter left the Army of the Cumberland where its strategy had
thrown it across three mountain ranges and the Tennessee River, and
brought it without loss to the rear of Chattanooga, at the foot of the
eastern base of the Lookout Mountain. This had compelled Bragg to
withdraw toward Lafayette. The left of the Union army, under General
Crittenden, had passed around the north end of Lookout, marched through
Chattanooga after Bragg, and occupied Rossville Gap. General McCook,
forty-two miles to the right, had descended to Alpine, while the center,
under General Thomas, was at Steven's Gap, directly opposite Bragg's
center, at Lafayette.

Finding that the enemy had withdrawn behind Pigeon Mountain, General
Rosecrans having been assured from Washington that no re-enforcements
had been sent from Lee's army, determined to push Bragg vigorously at
all points for the purpose of gaining every advantage which a retreat
presented, and of inflicting all the damage possible. Beyond question,
this put his army in serious peril, since Bragg had only retired to meet
re-enforcements promised and actually arriving from all quarters, and
was even then concentrated and ready to strike. McCook, on the right,
pushed in from Alpine and Summerville with Stanley's cavalry to
within seven miles of Lafayette without finding any signs of retreat.
He therefore wisely kept his trains and main force near the mountain.

[Illustration]

Negley, of Thomas, marched out from Steven's Gap beyond the Chickamauga
and his skirmishers deployed in front of Dug Gap. This advanced position
he held during the 10th, and early next morning was supported in it by
Baird's division. Here Bragg attempted his initiative, and developed his
preparations for advance. Two corps of infantry, Hill's and Walker's, a
division from Polk's command, and a division of cavalry, were in the
gaps of Pigeon Mountains, or the woods behind them, under orders to
advance on Negley. By a fortunate delay their combinations for attack
were not completed until Baird had arrived. The bold front displayed by
both of these officers still further held back those overwhelming forces
of Bragg. When the latter were ready to move, the skill, sharp fighting,
and able maneuvering under fire enabled these Union officers to bring
their troops back to the shelter of the mountain with comparatively
little loss. It was a thrilling and difficult situation, and the day a
most anxious one for Generals Rosecrans and Thomas.

The disappointment was great to Bragg when he learned that his heavy
converging columns from Catlett's Gap on his right, Dug Gap in the
center, and Blue Bird Gap on his left had met on the ground held by
Negley and Baird, only to find them retiring with such show of strength
and with such well ordered lines as enabled them to elude even serious
attack. Both these officers deserve far greater credit than they have
ever received for their courage, coolness, and ability. At night they
were supported by the arrival of Brannan and Reynolds from the west side
of the mountain, and the position of Thomas at Steven's Gap was secure.

Rosecrans' anxiety and Bragg's attention were instantly turned to the
Union left. The discovery on the 11th that the rebel rear guard under
Cheatham had not moved south of Lee & Gordon's showed Rosecrans that
whatever Bragg's intention may have been, he was then concentrating for
battle. As General Rosecrans himself declares in his official report,
the concentration of the Army of the Cumberland became a matter of life
and death.

Crittenden, from the 9th to the 12th, had carried on most vigorous
operations. Palmer and Van Cleve had advanced to Ringgold. Wood was
close at hand. Hazen, Minty, and Wilder, fresh from their part in the
brilliant feint north of the river, had joined Crittenden, and some
lively minor battles were the result. The discovery that the rebel rear
guard was still at Lee & Gordon's suddenly stopped these operations,
and on the 12th, under an order to concentrate with the utmost celerity
north of the Chickamauga, Crittenden established himself along that
river near and above Lee & Gordon's.

On the 13th Bragg had ordered an attack upon him by Polk with two corps
and the promise of the support of a third, hoping to overthrow this
wing, in continuance of his plan of defeating the Union corps in detail,
before the center or right could afford relief. In the face of such
threatening, with McCook over fifty miles away, and Thomas unable to
move from the center till McCook should be within supporting distance,
Rosecrans undertook the concentration of his army.

At this point, that justice may be done, it is well to contrast the
attitude which the governments at Washington and Richmond had assumed
toward this movement on the rebel center.

For weeks before General Rosecrans had moved forward he had tried to
impress upon the authorities at Washington the importance of giving him
strong support. Promising offers to raise veteran mounted troops from
several Eastern governors were laid before the War Department and
refused with insulting warmth. Two weeks later came the order from
Halleck to move at once and keep moving, which is treated of at length
in a former letter.

This gross ignorance at Washington of the gigantic difficulties of the
situation was equaled, if not surpassed, by a telegram of September 11,
the very day that Bragg's re-enforced army was moving against Rosecrans'
center and organizing for an attack on his left, and while Rosecrans and
Thomas and McCook were straining every nerve in a life and death effort
to concentrate their army. Said Halleck, by telegraph of this date:

"After holding the mountain passes on the west and Dalton, or some point
on the railroad, to prevent the return of Bragg's army, it will be
decided whether your army shall move further South into Georgia and
Alabama. It is reported here that a part of Bragg's army is re-enforcing
Lee. It is important that the truth of this should be ascertained as
early as possible."

This showed that Halleck shared the general and ignorant belief that
Rosecrans had occupied Chattanooga in a military sense.

At this time Longstreet's advance had been gone a week from under
Halleck's eyes near Washington, and two divisions of Johnston's troops
from Mississippi, and Buckner, from East Tennessee, had already joined
Bragg, and others were on the way.

The failure to give Rosecrans effective flanking supports was
inexcusable. The only explanation for it is found in the irritation and
dislike which his straightforward and independent dealings had aroused
in Washington, and a failure to understand the natural obstacles of the
position and the contemplated advance. Meade was in a state of enforced
inactivity before Lee. Grant's army was doing nothing to occupy Johnston
in Mississippi, and there was no such Union activity in front of Mobile
and Charleston as prevented troops being spared to Bragg from those
points. And so, while the Washington authorities were finding fault with
Rosecrans while he was pushing some of the most brilliant and effectual
moves of the war, and were not even lifting a finger to encourage or
even to protect him, the Richmond government was neglecting no means to
strengthen Bragg to the extent of its powers. As a result, in one week
from the date of Halleck's telegram inquiring whether Bragg was
re-enforcing Lee, Longstreet and Johnston and Walker and Buckner had
reached Bragg from the extremes of the Confederacy, and he had moved to
attack Rosecrans with 70,000 men.

In this criminal neglect of Rosecrans the authorities were without
excuse. No friend of Stanton's or Halleck's have even yet attempted to
explain, much less defend it. These and other high officers, at one time
or another, arraigned General Rosecrans as solely responsible for what
they chose to designate as the disaster and defeat of Chickamauga. It
was the shortest way for some of them to divert attention from the
terrible neglect and responsibility which rested on their heads. But
even if the favorable chances for the concentration of Confederate
forces against Rosecrans had escaped unwilling observation at
Washington, the authorities there were without excuse, since the case
was very pointedly placed before them in an editorial of the Cincinnati
Commercial, which excited so much attention that the editor was
officially notified that such articles were highly indiscreet. This was
as early as September 1. In view of what occurred a few weeks later, and
of the evidence it gives of ample warning, it is interesting to
reproduce this editorial of Mr. Halstead, printed on the date named,
under a title, a "Point of Danger." Said the editor:

"Jeff Davis and his generals are as well informed as we are of the
presence of a considerable part of the army of the Potomac in New York
City to enforce the draft, and that consequently an advance on Richmond
need not be apprehended for some weeks. They have also heard of the
presence of Admiral Farragut in New York, and infer from the
circumstance that there is no immediate danger of an attack on Mobile.
They know the situation at Charleston, and are not mistaken in the
opinion that the advance upon that city must be slow, by process of
engineering, digging, and heavy cannonading. They do not need large
bodies of troops to make the defense; negro laborers, engineer officers
and gunners being all that are required. General Grant's army, as is
well known, is, for the most part, resting from its labors in undisputed
possession of an enormous territory. The real aggressive movement of the
Federal forces is upon the rebel center; that is to say, East Tennessee,
and it is extremely unlikely that the rebels are deficient in
information as to the strength and intentions of Generals Rosecrans and
Burnside.

"The important question is whether they will improve the opportunity by
concentrating upon their center. The reports that General Joe Johnston
has joined his forces to those recently under Bragg, and has thus
gathered a force almost if not quite equal numerically to those in the
hands of General Rosecrans, have in addition the immense advantages of
the occupation of mountain passes, and that are to be found in pursuing
a defensive system of warfare. General Lee is reported to have sent
troops to East Tennessee, and it is probable that he has done so, as,
thanks to the New York riots, he has some divisions temporarily to spare
from Virginia. If the rebels do give up East Tennessee and Northern
Georgia without a struggle, that is to say, if Generals Rosecrans and
Burnside complete the operations in which they are engaged without
meeting serious resistance, it may be taken as conclusive evidence of
the exhaustion of the rebellion."

Several subsequent editorials enforced these ideas, and were even so
definite as to point out Johnston, Longstreet, and Buckner as the
commands which were likely to re-enforce Bragg.

General Rosecrans had had these general points of danger in mind, and
made them known to the Government nearly a month before he crossed the
Tennessee. But his request for more men and flanking supports was
refused at the War Department with much warmth and most inconsiderate
emphasis. This Commercial editorial, therefore, startled him, and his
records show that he sent Mr. Halstead a sharp letter intimating that
such an editorial was little better than a call to the Jeff Davis
government to fall on him. It was, however, the clear common sense of
the situation; and if the Washington authorities had heeded it, instead
as was their custom, sneering at "newspaper generals" and newspaper ways
of carrying on the war, many lives would have been saved at Chickamauga
which were lost because of the unequal contest, and there would never
have been any questioning of that costly, but no less decided victory.

It is further true that General Peck, stationed in North Carolina, sent
word to General Rosecrans, under date of September 6, that Longstreet's
corps was passing southward over the railroads. Colonel Jacques, of the
Seventy-third Illinois, who had come up from the South, tried in vain
for ten days to gain admittance in Washington, to communicate this fact
of Longstreet's movement to Halleck and Stanton, and then, without
accomplishing it, started West, and reached his command in time to fight
with the regiment at Chickamauga. There had been time enough, after
General Rosecrans's explanations of his proposed plan, to force
Burnside, with twenty thousand men, down from East Tennessee, and to
have brought all needed strength for the other flank from the Army of
the Tennessee on the Mississippi. Even when ordered up, after the
battle, this latter loitered to a degree that its commander will never
be able to satisfactorily explain.

To return from this digression, Bragg on the 13th had ordered an attack
by three corps on Crittenden. The latter, by his great activity and by
the bold operations of Van Cleve, Wood, Palmer, and the brigades of
Hazen, Minty, and Wilder, had created the impression of much greater
strength than they really had, and Polk moved cautiously. Finally, just
as he was ready to attack, his column on the Lafayette road encountered
Van Cleve moving on him with a single brigade of infantry. So vigorously
did this officer attack that he forced Polk's advance back for three
miles, and created the impression of a general Union advance. This
disconcerted Polk, and instead of ordering his forces forward, he
halted, took up a defensive position, and sent to Bragg for
re-enforcements. Thus Negley and Baird, by their pluck and skill in
front of overwhelming forces, and Palmer and Crittenden's active
divisions and attached brigades on the left, by their unhesitating
attacks wherever they developed the enemy, and by this last one
delivered in the face of an advance of three full corps on one, had made
the concentration of the army possible, and had saved it. The next day
Steedman, that lion of battle, had reached Rossville, in immediate
support of Crittenden, with two brigades of his own command and two
regiments and two batteries temporarily attached, having marched from
Bridgeport, a distance of forty miles, in twenty-eight hours.

The appearance and wonderful activity of Hazen, Wilder, and Minty's
brigades on the left of Crittenden's, and Steedman's forces of the
reserve corps at Rossville, with the fact that McCook was nearing
Thomas, and that the latter had extended his left to within near
supporting distance of Crittenden, seem to have restrained Bragg from
attack in any direction after the failure of his orders to Polk to
attack on the 13th until his orders of the night of the 17th for an
attack the next day upon Crittenden's left and rear.

During this period of comparative inaction against the Union front,
Rosecrans insured the concentration of his army in time for battle.
McCook, not understanding the roads along the top of the mountain, and
not deeming it prudent to consume the time necessary to explore them,
had crossed Lookout twice, at the cost of more than a full day, and
appeared with his head of column at General Thomas's camps during the
16th. On the 17th the latter closed the heads of his columns toward
Crittenden.

The days of concentration had been a period of the most intense anxiety,
of unceasing watchfulness, of unbending determination, of brilliant
minor affairs, of unflinching courage, and, withal, of cool calculation
and precise execution for every part of the army.

While, on the morning of the 18th, the three corps of the Union army and
its reserve were in position where each could support the other if
attacked, its supreme effort for position was to come. Bragg's order for
battle contemplated crossing the Chickamauga some miles below Lee and
Gordon's and driving the Union left under Crittenden back on the center
and right under Thomas and McCook, and thus, by thrusting his columns
between Rosecrans and Chattanooga, recover that place and force the
Union army back into the mountains, from which position it is doubtful
if it could have extricated itself.

Bragg's order for attack on the 18th could not be executed. His army was
concentrated between Lee and Gordon's and Lafayette. He moved with five
infantry and two cavalry corps. Narrow roads, small bridges, difficult
fords, and dense forests delayed operations, so that at nightfall of the
18th his troops were not in position to attack. In fact, he was scarcely
ready to deliver battle under his plan on the morning of the 19th, when
Thomas's unexpected attack, far on the rebel right, deranged Bragg's
plan, and forced him to battle several miles from the point where he was
about to open it on Crittenden, who he supposed still constituted the
Union left.

It was nothing less than the inversion of the Union army under cover of
a night that had thus disconcerted Bragg and enabled Rosecrans to array
himself for battle between Bragg and Chattanooga, and across the roads
and in front of the passes which led to that city. It was this night
march of two corps which constituted the supreme movement of the
concentration, and which at the same time defeated Bragg's purpose to
fight with the back of his own army to Chattanooga with a view to its
recovery.

The map given below will make this inversion and final concentration
clear, and show the position of the two armies at daylight on the 19th,
when the battle began.

[Illustration: MAP OF FIRST DAY'S BATTLE.]

On the 17th General Thomas's corps was in the vicinity of Pond Spring,
Negley on the left, and so nearest to a junction with Crittenden at Lee
& Gordon's, Baird next to the right, and Brannan next. Reynolds was
thrown to the front. The left of McCook had closed on Thomas at Fond
Spring.

During the day Bragg, strongly threatening Crittenden at Lee & Gordon's
with two divisions, held him fast, and started the rest of his army down
the Chickamauga to cross and sweep in on Crittenden's left and rear,
expecting to find him still constituting the left of the Union army, and
to double this left back on Thomas and McCook.

Bushrod Johnson had crossed at Reed's Bridge, driven Wilder nearly to
the State road at Vineyard's, and bivouacked a mile and a half from
Crittenden's left. Walker had also crossed at Lambert's Ford with three
divisions and Forrest's cavalry division, and halted for the night about
a mile in the rear of Hood. For the most part Bragg's army had the full
night for rest.

On the other hand, the Union columns were alive with motion. That night
was to cover the inversion of an army. About 4 o'clock Thomas started
his whole corps from Pond Spring toward Crittenden, McCook following
him. This was doubtless interpreted by Bragg as a closing in on
Crittenden. But it was far more than that.

As soon as night shut the columns in they were pressed rapidly to the
left. Negley, as he drew near to Crittenden, was moved to the
Chickamauga in front of Crawfish Springs. This prevented a night attempt
to cut the column by occupying the roads intersecting at that point.
Meantime Thomas, with his other three divisions, pushed on. It was a
long, weary night. Heavy trains of supplies and ammunition occupied the
road. The troops moved mostly through the adjacent fields, both for
celerity of marching and as guards to the trains. Heavy flanking forces
streamed along parallel to the road, and well out toward the river.
There were constant interruptions to continuous movement, causing
frequent halts of the infantry. The night was cool, and, as the commands
stopped, the men warmed themselves by starting fires in the fences. The
result was that toward midnight the trains were everywhere driving
between two continuous lines of fires, and the men on either side, or in
the road, had constant facilities for warming themselves. It was a
tedious and most fatiguing night, but at daylight the vitally important
task was done. Thomas's head of column, Baird in advance, reached the
Kelly farm at daylight, with Brannan well closed up and Reynolds a short
distance in the rear. Brannan was on the State or Lafayette road, near
the intersection of the road leading into it from Reed's bridge. McCook
had reached a point to the right and rear of Crittenden, near Crawfish
Springs. And so at sunrise the Union right, instead of resting far up
the Chickamauga from Crittenden's position, as Bragg expected to find
it, had become the left of Rosecrans' army and Crittenden was the right.
More than this, Rosecrans had established his lines two miles beyond
Bragg's right, and between it and Chattanooga. The victory of
concentration had been followed by the equally important success of
inverting the army and thus thrusting its columns between the enemy and
the objective of the campaign. These second stages of the movement
deserve to take rank with the matchless strategy with which it was
inaugurated.

But the battle for the firm and final possession of Chattanooga was
still to come. It opened suddenly for both sides, and for Bragg in a
wholly unexpected quarter. The weary Union troops had scarcely time to
cook their coffee after the night march, and some of them no time at
all, before the storm broke and the army was summoned to the battle
which Thomas had opened.

                                           H. V. B.



WASHINGTON, _August 14_.--[Special.]--The last letter in this series
left the Army of the Cumberland on the morning of the 19th of September,
concentrated for battle on the field of Chickamauga. By an energetic
night march the army had been thrown forward on its left by inversion
into line, and thrust between the enemy and Chattanooga, the objective
of the campaign. It was a difficult and dangerous movement, where two
armies, intent on battle, were only separated by such a stream as the
Chickamauga, which was everywhere easily fordable above Lee & Gordon's.
But General Thomas, who led this column, is the one commander of a great
army of whom it can be said with accuracy that from the first of the war
to the close no movement of his miscarried. At daylight of the 19th he
held the Lafayette and Chattanooga road at the Kelly farm.

Bragg's army, though re-enforced from all parts of the Confederacy, and
though it had been well concentrated between Lafayette and Gordon's
mills for several preceding days, had been skillfully foiled by General
Rosecrans in the efforts to strike his isolated corps. During the 18th
it had been pressed by Bragg down the winding and thickly-wooded valley
of the Chickamauga in execution of an order for battle. This order was
based upon the idea that Crittenden's corps at Lee & Gordon's was the
left of the Union army. While he was to be held there by strong force
threatening attack from the other side of the stream, the bulk of
Bragg's army was to cross at the various fords and bridges below, and,
turning up stream, was then to join in sweeping Crittenden back on
Thomas and McCook, whom Bragg supposed still to constitute the Union
center and right. In execution of this plan Bushrod Johnson had crossed
at Reed's bridge, and pushed up to within a mile and a half of Lee &
Gordon's, and westward to within a mile of the Lafayette road, where
night overtook him. Walker's corps had crossed below Alexander's Bridge,
and bivouacked after a short advance toward Crittenden. Minty and
Wilder, with their mounted men, and Dan McCook, with his brigade, had
stoutly resisted and greatly delayed these columns. The most of Bragg's
army had rested through the night. Two corps of Rosecrans's forces had
marched continuously since four o'clock the preceding afternoon. They
were about to move into battle without time for breakfast or further
rest. Bragg, upon Longstreet's arrival, would have 70,000 men available
for the fight. Rosecrans's strength for battle was not over 56,000.

At daylight all of Bragg's army, wholly concealed by the forests, was in
motion. A considerable portion of it was still crossing the river at the
various fords and bridges from Tedford's to Reed's bridge, and deploying
on the other side toward Crittenden, who was still supposed to hold the
Union left.

Suddenly, about 9 o'clock, there came to Bragg's ears the sounds of
heavy and unexpected battle far down the Chickamauga and well toward
Rossville. Thomas, whose head of column rested at the Kelly farm, for
the double purpose of exploring the forests in his front and to test the
truth of a report that an isolated brigade of the enemy was on the west
side of the river near Reed's bridge, moved Brannan and Baird directly
into the forest on the road towards Reed's. At this time two-thirds of
Bragg's army, concealed by the forests, had crossed the Chickamauga and
was directing its columns up that stream toward Crittenden. Just at the
time when Bragg expected that his right would have swung across the
Lafayette road, and that his center divisions would have opened on
Crittenden's position at Lee & Gordon's, these portentous sounds of
battle from Thomas's line astonished and perplexed him. After vainly
waiting for them to cease, under the first impression that the affair
was a movement of his forces in reconnaissance, and that some Union
cavalry had been encountered, he found it so serious as to derange his
whole plan of battle, and force him to meet an enemy who had turned his
right. To do this he was obliged to move a portion of his troops that
had not crossed the river down stream to Reed's. By the circuitous roads
which they were obliged to travel, it required a march of six miles to
reach the left of Thomas.

This destruction of the rebel plan was due to Thomas opening the battle
with the divisions of Brannan and Baird in the vicinity of Reed's
bridge. At 6.30 o'clock Brannan left Kelly's, and moving north, turned
in from the Lafayette road at McDaniel's toward Reed's. A quarter of a
mile from McDaniel's he deployed his division. Van Derveer was on the
left, and thus became the left of the Union army. Connell's brigade was
in the center, and Croxton on the right. In like manner Baird advanced
with a front line of two brigades. King, with the regulars, was on the
left, next to Brannan, and Scribner on the right of King, while
Starkweather marched by the flank behind Scribner's right.

The last disposition was promptly made by Baird upon his discovering
that the enemy was in strong force to his right.

Thus while neither army was aware that the other was in heavy force in
the woods which surrounded them, and while Bragg's forces were forming
to move up the Chickamauga, and so away from Thomas's line of march,
both Brannan and Baird came in force on Bragg's right, in front of
Reed's bridge, at a point near Jay's Mills, and opened the battle of
Chickamauga. Croxton struck first with a vigorous attack on Forrest,
who, with the two divisions of his corps, was guarding the Confederate
right. The cavalrymen were forced back to the sawmill, where they
rallied, dismounted, and began to fight as infantry. Croxton held his
own, and even advanced slightly. Forrest sent for infantry, and Wilson's
brigade of Walker's division hurried from Alexander's and rushed into
the fight.

Meantime re-enforcements were turning from all portions of Bragg's line
toward the sound of furious battle. Shortly the advance toward
Crittenden ceased, so vigorous had Thomas's battle become. Connell and
Van Derveer at first meeting no enemy on their fronts pressed toward the
vortex of Croxton's fighting. Forrest, relieved by Walker's infantry,
met this advance of Brannan's left with his whole force and fought for
the most part on foot. Croxton, out of ammunition, was obliged to retire
somewhat before Walker, when Baird pushed King in to support him, while
Van Derveer and Connell moved in first on Forrest and next on Ector's
brigade of Walker's reserve. The battle became terrific. Forrest hurried
in person after infantry supports, and for portions of his own command
left near Alexander's.

At 11 o'clock Bragg had become convinced that Rosecrans had forced
battle upon him on the extreme rebel right. With such vigor did Thomas's
two divisions fight that Walker was ordered at that hour to go to
Forrest with all his force, and Cheatham, of Polk's corps, who had the
strongest division of the army, consisting of five brigades, then
stationed as the reserve of Bragg's left. Hardly had Cheatham started
before Stewart, of Buckner's corps, which was near Tedford's Ford, ready
to move toward Crittenden, was also dispatched in haste to the
Confederate right, and at 1 o'clock Cleburne, of Hill's corps, posted
near the extreme left of the Confederate line, was ordered to the scene
of action before Brannan and Baird. These movements show how Bragg's
plan of battle had been wholly overturned, and how fierce the fighting
of these two divisions of Thomas must have been to decide Bragg to send
four infantry divisions to the assistance of Forrest's corps of two
divisions.

Meantime Walker had moved Govan's brigade obliquely on the right flank
of Scribner and forced him back. Simultaneously Walthall's brigade
struck King in flank and drove him in disorder over Van Derveer's
brigade. Guenther's regular battery, one of the best and most efficient
in the service, was captured. We shall see how it was shortly after
retaken by the splendid Ninth Ohio.

Thus, while Baird's lines were shaken by the overwhelming concentration
against them, and Brannan was facing and fighting superior numbers,
matters were hot for Thomas, who was slowly moving to and fro along his
divisions and closely watching them. Baird was restoring his lines under
fire and in the face of a flank attack. Croxton's men, with fresh
ammunition, were holding their place. Connell's brigade was immovable,
and poured its fire into the very faces of the enemy. Van Derveer, on
the left, was busily maneuvering to meet flank attacks, and fighting
desperately, but with unvarying success.

At this moment, when Baird was scarcely able to maintain position, and
must have soon yielded to numbers, Johnson, of McCook's corps, came on
the field from Crawfish Springs, and was led by Thomas to the right of
Baird. Here, with the brigades of Willich and Baldwin on the front and
Dodge in reserve, Johnson, by heavy fighting, relieved the pressure on
Baird, restored the line, and checked Bragg's new center.

Following came Palmer, most opportunely ordered forward by Crittenden
from Lee & Gordon's, who saw plainly from the development of furious
battle on the Union left that troops would surely be wanted there.
Palmer followed Johnson into line, and under the personal direction of
Rosecrans the brigades of Hazen, Cruft, and Grose were formed in echelon
and ordered forward, immediately encountering Cheatham's men and
becoming fiercely engaged. Hazen on the left fell with great vigor on
Walker's left and relieved Starkweather, of Baird, from precarious
position. At the same time Van Derveer was thrown by Brannan on the
right of Walker and by terrific fighting crushed Walthall's line and
drove it well back into the forests.

It was here that the Ninth Ohio, the German Turner regiment of Bob
McCook--both regiment and commander of glorious memory--recaptured the
regular battery and brought it into the Union lines. The regiment had
been with the trains during the night march and it was chafing far in
the rear when Van Derveer sent for it. Sore was his need. The repeated
attacks of the enemy on his front and flank in the attempt to crush the
Union left and reach the Lafayette road in its rear were becoming so
frequent and heavy that, in spite of the fact that every man under him
was fighting where he stood and yielding no inch of ground, it seemed as
if the limit of human endurance even for iron veterans must soon be
reached. Then from the near distance came the well-known hurrah of the
Ninth advancing from the right. As all waited to welcome the head of its
column, its charging shout was heard to the front of its line of
advance, followed at once by rapid musketry, and then their great
"hurrah" of victory. The story is brief. Colonel Kammerling at the head
of his regiment, coming on at double-quick, saw to his right and front
the captured artillery of the regulars, just taken by Govan. Without
orders he halted his line, fronted it, and with the command "Links
Schwengket," swung it to the left, faced toward the hill where the
battery stood in the hands of its captors, and with a sweeping charge
drove the rebels back, bayoneting some among the guns, and rushed with
guns and many prisoners back to the Union line. A few minutes after he
came in on the run to Van Derveer, just in time to take part in the last
and supreme effort of the enemy to crush that unyielding left. Forrest's
men had passed beyond Van Derveer's left and formed for assault on his
front, and also directly on his flank. But the vigilant skirmishers and
prisoners taken by them made known the movement. The left was thrown
back in time, and the line presented an obtuse angle opening toward the
enemy. Into this, and heavily against the left of it, Forrest hurled his
columns, four deep. On came these men in gray in magnificent lines,
which showed clearly through the open forest bending their faces before
the sleet of the storm, and firing hotly as they advanced. As they came
within the range of the oblique fire from Van Derveer's right they
halted within forty yards of his left and for a few moments poured in a
destructive fire. A wheel of Smith's regular battery, and of a section
of Church's guns which had reported, brought them where they poured a
nearly enfilading fire of cannister down those long lines, standing
bravely there and fighting almost under the mouths of the guns. Thomas
and Brannan and Van Derveer were looking on and encouraging the line. It
had seemed almost beyond the probabilities to hold it till those well
served batteries opened. An instant later it seemed as if the lines of
gray had sunk into the earth. When the smoke lifted from the third round
the front was clear of everything but the heaps of dead and wounded, and
the work of the day at that point of the Union left was done.

The fight still raged bitterly, however, along the lines of Johnson, and
of Palmer to the right of him. Brannan and Baird were withdrawn from the
front which they had held, the former being sent toward the center to
provide against contingencies there, and the latter posted to prevent
any movement toward the Lafayette road at McDaniel's. Forrest and
Cheatham's brigades of infantry next attacked Johnson (of McCook), who
then held the advanced portion of the Union left. Here the contest soon
became furious again, partly on the ground of Baird's morning battle.
Maney's splendid brigade rushed to a hand-to-hand fight, but was borne
back. Wright, Strahl, Jackson, and Smith, with their brigades, all under
Cheatham, each delivered bold and most courageous attacks, but without
carrying the Union line. Rosecrans's army, under the successive
hammering of the Confederate onslaughts, was fast being solidly formed
from left to right. Willich, Baldwin, and Dodge, of Johnson, and Hazen,
Cruft, and Grose, of Palmer, were fairly aligned, having fought
themselves forward into good positions.

The battle next fell heavily on the right of Palmer, as Bragg at last
had his whole army in rapid motion toward his right. As Palmer's
ammunition began to fail, Reynolds moved up to his right and rear, and
made most excellent dispositions just east of the Lafayette road. Upon
call, he pushed Willich and Edward King in on Palmer's right, and at
once became hotly engaged. Crittenden sent Van Cleve with Samuel
Beatty's and Dick's brigades to the right of Reynold's, leaving Barnes's
brigade with General Wood at Lee & Gordon's.

As fast as the Union line could be extended to the left it became sorely
pressed by Bragg's troops, then well massed west of the Chickamauga.
General Davis, from McCook, pressed rapidly to the left and was sent in
near Vineyard's. At 3 o'clock Wood was ordered from Lee & Gordon's to
the field of the growing fight. As Bragg still had some forces opposite
this point, General Lytle's brigade, of Sheridan's division, was
directed to relieve Wood and hold the crossing. Thus in six hours from
the time Bragg was directing his army on Crittenden at Lee & Gordon's, a
single brigade, posted there only from prudence, served for all demands
against Confederate movement from that direction. This indicates how
completely Bragg had been driven from his plan.

Wood and Davis had not been dispatched a moment too soon. Van Cleve,
Davis, and Wood were confronted with solid masses of Bragg's
concentrated troops, and the scenes and splendid fighting of the morning
at the left were repeated hereby these divisions. Stewart, Johnson, and
Preston, of Buckner's corps, and Hindman, of Longstreet's advance, were
assaulting these lines. Davis had been ordered to wheel in on the
enemy's left flank, and this movement led to one of the bravest and
bloodiest contests of the day in front of Vineyard's. Wood advanced his
lines into the vortex just when Davis was hardest pressed, and, when all
seemed about to be compelled to yield, Sheridan appeared on the flank,
and Wilder's mounted brigade came up in the rear. Every division of the
Union army was in line except the reserve under Granger, which was some
miles away toward Ringgold, with orders to hold Red House bridge.

The battle along Rosecrans's center and right waxed hotter and fiercer.
He seemed everywhere present and he was everywhere alert. Van Cleve
encountered the left of Stewart marching to relieve Cheatham, and a
fight muzzle to muzzle took place between Clayton of Stewart's and the
two brigades of Van Cleve, Sam Beatty and Dick.

Reynolds, by magnificent generalship and fighting, restored the broken
line in his front, and firmly established himself there. His brigades,
under Turchin and Edward King, covered themselves with laurels as they
swayed back and forth on the tides of battles which rushed and swirled
over all that portion of the field.

Davis, with the brigades of Carlin and Heg, delivered their fire at
short range, and stood their ground long and well, till borne back by
overwhelming forces. It was just as this slow retrograde movement began
that Wood had appeared, having marched rapidly from Lee and Gordon's
with Harker's and Buell's brigade of his own division and Barnes's of
Van Cleve's. They swept in on the right, and by splendid fighting
checked the rebel line and held it on their front in spite of its
vigorous and splendid fighting.

At this point two exactly opposite movements were in progress along the
lines of the armies. Bragg, who seemed determined to push his right
between the Union left and Chattanooga, ordered Cleburne from Tedford's
Ford to the extreme right, the scene of the morning fighting. At the
same time General Thomas, convinced that no perilous attack could be
delivered at that hour from that extreme point, was bringing Brannan
from the left to the support of Reynolds just as the latter was fighting
to push the enemy from the Lafayette road. Brannan arrived in time to
help, and with Croxton's assistance Reynolds restored the lines on his
front and flank, and regained possession of the road. Negley also
arrived opportunely from the right and took active part at this point.
Wood repulsed Bushrod Johnson's division, though at great cost. Trigg,
of Preston's division, entirely fresh, moved in with splendid pluck and
movement to restore the line, but Sheridan, from McCook, with Bradley
and Laiboldt's brigades, met and checked this advance, and with its
recoil the heat of battle on the Union right began to subside.

About 5 o'clock the field on both sides was still. But Cleburne and
Walker were moving again far on the rebel right, in obedience to Bragg's
order to again attack the Union left. The Confederate march was over the
field of the morning, where the dead of Walker were thickly strewed. It
was a depressing advance. Still those veterans formed and moved on
without a sign of shrinking, and about six o'clock the hour of silence
was broken by a terrific attack in the gathering dusk upon Johnson, near
the ground occupied by Baird in the morning. The assault fell also upon
Baird further to the left. Cleburne, with a front of a mile, filled by
three brigades, had suddenly burst upon Thomas's left. Cleburne had
three brigades--Polk, Wood, and Deshler. Walthall and Govan, of
Liddell's division, and three brigades of Cleburne--Strahl, Johnson, and
Preston Smith--supported him. The assault was tremendous. Night was
falling, and the aim of each side was directed by the flashes of the
guns.

Willich, Dodge and Baldwin, of Johnson, fought their brigades with
undaunted pluck and endurance. Baldwin fell on his line. Baird, with
Scribner, King, and Starkweather, held their ground, though vigorously
attacked. Preston Smith, on the Confederate side, was killed here.
Darkness put an end to the movement and the fighting, and each army
sought rest.

For the commanders of all grades it was a busy night. While the Union
line was continuous and measurably compact between the enemy and
practicable roads to Chattanooga, there was much realignment to be done
to better the position for the morrow. The Union troops obtained only
snatches of rest on ground white with frost. No fires were lighted, lest
the direction of the lines might be revealed. This made supper a dry
meal. But the fact that for most there had been no time for breakfast
and none at all for dinner, gave excellent relish even to a dry supper.

Rosecrans's purpose of establishing his lines between the enemy and
Chattanooga had been accomplished. Bragg's plan of thrusting his army
between the Union advance and the city had been defeated. At the close
of this first day victory rested with Rosecrans. He had found himself
largely outnumbered, and had thrown every available man into the fight.

Bragg had many brigades which were not engaged, and Longstreet, with the
greater part of his force, was yet to arrive. The spirit of the Union
army had risen to a high pitch under the splendid and most effective
fighting which it had done, and it looked forward to the morrow with a
confidence born of the consciousness of fighting and staying powers.

But hard as the work of the day had been, and stubborn and bitter as was
the fighting in each army, the coming Sunday was to witness a battle
eclipsing this and surpassing all the war for its pluck and deadliness.
While the weary commanders were preparing for this day, and tired
sentinels kept faithful watch, the wounded suffered and the armies
slept.

                                           H. V. B.



WASHINGTON, _August_ 17.--[Special.]--The second and final fight for the
possession of Chattanooga opened on Sunday, September 20. We have seen
how through the preceding day, in the white heat of battle, the Union
lines had established themselves on the field of Chickamauga, and that
at nightfall they were still between Bragg and the city for which they
were fighting.

It was a cool and beautiful morning, though heavy fog hung over the
lower parts of the field, greatly impeding the preparations of each
commander. For an hour or two after daylight there were few indications
of the terrific scenes which were to be crowded into that Sabbath day.

Both sides had improved the night to rectify and strengthen the
alignment. Bragg had received important re-enforcements. General
Longstreet arrived in the night and was placed in command of the left
wing. Polk was assigned to the right wing. With Longstreet came the bulk
of his two divisions from Virginia, Hood and McLaws. Three brigades only
of the former had taken part with Hood in the first day's fight. Gist's
brigade of Walker's corps also arrived from Meridian. The Army of the
Tennessee, with all the warnings and requests of Rosecrans to the
authorities at Washington, had done nothing to prevent a general exodus
of rebel forces from Mississippi. Even a portion of Pemberton's paroled
men came, and two brigades, relieved by paroled prisoners, were in time
for the first day's battle. Bragg readjusted his lines during the night.
The most important change was to bring Breckinridge from his extreme
left, east of the Chickamauga, to the extreme right. Cleburne and
Cheatham were both moved close to Breckinridge. Forrest, with two
divisions, one to fight on foot, was placed still to the right of
Breckinridge, to observe the Lafayette road. With this heavy force,
strengthened on its extreme left with Stewart, he intended to attack the
Union left at daylight.

Rosecrans, on the other hand, had no re-enforcements with which to
relieve or help his lines, and most of his army had marched a night and
fought a day without rest and with little food, and every available man
had been engaged. Burnside had been for weeks where he could easily have
formed a junction. In fact, slowly as he had moved, his infantry had
reached Kingston about the time Rosecrans had finished concentrating his
army. It was the duty and the business of Halleck and others at
Washington to have had it on the field for the first day's battle.

It was grim business for this contracted line of Union heroes to face
the eleven divisions of infantry and two of cavalry, one of the
latter fighting as infantry, which Bragg had before them. Their only
advantage was in their shorter lines and the fact that it was necessary
for Bragg to attack, while for the most part they could remain on the
defensive. They were besides in excellent spirits and confident of their
powers.

[Illustration: CHICKAMAUGA--SECOND DAY'S BATTLE.]

A glance at the map will show the rearrangement of the Union line.
Beginning on the left, which covered Bragg's objective--namely, the
control of the Lafayette road to Chattanooga--Baird, Johnson, Palmer,
and Reynolds were withdrawn slightly from the ground on which they had
fought the day before, and placed in strong position in the edge of the
woods which skirted the Kelly farm. Brannan remained near the position
to which he had been called to support Reynolds the night before. The
divisions of Negley, Wood, Davis, and Sheridan and the brigade of Wilder
had all been drawn back of the Lafayette road, their lines being
slightly advanced from the road, leading from Crawfish Springs to the
Lafayette road at Kelly's farm.

The order of the Confederate line, from its right to a point in front of
Brannan's has already been stated. Here Stewart, of Buckner's corps,
formed the right of Longstreet, who commanded the left wing, and,
counting toward the enemy's left, the succeeding divisions were Bushrod
Johnson, with Law and Kershaw in reserve, Hindman and Preston Buckner's
corps was present with this wing by the courtesy of Burnside and the
Washington authorities, while the latter alone were responsible for the
inaction at the East which allowed Longstreet's corps to be present. By
the same courtesy Walker's division from Mississippi was present with
Hill's corps, and was to fight again, splendidly but unsuccessfully, on
Bragg's right, as it had all the day before.

Under cover the fog in the shelter of the woods, and in the painful
quiet of that Sabbath morning, the two armies had brought their lines
face to face. At 9 o'clock there was scarcely any point the length of a
tiger's spring between them.

Bragg had 212 regiments, organized into 42 brigades, and these in 7
divisions. There were in all 173 infantry regiments and 11 of cavalry,
which were dismounted and fought as infantry, 28 cavalry regiments and
50 batteries. Rosecrans had 158 regiments, 33 brigades, 14 divisions,
and 5 corps. There were 141 regiments of infantry and 18 of cavalry and
36 batteries.

Of Bragg's corps two were cavalry--Wheeler and Forrest. One division of
Forrest's fought as infantry. Rosecrans had one cavalry corps of two
divisions. This tremendous array was pushed close against a Union front
of only two miles and a half.

At 9 o'clock that Sabbath service of all the gods of war began. It broke
full-toned with its infernal music over the Union left, and that morning
service continued there till noon.

Let us look a moment at the Union line. John Beatty's brigade had been
stretched as a thin line from Baird's left to the Lafayette road and
across it. King's regulars formed the left of Baird, Scribner his
center, and Starkweather his right. He had no reserve. Johnston's
division was on the right of Baird; Dodge and Baldwin, of his brigades,
on the front, and Willich in reserve. Next was Palmer, with Cruft and
Hazen on the line, and Grose in reserve. Reynolds, on Palmer's right,
reached the Lafayette road again. He had Turchin in line and King in
reserve. The Union line was protected by log barricades. It thus ran
around the Kelley farm and was established from fifty to a hundred yards
within the woods which skirted the great open space in their rear. This
field, which lay along the State road for half a mile and was a quarter
of a mile wide, became the scene of almost continuous and ever brilliant
fighting. Beside the great battle along the main lines surrounding it,
there were during the day five distinct brigade charges over it, one of
Stanley, one of Van Derveer, one of Grose, a fourth by Willich, and a
fifth by Turchin.

Bragg's orders were to attack successively by divisions, from right to
left. Breckinridge struck first. He came on in single line, swinging
around towards the State road to gain Baird's rear. Adams was on his
right, Stovall in the center, and Helm on the left. This latter brigade
struck Scribner's breastworks, and was instantly shattered there. Helm
rode bravely among his troops, enthusiastically urging them forward, and
fell dead while thus engaged. Two of his colonels were killed, and two
were wounded.

Stovall pushed in with dauntless pluck against the regulars on the left
of Scribner, but King's men fought splendidly. The rebels assaulted
bravely but uselessly. Adams had swept in on John Beatty's thin line,
and broken it. Still it fought with undaunted courage, yielding
doggedly, and by the inch, and finally Adams, retarded by the disaster
on his left, was at bay. At this juncture came Stanley's brigade, from
Negley, near the center, with deployed lines, and the sun on its
banners. It swept over the Kelly field, from near the house, and plunged
into the woods in the rear of Beatty. Well might those who were
witnessing that threatening move toward the Union rear hold their
breaths as Stanley disappeared, and thus wait for his volleys and their
effect. In a moment they came, then his rattling line fire, then the
cheer of a charge. The first attack of Breckinridge had ended in a sore
defeat.

But Cleburne had in turn advanced. He, like Breckinridge, came in single
line. Polk, of Cleburne, assaulted Starkweather's front, while Wood of
the same command extended the attack as far as the right of Baldwin. The
remnants of Helm, under Colonel Lewis, still assisted against Scribner,
but soon Cleburne's division was repelled at every point with terrible
loss. The Confederate officers engaged describe the effect of the Union
artillery throughout this attack as the most destructive in their
experience. Thus Bragg's first attack had wholly failed. The Union
forces were exultant, and so strong were their skirmish demonstrations
that Hill, who was under orders to organize a second and much stronger
attack, paused, to first prepare his own lines against assault.

Walker's reserve corps of two divisions was brought up, and its five
brigades distributed along the shattered points of Breckinridge's and
Cleburne's lines. The organizations of rebel divisions being thus
destroyed, the attack became largely one of brigades acting
independently, each rushing at the Union works. There were ten rebel
brigades engaged in the movement from the Union left to Palmer's
position, and beyond this point Stewart's division co-operated by
assaulting Reynold's narrow front and Brannan's lines. Wood, of
Cleburne, who had previously stormed the angle of the Union works on
Johnson's right and been repulsed, assisted by Deshler, of the same
division, thinking this angle the flank of the barricades, again struck
obliquely and with fury with the idea of turning them. Instead, these
dashing Confederates went to pieces on Baldwin's brigade, of Johnson,
and on Palmer's front. Walthall assaulted the corresponding angle at
Scribner's position, and though he carried his men within pistol range
of the crests, he was beaten back with heavy loss. Gist, acting with
Helm's (now Lewis') broken line, attacked with power, but in turn was
driven back. Colquitt, still further to the right, came upon the regular
brigade of King. But his line had missed direction, and was at once
exposed to a withering flank fire, and overwhelmed. Colquitt fell.
Several of his most prominent officers were killed. Ector and Wilson, of
Walker's second division (Liddell's), advanced to help, but without
effect. Govan, however, of this same division, was successful, and by
hot fighting and the weight of numbers, he bore back John Beatty's
weakened line, and the situation on the Union left became at once most
serious. Everything but this along the line of the second attack by
Bragg's right had failed. It began to look as if rebel victory was
dawning here, and that the triumph of Bragg's plan of turning the Union
left had come.

For Breckinridge, in the second advance, had swung his lines much
farther to his right, and by a wide left wheel had brought his right
across the State road, and so between the Union left and Rossville. His
left reached and slightly overlapped Beatty's left. Thus formed with
lines perpendicular to the State road, he began a march directly toward
the Kelly house and the rear of Reynolds, just beyond it. While the
remnants of the left, so badly broken, first under Helm and then under
his successor, were entangled with Beatty and Stanley, his two other
brigades, Adams on the right and Stovall to the left, burst out of the
woods on the north side of the Kelly field, quickly rectified their
lines, threw out a heavy skirmish force, and bore rapidly down toward
Reynolds. It was half a mile to his position over smooth and open
ground. From the start the skirmishers could throw their bullets into
Reynolds rear. It was a movement threatening dire disaster. The moment
it developed in the rear of Baird, Walker's corps and Cleburne's
brigades reopened their fire on the front of the barricades, while
Stewart advanced on Reynolds and Brannan. Thus, taken on flank, front,
and full in the rear, and outnumbered at every point, it seemed as if
there was no salvation for the Union left. But it came, and at that
point where Confederate victory seemed sure, full defeat fell suddenly
upon them. Thomas watching the progress of Breckinridge's flank attack,
had sent to Rosecrans for Brannan. At that moment the battle had not
extended to the latter. But just as Rosecrans' order to go to Thomas
reached Brannan signs of heavy and immediate attack on his front became
apparent. He well used his discretion, and remained on the line until he
could report the situation to Rosecrans. But in the mean time, in
partial compliance with the order, he sent Fred Van Derveer's brigade,
which constituted his reserve, to the help of the left. This brigade
deployed, marched rapidly in to line toward the Kelly house, and came
into the field less than two hundred yards in advance of Breckinridge's
line. Though presenting its flank to the enemy when he was first
discovered, it changed front in the open ground under fire, charged the
rebel line, broke it, following it back into the woods, and after an
hours' fighting drove these two brigades with their artillery entirely
clear of the Union left. It then returned to a point near the Kelly
house.

Govan, of Walker, next on the left of Breckinridge, had, however, gained
a lodgment on the line which Beatty had so stubbornly held. Then came
another Union charge over the Kelly field. Palmer, under Thomas's
orders, sent Grose with his reserve brigade to clear Baird's immediate
left. Moving from the edge of the woods back into the open field, Grose
formed in double lines, moved at double-quick across the rear of Johnson
and Baird, and rushed with cheers into the woods on the north side of
the field. In a few moments his volleys were pouring into the face of
Govan. The latter's troops fought desperately, but their supports on
each flank had been previously broken, and soon, after bitter loss, gave
way. The Union left was then further strengthened by placing Barnes, of
Van Cleve, on the left of Beatty. It was then noon. So badly shattered
was Bragg's right that it was nearly 5 o'clock before another attack
could be organized on this ground. Thenceforth the Union left was safe.

Simultaneously with the appearance of Breckinridge in the Kelly field
events were hastening to an appalling consummation on the Union center.
Stewart, the right of Longstreet's wing, moved to the assault in
Reynold's front. With three brigades he rushed upon Turchin, who formed
Reynold's advance, and Hazen, of Palmer, next on the left, while his
left also involved Brannan's left. On his right he also had the
co-operation of Wood's and Deshler's brigades, of Cleburne. Deshler was
killed as the movement began, and Roger Q. Mills, of Texas, succeeded
him.

As this was the opening of the memorable attack which led to the break
in the Union center it is worthy of close attention. General Stewart, in
his report, thus describes it:

"For several hundred yards both lines pressed on under the most terrific
fire it has ever been my fortune to witness. The enemy retired, and our
men, though mowed down at every step, rushed on at double-quick, until
at length the brigade on the right of Brown broke in confusion, exposing
him to an enfilading fire. He continued on, however, some fifty to
seventy-five yards further, when his two right regiments gave way in
disorder and retired to their original position. His center and left,
however, followed by the gallant Clayton and indomitable Bate, pressed
on, passing the cornfield in front of the burnt house, and to a distance
of two hundred to three hundred yards beyond the Chattanooga road,
driving the enemy within his line of intrenchments and passing a battery
of four guns, which were afterward taken possession of by a regiment
from another division. Here new batteries being opened by the enemy on
our front and flank, heavily supported by infantry, it became necessary
to retire, the command reforming on the ground occupied before the
advance."

All this was going on in the front of Reynolds and Palmer, while
Breckinridge, as already described, was entering the open field from the
north in plain sight from their rear. Yet not a single Union soldier
left the line. Standing steadfast, they first resisted, as Stewart
describes, and then were incited to still greater action by the
brilliant fighting of Van Derveer in their rear, which so unexpectedly
brought them the much-needed relief.

Here the story reaches the event of the break in the Union lines, which
is widely misunderstood, and has been most unjustly used to throw
discredit on General Rosecrans. Just as Longstreet's attack was
developing upon Wood's front, the latter received an order from General
Rosecrans to "close upon Reynolds as fast as possible and support him."
As Brannan was between himself and Reynolds, Wood saw no other way of
executing the order, which he deemed imperative, except to withdraw from
line, and pass to the rear of Brannan. This he did, although the attack
was just bursting on his front.

It has been persistently claimed, to General Rosecrans's detriment, that
in the excitement of the height of battle he had issued a blundering
order. Nothing could be more unjust. The explanation is perfectly
simple. General Thomas had sent for Brannan to meet Breckinridge's flank
attack. Stewart's attack had struck Reynolds with force and was rapidly
developing on Brannan's front. The latter hastily consulted with
Reynolds as to the propriety of withdrawing, and both being clear that
to obey the order would open the line to the enemy, Brannan dispatched
Van Derveer, his reserve, to the left, in partial compliance with its
terms, and then reported to Rosecrans that he had deemed it vitally
important to maintain his line till the commanding officer could be
advised of the situation. He instantly approved Brannan's action. But
just before his message arrived, upon the supposition that he had obeyed
the order and gone to Thomas, the noted order to Wood to close to the
left on Reynolds had been dispatched. When it reached Wood, the attack,
rolling along Brannan's front, had reached his own. Had he exercised the
same discretion which Brannan had so wisely displayed, all would have
been well, and that nearly fatal break in the Union lines would not have
occurred. But instantly on reading it, Wood rapidly withdrew his
division and started in the rear of Brannan toward Reynolds. Longstreet,
who had waited most impatiently till 11 o'clock before he could move a
man to the attack, had solidified his lines before the Union center and
left, and the moment Wood left this wide gap for him, Longstreet thrust
into it the eight brigades of his central column of attack. They were
formed in three lines, and advancing rapidly they opened on Brannan's
right and rear and Davis' left, and greatly widened the gap. Brannan
threw back his right, losing something from Connell's brigade on that
flank, but, stubbornly resisting Longstreet's advance as he retired that
wing of his division, he soon re-established it on Horseshoe Ridge, near
the Snodgrass House, on a line nearly perpendicular to the one he had
occupied when Longstreet pushed through the gap left by wood. The latter
had passed rapidly to the rear of Brannan, and though subjected to heavy
attack after passing Brannan's left, he was able to establish his line
on a lower ridge in the prolongation of Brannan's new position, and
reaching in the direction of Reynolds. The latter officer soon retired
his right slightly, and the line was again continuous, except a break
between Wood and Reynolds, from Brannan's right to Barnes on Baird's
left. Into this vacant space Hazen moved later under orders from Thomas,
and then the line on that part of the field was firmly established.

All to the right of Brannan had gone. Negley, with one brigade of his
division, which was caught in the gap, had drifted toward Brannan. Here,
gathering up much artillery, which he was ordered by Thomas to post on
the crest overlooking the field in front of Baird's left, he took it
instead to Brannan's right, and soon, without waiting to be attacked in
his strong position, and although he had promised Brannan to hold it,
abandoned it, and retired in haste toward Rossville, ordering all the
artillery to follow him.

Davis had moved rapidly into the breastworks which Negley had occupied,
and there placed his weak force of two brigades across Longstreet's
advance. But after his terrific fighting of the day before he had only
twelve hundred men for action, and though Carlin, and Heg's men under
Martin, fought with desperation, they could do nothing but yield. They
were driven in disorder to the right and rear.

At the same time Van Cleve, with his two remaining brigades in motion
towards Thomas, was thrown into great disorder, though a considerable
portion of them rallied with Wood.

As Davis was borne back, McCook, of the Twentieth Corps, in person led
Laiboldt's brigade, of Sheridan's division, against Longstreet's
advancing columns. The attack was delivered with spirit and power, but
it failed in the face of overwhelming numbers, and the brigade was
utterly routed. McCook was carried to the rear with it.

Next came Sheridan, with his two remaining brigades under Lytle and
Bradley. The former, with splendid bearing and courage, rallied his
columns, and though they were taken at every disadvantage, under the
inspiration which he imparted they faced the resistless advance with
desperate valor. Lytle fell where death was thickest for his comrades.
His brigade, and that of Bradley, with Wilder, who had also fought to
the extremity to assist, were all borne to the rear and forced to join
the fugitive columns falling off from the Union right toward Rossville.
General Rosecrans had just ridden the lines from the left, and had
passed in the rear of McCook's position, when the line was severed.
Finding the roads in rear of the right filled with retreating columns
representing all corps of the army, for Negley was there from Thomas, he
deemed it prudent to ride to Chattanooga and decide upon a new position
in front of the place. General Crittenden's whole command, that is,
three divisions, having been ordered in succession to Thomas before the
break, Crittenden himself, being without command, rode into Chattanooga
after Rosecrans, as did also McCook. Sheridan's division was in good
order by the time it reached Rossville, and most of the troops which
left the field were about that place and McFarland's Gap in fighting
condition throughout the afternoon. Their numbers at 2 o'clock were from
seven to ten thousand. They could easily have been led to Baird's left
or Brannan's right, as the way to either flank was open. This was proved
by the fact that General Garfield, Colonel Gates Thurston, and Surgeons
Gross and Perkins, the medical directors of the Fourteenth and Twentieth
Corps, rode back and joined General Thomas. It is one of the myths of
current Chickamauga history that Sheridan marched with his division back
to the fighting line, but this is an error. He received a request at
McFarland's Gap from Gen. Thomas to return to the field, but decided
instead to retire to Rossville. Upon reaching the latter point he moved
out on the Lafayette road toward Gen. Thomas, but did not form a
junction with him. He reached the Cloud House at 7 p. m. and soon after
withdrew to Rossville.

Six Confederate divisions under Longstreet had taken part in breaking
the Union center and sweeping its right off the field. These were
Stewart, Bushrod Johnson, and Preston, of Buckner's corps: Hood and
McLaws, of Longstreet's Virginia troops, and Hindman's division of
Polk's corps. Eight brigades of this force had first entered the gap
left by Wood, and from that time till Rosecrans, McCook, Crittenden,
and Sheridan had gone, and Brannan had established himself on
Horseshoe Ridge, each of these six divisions had advanced and fought
with vigor. Finally Hindman, finding no resistance on his left, wheeled
to the right to assist Longstreet's center and right, which had been
checked by Brannan and Wood. This brought Longstreet's six divisions
together in the vicinity of Horseshoe ridge.

[Illustration: THE CONCENTRATION.]

[Illustration: KELLEY'S FARM--HORSESHOE RIDGE.]

Shortly after 2 o'clock Longstreet ordered a general assault by his
wing. It was delivered with confidence and tremendous power. To meet
these six divisions Brannan on the right had Croxton's brigade and part
of Connell's; Wood, on the left, had Harker's brigade. With these
organized commands were a part of John Beatty's, a good part of
Stanley's and the Twenty-first Ohio, of Sirwell's, all of Negley; parts
of the Ninth and the Seventeenth Kentucky; Forty-fourth Indiana and
Thirteenth Ohio, of Van Cleve's division, with the Fifty-eighth Indiana,
of Buell's brigade--in all about 4,000 men.

Against this line, hastily formed and without reserves, Longstreet
launched his solid columns. They came on magnificently, wave behind
wave. They met sheeted fire from the summits, and yet pressed on to hand
encounters, but from these they soon recoiled. The whole line retired
from the foot of the slopes, and covered by the forests organized for a
second attack. It was delivered soon after 3 o'clock. Like the first, it
fell on the fronts of Wood and Brannan. But while Hindman assaulted the
latter in front he also sent a brigade through the gap to Brannan's
right to scale the ridge and gain his rear. Negley, who had held this
point with abundant artillery and infantry supports, and who had
promised to stay there, had promptly fled before any attack had reached
him and was even then in Rossville. There was absolutely nothing to send
against Hindman's left, towering there with its fringe of bayonets on
the commanding ridge, and forming to sweep down on Brannan's right and
rear. Longstreet and all his general officers were exultant, and though
their second attack had failed everywhere, except as this lodgment was
obtained on the ridge beyond Brannan, they rapidly arranged their lines
for what they believed would be a final assault leading to sure victory.

But not a Union soldier moved from his place. The men clutched their
guns tighter. Officers everywhere moved closer to the lines to encourage
and steady them. The color-bearers set their flags firmer. And then, as
if to repay such courage, help came as unexpectedly as if the hand of
the Lord had been visibly extended to save. Suddenly a Union column
appeared, moving with speed across the fields from the direction of the
McDaniel house. It was Granger, of the reserve, with two brigades of
Steedman's division. Being stationed four miles away toward Ringgold,
Granger, agreeing with Steedman that they must be sorely needed on the
field, had started without orders, and though shelled by Forrest on his
flank for two miles of the way, had not allowed his columns to be
greatly delayed. And now Steedman was sweeping up to the foot of the
hill below the Snodgrass House. As he reported to Thomas, coming in from
toward the Kelly farm was another well-ordered column. It proved to be
Van Derveer returning from the charge upon Breckinridge in the Kelly
field. The map shows how he had left Brannan's line just before the
break and hastened with deployed lines toward the left; how thus
deployed he had marched from the woods to be enfiladed from
Breckinridge's front as the latter emerged from the woods and burst upon
the Union rear. Here, under this fire, he whirled his brigade to the
left, delivered a full volley at pistol range into the enemy's faces,
charged into their lines on a run, drove them back on their batteries,
and pursued both infantry and artillery to a point beyond the Union
left, where Grose, coming from the rear of Palmer, completed the work.
The dotted line shows Van Derveer's return. He, too, had moved without
orders to the sound of tremendous firing about the Snodgrass house. Just
as Steedman had hastily formed and assaulted Hindman's forces beyond the
right of Brannan, Van Derveer joined his brigade to Steedman's left and
moved also to the assault. Steedman seized a regimental flag and rode
with it in his hands to the top. His command was the brigades of those
splendid soldiers, John G. Mitchell and Walter C. Whittaker.

One (Whittaker's) plunged into the gorge through which Hindman's left
was pouring, the rest of the line, with Van Derveer on its left, charged
for the ridge. In twenty minutes it was carried and all of Hindman's
forces were driven from it and out of the ravine. Whittaker had been
wounded and four of his five staff officers either killed or mortally
wounded. One-fifth of Steedman's force had been disabled in the charge.
Van Derveer's loss was considerable, but less in proportion, as he was
not fairly in front of Hindman, as Steedman was. Twice Hindman turned
his recoiling troops to recapture the position, but finally abandoned
the effort and relinquished the ridge to Steedman. The center and right
of Longstreet's third assault was in like manner repelled. In this
movement the Fourth Kentucky, Col. R. M. Kelley, joined Van Derveer and
fought with him till night.

The coming of Steedman was more than an inspiration. It was more than
the holding of the right. He brought 100,000 rounds of cartridges and
artillery ammunition--far more welcome than diamonds. Regiments in the
line had been fighting, even at that early hour, with the bayonet and
clubbed muskets. Now, when Longstreet's right came on in aid of the
attempt of Hindman to hold his position on the west they were received
with terrific and continuing fire, and as the lines of gray, with
desperate valor, neared the summit Wood's men and Brannan's rushed at
them with the bayonet and broke their ranks, rolled them down the
slopes, and on Wood's front, with help of a direct fire from Aleshire's
battery on the left and a terrible enfilading fire from Battery I,
Fourth Regular Artillery, on Brannan's left, under those splendid young
soldiers, Lieutenants Frank G. Smith and George B. Rodney, drove them in
disorder beyond their artillery.

At this time both Confederate wings were calling for re-enforcements.
Bragg's reply to Longstreet was that the right was so badly shattered
that it could not help him.

When Steedman's coming with four thousand men had so changed the whole
current of the battle, what if the seven thousand men under Sheridan and
Negley about McFarland's and Rossville, much nearer than Steedman was,
had been brought up? How the officers who were there could stay
themselves, or manage to keep the men, is a mystery sickening to think
about.

Hindman thus tells of the attack by which he carried the ridge to the
right of Brannan, before Steedman arrived:

"In a few minutes a terrific contest ensued, which continued, at close
quarters, without any intermission, over four hours. Our troops attacked
again and again with a courage worthy of their past achievements. The
enemy fought with determined obstinacy and repeatedly repulsed us, but
only to be again assailed. As showing the fierceness of the fight, the
fact is mentioned that on our extreme left the bayonet was used and men
were also killed and wounded with clubbed muskets."

Of the attack of Steedman's men in the ravine, where they rushed on the
Confederate line with the bayonet, pushed in among the guns and killed
gunners at their posts, Hindman further says: "I have never known
Federal troops to fight so well. It is just to say, also, that I never
saw Confederate soldiers fight better." Of the second attack upon
Brannan's position, which was repulsed, Kershaw, commanding in
Longstreet's troops from Virginia, said: "This was one of the heaviest
attacks of the war on a single point."

Up to the time of Steedman's arrival there had been a break between
Reynolds and Wood, but the flank of the former in advance of the latter
somewhat covered it. Upon this point Longstreet now organized a heavy
attack. But the lull on the left, arising from the rebels there having
been, as Bragg expressed it, "so badly beaten back" that they could be
of no service on his left, made it practicable to strengthen the Union
center. Hazen was found to have ammunition, and was moved with celerity
into the gap, and Grose, Johnson's reserve, replaced him. Hazen arrived
none too soon. His lines were hardly established before Longstreet's
right was upon him, lapping over upon Reynold's front, and then, from
Reynolds to Steedman, there was one continuing hell of battle. Garfield,
who had come up with an escort, having ridden from Rossville, after
reporting to Thomas, moved along the ranks of his old brigade (Harker,
of Wood), encouraging the men, and giving evidence against all loiterers
at the gaps in the rear that every officer and man of them could easily
have reached the field.

Longstreet's columns assault at every point, as rapidly as his lines
rolled back from the crest could be reformed. He had ten brigades in
front of Brannan and Steedman, while these officers had only four
unbroken in organization, and fragments of two others. One brigade of
Preston, which assaulted Wood and Hazen's line, had over 2,000 men in
the movement. The successive movements, rather the tremendous dashes of
these lines against the hill, was like the advance of breakers with
which ocean storms attack the shore. But, as surely, each wave with its
crest of steel, its spray of smoke, and its glitter of fire broke and
swept back with dead and wounded in its terrible undertow. It was
treason, but magnificent. Such was the scene which these soldiers of
Thomas saw on the Snodgrass Hill throughout the afternoon till dusk.

To relieve the left Polk was ordered at 3 o'clock, to attack in force
with the whole right wing. But it required much time to organize those
battered lines for assault, but when done, it was, indeed, formidable.
The second map will make it plain. Cleburne, with four brigades, was
deployed before Palmer and Johnson. Jackson and Polk's brigades lapped
over Baird. Cheatham was in a second line. The map gives his position
wrongly, though it is taken from the original official map in the War
Department. Ranged further to the right, and crossing the State and
Lafayette road at McDaniel's, and thus massed against the Union left,
were the divisions of Breckinridge and Liddell, Armstrong's dismounted
cavalry division of Forrest, and Forrest's artillery. While Grose, of
Preston, was assaulting Hazen and Wood this attack on the Union left
began. But, as before, the brigades that moved up to the log breastworks
were speedily shattered, though this time they took their artillery
through the thickets with them, pushing it by hand.

Once more, as the assault was made on Baird's left, there came a Union
charge across the Kelly field, the fourth for the day. This time it was
Willich, the reserve of Johnson. Withdrawing from line and facing north,
he swept along on the run and with cheers. His lines dashed into the
woods at the point where Stanley and Grose had charged before, and
without a halt sprang into the faces of the advancing Confederates.
King's regulars and Barnes gave brave help, and once more the immediate
left was cleared. The force on the road by the McDaniel house, though
unbroken, was not advanced. Later, an assault on Reynolds and Palmer was
ordered, but, naturally, it was feeble after so many repulses at the
breastworks. At half-past 5 there was quiet again along the Union left.
Longstreet, however, in front of the right, was active for another hour,
though at every point unsuccessful.

At half-after 5 General Thomas, having full discretion, decided to
withdraw to occupy the passes in his rear at McFarland and Rossville,
which controlled the roads to Chattanooga. His line was solid at every
point. Both wings of the Confederates were at bay. Their right was too
much broken to successfully assault the Union left. The Union right,
though its ammunition ran low, and its officers were constantly
searching the boxes of the killed and wounded for cartridges, was
becoming practiced in the use of the bayonet against assaulting lines,
and in spite of the persistence of Longstreet's men, had begun to feel
comfortable in its position. The whole line could have been held until
night. But daylight was wanted to set the army in orderly motion toward
the gaps which controlled the city. After that was accomplished the
darkness afforded the needed cover to complete the movement. It was
because Chattanooga, and not the Chickamauga woods, was the objective of
the campaign that the army withdrew to Rossville. It was in no sense a
military retreat.

If Thomas had not occupied these passes in the night, Bragg could have
done so, and the object he had in view would then have been
accomplished. Had Thomas allowed it, Bragg would have been only too glad
to have withdrawn from the field and "retreated" on Rossville. Thomas
did not permit it, but went there first, and Chattanooga was won.

The withdrawal involved some fighting. The movement began on the right
of Reynolds. Palmer, Johnson, and Baird were to follow in succession,
all leaving their skirmishers in their works.

Reynolds formed his brigades by the flank on each side of the Lafayette
road, King on the right and Turchin on the left. Thus he advanced
northward along the Kelly field toward Rossville. General Thomas
followed at the head of the column. As they passed a short distance
beyond the south line of the field they encountered the advancing troops
which had taken part in the last rebel attack. Instantly Thomas ordered
Reynolds to cause Turchin to file to the left, and after thus changing
front to "charge and clear them out." The line of Turchin's charge is
shown on the map. Filing into the wood to the left at double-quick, he
faced to the front while thus moving, and his lines darted at a run into
the faces of the enemy. It was one of the bravest and most brilliant,
most important and effective charges of the day--the fifth over those
Kelly fields. At the same moment King, forcing his way along the road,
fell on the flank of Liddell's division and broke it. Dan McCook, who
had been active during the day on the flank of Forrest, advanced and
opened with his artillery on the rebel rear, and after short but sharp
fighting the formidable array was driven back and the way to Rossville
was open.

Turchin and King moved by the roads to McFarland's Gap. Baird, Johnson,
and Palmer followed over the same roads. They were attacked as they left
their works and crossed the Kelly field, but order in their columns was
restored as soon as they gained the shelter of the woods on the west of
the road. Hazen and Wood then followed without molestation. Steedman
withdrew at six o'clock from the extreme right, and Brannan was left
alone on Horseshoe Ridge. The sun was down. The shadows were thickening
in the woods before him, and yet Longstreet's men remained on the
slopes, and several times appeared in detachments close along his lines.
Suddenly a line of Hindman's men were found on the slope where Steedman
had been. By some strange oversight Brannan had not been notified that
his right was unprotected. A hasty examination in the gathering dusk
showed another rebel line on the slope directly in the rear, and which
had come round through the gap where Steedman's right had been, and was
evidently forming for an assault. The Thirty-fifth Ohio, of Van
Derveer's brigade, was thrown back to face both these lines. Fragments
of five regiments more, which had opportunely arrived, were given to the
commander of the Thirty-fifth. His own regiment had one round and one in
the guns. This was placed in front. The others, with fixed bayonets,
were formed in the rear. Just before dark a rebel officer rode in on
the line and asked what troops were here. He was shot by the near
outposts.

Then came a scattering fire from the flank of the rebel line along the
ridge, next a volley from the Thirty-fifth, and a silent awaiting
results behind its line of bayonets. The volley had scattered the enemy
on the ridge, and the force in the rear had withdrawn. These were the
last shots on the right. Following them there was absolute quiet
everywhere on the field. The stillness was painful and awful. Brannan's
officers and men, peering down into the dim and smoking ravine, saw long
lines of fire creeping over the leaves, and in and out among the wounded
and the dead. It was a sight far more horrible than any of the pictured
presentations of Dante's Inferno. From this scene, with the low wailings
of the sufferers in their ears, they turned in triumph and exultant to
form the rear guard of Thomas's advance to Rossville. Turchin and
Willich fought last on the left and formed the rear guard there; Van
Derveer covered the right. And thus the Army of the Cumberland at
midnight occupied the passes which made the possession of Chattanooga
secure.

There had been no such disordered rush of the broken portions of the
army on Chattanooga as the panic-stricken correspondent of an Eastern
paper depicted, who gave visions of his own early flight to the country
as news. Only a small part of the broken wing drifted to Chattanooga.
From 7,000 to 10,000 stopped at Rossville, and were fairly organized
there. When Thomas's forces arrived the whole army was placed in
position on Missionary Ridge, and in front of it, and remained in line
of battle throughout the whole of the 21st.

At nightfall the army advanced to Chattanooga--advanced is the word; the
term "retreated," so persistently used in regard to this movement has no
place in the truthful history of this campaign. The Army of the
Cumberland was on its way to Chattanooga, the city it set out to
capture. It had halted at Chickamauga, on its line of advance, to fight
for its objective. On the night of the 21st it began its last march for
the city. Every foot of it was a march in advance, and not retreat. At
sunrise of the 22d Brannan's division, which was the rear guard, reached
the city, and the campaign for Chattanooga was at an end. Until that
morning broke the great bulk of the Army of the Cumberland had never
seen the place.

Thus, crowned with success, though won at terrible cost, closed the last
campaign of General Rosecrans. It was matchless in its strategy,
unequaled in the skill and energy with which his outnumbered army was
concentrated for battle. Its stubborn, desperate, and heroic fighting
throughout the two days' battle was not surpassed, and, judged by its
returns of dead and wounded, not equaled in any one of the great battles
of the war. It secured the city which it marched to capture. The loss
was no greater than the country would have expected at any time in
attaining that result. If Rosecrans had crossed the river in front of
the city and captured it with even greater loss, the country would have
gone wild with enthusiasm. Had he been properly supported from
Washington he would have entered it without a battle, since, if there
had been even a show of activity elsewhere, Bragg's army would not have
been nearly doubled with re-enforcements and thus enabled to march back
on Chattanooga after its retreat from the city. The reverse on the field
on Sunday was not the disaster which at the time it was declared to be,
and which it has ever since suited several writers of military fiction
to persistently represent. The account herewith presented shows that
after General Thomas consolidated his lines at 1 o'clock on Sunday not a
single position was carried and held by the enemy. The withdrawal, which
began soon after 5 o'clock, was not in any sense forced. There is not an
officer or soldier who fought on those lines but knows that they could
have been held throughout till dark.

The accepted version of Sunday's break on Rosecrans's right is that the
two corps of Crittenden and McCook were swept off the field; but only
five brigades of McCook's entire corps left the field, and the fragments
which went from Crittenden would not exceed two brigades. Palmer's and
Johnson's divisions, which fought splendidly to the end under Thomas on
the left, were respectively from Crittenden's and McCook's corps. Wood
belonged to Crittenden. Barnes's brigade, which fought on the extreme
left, and part of Dick's and Samuel Beatty's were all of Van Cleve's
division of Crittenden's corps. In other words, the large part of
Crittenden's force fought to the last. Four regiments of Wilder's
brigade of Reynolds's division were detached and cut off with the right,
and a considerable part of Negley's division of Thomas went to the rear,
chiefly through the bad conduct of its commander. We have seen, however,
how persistently and effectively Stanley's and John Beatty's brigades of
that division fought, and Beatty and General Charles Grosvenor and
Sirwell and Stoughton, of these brigades, were all found fighting like
private soldiers on the hill with Wood and Brannan to the last. The
battle of Sunday was, then, not the fight of any one corps, but of the
Army of the Cumberland. There was no disorderly retreat of the army on
Chattanooga, and nothing approaching it. The greater portion of the
right wing, which was cut off and certainly thrown into much confusion,
was reorganized at Rossville, and occupied its place in line at that
point throughout the next day and until the army moved on in the night
to occupy Chattanooga. The battle was desperate from the moment it
opened till its close. For the most part the lines fought at close range
and, in the countless assaults, often hand to hand. On the first day
there were no field works of any kind. On the second Thomas was
protected by such rude log works as could be hastily thrown together.
Brannan and Steedman were without a semblance of works. The battle in
the main, on both sides, was dogged, stand-up fighting far within the
limit of point blank range. For the second day, on the Confederate side,
the contest was one continued series of brave and magnificent assaults.

General Rosecrans had crossed the Tennessee with an effective force of
all arms equipped for duty of a few hundred more than 60,000. Of this
number Wagner's brigade, with 2,061 effectives, held Chattanooga,
leaving the Union force in front of Bragg slightly less than 58,000. It
was several thousand less at the battle, Post's brigade of Davis'
division and three regiments of infantry and one battery being engaged
in guarding supply trains.

In a letter from General Lee to President Davis, dated September 14,
1863, the following figures of Bragg's actual and prospective strength
are thus stated:

"If the report sent to me by General Cooper since my return from
Richmond is correct, General Bragg had, on the 20th of August last,
51,101 effective men; General Buckner, 16,118. He was to receive from
General Johnson 9,000. His total force will, therefore, be 76,219, as
large a number as I presume he can operate with. This is independent of
the local troops, which, you may recollect, he reported as exceeding his
expectations."

It will be well to remember, in connection with these official figures,
that Bragg, after the battle, reported Longstreet's force, which was not
included by Lee, at 5,000. This, according to the figures furnished
General Lee, gave Bragg 81,219. According to General Johnson's
correspondence, after he had sent 9,000 to Bragg, he subsequently
dispatched him two small brigades, and these, later, reached him the day
before the battle.

A reference to the losses on each side will show that there has been no
exaggeration in the description of the fighting. Rosecrans's loss was
16,179. This included 4,774 missing, of which a large number were killed
or wounded. Bragg's losses, as compiled and estimated at the War Records
Office, were 17,804. Thus the entire loss for each army was over
twenty-five per cent. of the entire force of each. Hill's corps of the
Confederate right wing lost 2,990 out of a total 8,884. Of the 22,885 in
Longstreet's left wing the loss was 7,856, with one brigade heavily
engaged not reported. Longstreet's loss on Sunday afternoon was
thirty-six per cent, of those engaged.

The casualties in Jackson's brigade of Cleburne's division, which
assaulted on Baird's front, was 35 per cent., while the Fifth Georgia,
of that brigade, lost 55 per cent., and the First Confederate Regulars
43 per cent. Gregg's brigade, of Buckner's corps, lost 652 out of 1,425.
Helm's Kentucky brigade, on the Union left, lost 75 per cent. of its
strength. Bate's brigade lost 7 officers killed and 61 officers wounded,
and the total casualties were 607 out of 1,316. All his field officers
except three were killed or wounded. The losses in Govan's brigade, of
Walker's corps, exceeded 50 per cent. Deas, who fought in front of
Steedman's assault, lost 745 out of 1,942. Walthall, of Walker, lost 705
out of 1,727. On the Union side Steedman in four hours lost 1,787 out of
3,700, and all were killed and wounded but one. Brannan's division had
5,998 engaged. Its casualties were 2,174, or 38 per cent. The loss in
Van Derveer's brigade, of this division, in four regiments and one
battery, was 840 out of 1,788 engaged, or 49 per cent. Croxton's
brigade, of the same division, made up of five regiments, lost 938. Of
Van Derveer's regiments the Ninth Ohio lost 50 per cent.; the
Thirty-fifth Ohio, a small fraction less than 50 per cent.; the Second
Minnesota 192, or exactly 50 per cent., and the Eighty-seventh Indiana
about half of its number. General Wood lost 1,070 in two brigades.

These figures become the more significant when compared with the
statement of losses in the world's noted battles. General Wheeler, the
distinguished Confederate cavalry commander, thus vividly presented this
question at the gathering of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland
and Confederates, at Chattanooga, in 1881:

"Waterloo was one of the most desperate and bloody fields chronicled in
European history and yet Wellington's casualties were less than 12 per
cent., his losses being 2,432 killed and 9,528 wounded out of 90,000
men, while at Shiloh, the first great battle in which General Grant was
engaged, one side lost in killed and wounded 9,740 out of 34,000, while
their opponents reported their killed and wounded at 9,616, making the
casualties about 30 per cent. At the great battle of Wagram Napoleon
lost but about 5 per cent. At Wurzburg the French lost but 3-1/2 per
cent., and yet the army gave up the field and retreated to the Rhine.
At Racour Marshal Saxe lost but 2-1/2 per cent. At Zurich Massena lost
but 8 per cent. At Lagriz Frederick lost but 6-1/2 per cent. At
Malplaquet Marlborough lost but 10 per cent., and at Ramillies the same
intrepid commander lost but 6 per cent. At Contras Henry of Navarre was
reported as cut to pieces, yet his loss was less than 10 per cent. At
Lodi Napoleon lost 1-1/4 per cent. At Valmy Frederick lost but 3 per
cent., and at the great battles of Marengo and Austerlitz, sanguinary as
they were, Napoleon lost an average of less than 14-1/2 per cent. At
Magenta and Solferino, in 1859, the average loss of both armies was less
than 9 per cent. At Konigrattz, in 1866, it was 6 per cent. At Werth,
Specheran, Mars la Tour, Gravelotte, and Sedan, in 1870, the average
loss was 12 percent. At Linden General Moreau lost but 4 per cent., and
the Archduke John lost but 7 per cent. in killed and wounded. Americans
can scarcely call this a lively skirmish.

"At Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Gettysburg, Mission
Ridge, the Wilderness, and Spottsylvania the loss frequently reached and
sometimes exceeded forty per cent., and the average of killed and
wounded on one side or the other was over thirty per cent."

Those who remained at Chickamauga and fought till the night of Sunday
came, when, for many regiments, every other comrade was dead or wounded,
were satisfied with the result, and have always maintained that
Chickamauga was fought for Chattanooga, and have so regarded it as a
great and notable victory. General D. H. Hill in a recent _Century_
article thus sums up the result for the Confederate side: "A breathing
space was allowed him; the panic among his troops subsided, and
Chattanooga--the objective point of the campaign--was held. There was no
more splendid fighting in '61, when the flower of the Southern youth was
in the field, than was displayed in those bloody days of September, '63.
But it seems to me that the elan of the Southern soldier was never seen
after Chickamauga--that brilliant dash which had distinguished him on a
hundred fields was gone forever. He was too intelligent not to know that
the cutting in two of Georgia meant death to all his hopes. He knew that
Longstreet's absence was imperiling Lee's safety, and that what had to
be done must be done quickly. The delay to strike was exasperating to
him; the failure to strike after the success was crushing to all his
longings for an independent South. He fought stoutly to the last, but
after Chickamauga, with the sullenness of despair and without the
enthusiasm of hope. That 'barren victory' sealed the fate of the
Southern Confederacy."

The authorities at Washington, to cover their own shortcomings and
inexcusable neglect, chose to deepen the erroneous impression that the
Army of the Cumberland had been routed and driven back to Chattanooga in
confusion. The removal of General Rosecrans was determined upon. In
fact, it had been only a question of opportunity since the campaign
opened. There was only needed the misrepresentations about Chickamauga
to furnish this.

In the mean time General Rosecrans thoroughly fortified Chattanooga and
was actually engaged in preparations to open the river for supplies,
exactly as it was afterwards done, when he was removed. In fact, his
plan was partially perfected before he crossed the river, as is shown by
the fact that he made written contracts with Northern firms to have
bridges completed by October 1 for the Tennessee at Bridgeport, and the
Running Water at Wauhatchie. He had ordered the thorough reconnoitering
of the river bank opposite the north end of Missionary Ridge--where
Sherman afterward crossed with a view of a flank attack there. It was,
therefore, altogether fitting and proper that the order for his relief
should arrive while he was absent making a personal examination of the
vicinity of Brown's Ferry, where he intended to throw a bridge to unite
with Hooker from Bridgeport and open the river exactly as was afterward
done. He had even notified Harker of the plan three days before and
ordered him to be ready to execute his part of it. General Thomas, at
first, insisted that he would resign rather than appear to acquiesce in
Rosecrans's removal by accepting the command. It was at Rosecrans's
earnest solicitation that he reconsidered this determination. But he did
not hesitate to say that the order was cruelly unjust. When General
Garfield left for Washington soon after the battle he immediately
charged him to do all he could to have Rosecrans righted. These will be
new statements to most, but they are true.

The survivors of the Army of the Cumberland should awake to great pride
in this notable field of Chickamauga. Why should it not, as well as
Eastern fields, be marked by monuments, and its lines accurately
preserved for history? There was no more magnificent fighting during the
war than both armies did there. Both sides might well unite in
preserving the field where both, in a military sense, won such renown.

                                           H. V. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note


Minor punctuation errors have been changed without notice. Printer
errors have been changed and are listed below. All other
inconsistencies are as in the original.

Characters that could not be displayed directly in Latin-1 are
transcribed as follows:

    _ - Italics


Page 5: "Chicamauga" changed to "Chickamauga".

Page 5: "vordict" changed to "verdict".

Page 6: "maneuvred" changed to "maneuvered".

Page 12: "Wilder swan" changed to "Wilder swam".

Page 13: "precipitious" changed to "precipitous".

Page 13: "resit" changed to "resist".

Page 13: "Raccoon Mountains" changed to "Raccoon Mountain".

Page 13: "similar" changed to "similar".

Page 13: "Lookoot" changed to "Lookout".

Page 15: "basis" changed to "bases".

Page 16: "culimnated" changed to "culminated".

Page 16: "through" changed to "though".

Page 16: "Lookout Mountains" changed to "Lookout Mountain".

Page 16: "Pigeon Mountains" changed to "Pigeon Mountain".

Page 17: "fortanate" changed to "fortunate".

Page 17: "Rosecran's" changed to "Rosecrans'".

Page 19: "re enforcing" changed to "re-enforcing".

Page 19: "Chicamauga" changed to "Chickamauga".

Page 20: "Tenessee" changed to "Tennessee".

Page 20: "struggte" changed to "struggle".

Page 20: "Johston" changed to "Johnston".

Page 22: "Chicamauga" changed to "Chickamauga".

Page 22: "Infantry" changed to "infantry".

Page 22: "Braggs's plan" changed to "Bragg's plan".

Page 26: "Telford's" changed to "Tedford's".

Page 26: "reconnoissance" changed to "reconnaissance".

Page 29: "presentoed" changed to "presented".

Page 30: "Layfayette" changed to "Lafayette".

Page 30: "earrying" changed to "carrying".

Page 31: "David was" changed to "Davis was".

Page 32: "Starkweathar" changed to "Starkweather".

Page 34: "Breckrinridge, to" changed to "Breckinridge, to".

Page 35: "Layfayette" changed to "Lafayette".

Page 35: "plainful quiet" changed to "painful quiet".

Page 36: "Breckenridge" changed to "Breckinridge".

Page 37: "Breckenridge" changed to "Breckinridge".

Page 37: "Breckenridge's" changed to "Breckinridge's".

Page 38: "Stoval" changed to "Stovall".

Page 38: "noth" changed to "north".

Page 40: "Brechinridge" changed to "Breckinrdige".

Page 40: "unexpectly" changed to "unexpectedly".

Page 40: "detrimeat" changed to "detriment".

Page 40: "occurred" changed to "occurred".

Page 41: "through a considerable" changed to "though a considerable".

Page 41: "Laibolt's" changed to "Laiboldt's".

Page 41: "Longstreets'" changed to "Longstreet's".

Page 43: "final assanlt" changed to "final assault".

Page 44: "Breckenridge" changed to "Breckinridge".

Page 45: "direet fire" changed to "direct fire".

Page 47: "assauit was made" changed to "assault was made".

Page 50: "begun soon" changed to "began soon".

Page 53: "Navarra" changed to "Navarre".

Page 53: "enthusiam" changed to "enthusiasm".





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