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vance in force on their left at Shelbyville, while the mass of his army seized Hoover's, Liberty, and other Gaps, by hard fighting. They then moved on Manchester, and having thus turned the right of the enemy's defence of Duck River, directly threatened Bragg, who was forced to fall back to Tullahoma, hotly pursued by Granger, after he had brilliantly carried Shelbyville. Dispositions were immediately made to turn Tullahoma, and fall upon the rebel rear; but Bragg abandoned his entrenched camp, and rapidly fell back toward Bridgeport, Ala., pursued as far as practicable by our forces. "Thus ended," to use Rosecrans's words, " a nine days' campaign, which drove the enemy from two fortified positions, and gave us possession of Middle Tennessee, conducted in one of the most extraordinary rains I ever known in Tennessee, at that period of the year, over a soil that almost becomes a quicksand. Our operations were retarded thirty-six hours, at Hoover's Gap, and sixty hours at and in front of Winchester, which alone prevented us from getting possession of his communications and forcing the enemy to a very disastrous battle. These results were far more successful than was anticipated, and could only have been attained by a surprise as to the direction and force of our movements." The losses, in all, were 560; 1,634 prisoners were taken, together with six pieces of artillery, abundance of stores, etc.
The next step in following up the enemy to their important position at Chattanooga, which was now fortified, and the approaches to which offered the best opportunities of defence, was
undertaken during the month of August. The difficulties in the way of pursuing the rebels were unusually great. The Union army was now in position from McMinnville to Winchester, with advances at Pelham and Stevenson; and in order to reach Chattanooga from above, it had to cross the Cumberland Mountains to the upper waters of the Tennessee River, while the river, in its tortuous course, and a continuation of the mountam passes, were interposed below.*
On the 16th of August, Rosecrans, having put the railroad to Stevenson in condition to procure supplies, commenced his advance across the Cumberland Mountains, Chattanooga and its covering ridges on the south-east, being what is termed, in military language, his objective point. In order to command and avail himself of the most important passes, the front of his movement extended from the head of Sequatchie Valley, in Tennessee, to Athens, Alabama, and thus threatened the line of the Tennessee River from Whitsburg to Blythe's Feny, a distance of over 150 miles. The banks of the Tennessee were reached on the 20th of August, and the next day Chattanooga was shelled to some extent. Pontoon, boat, raft and trestle bridges were rapidly prepared at Caperton's Feny, Bridgeport, the mouth of Battle Creek and Shell Mound; and, excepting the cavalry, the army made its way across the Tennessee in the very face of the rebels. Thomas, by the 8 th
* Boaecrans, in Mb report of the battle of Chickamauga, gives a carefully-prepared outline of the topography of this region. It is well worth the reader's attention and consultation.
of September, had moved on Trenton, seizing Frick's and Stevens's Gaps on the Lookout Mountain; McCook had advanced to Valley Head, and taken Winston's Gap; while Crittenden had crossed to Wauhatchie, was in communication on the right with Thomas, and threatened Chattanooga by the pass over the point of Lookout Mountain.
Having thus passed successfully the first mountain barrier south of the Tennessee, Rosecrans decided to use his right in threatening the rebel communications, while, with his centre and left, he should seize the gaps and commanding points of the mountains in front. On the 9th of September, Crittenden made a reconnaissance, and developed the import fact that the rebel force in Chattanooga had evacuated that place on the day and night previous. While Crittenden's corps quietly took possession of Chattanooga, which was, as we have said, the objective point of the campaign, Rosecrans, with the remainder of his army, pressed forward through the difficult passes of the Lookout and Missionary Mountains, apparently directing his march upon Lafayette and Rome.*
* '' A splendid opportunity was now presented to Bragg. The detached force in McLemore's Cove was Thomas's corps. Being immediately opposite Lafayette, at and near which Gen. Bragg had all his forces concentrated, it was completely at the mercy of the latter. It was only necessary that Gen. Bragg should fall upon it with such a mass as would have crushed it; then turned down Chattanooga Valley, thrown himself in between the town and Crittenden, and crushed him; then passed back between Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee River into Wills's Valley, and cut off McCook's retreat to Bridgeport; thence moved along the Cumberland range into the rear of Burnside, and disposed of him." This, apparently so easy of accomplishment, was not attempted, and owing to the delay of the rebels, Rosecrans was able to escape the risk which was run under the supposition that the rebels
From various reports of spies and deserters, and from the fact that Chattanooga was given up without a struggle, it was supposed that Lee was re-' ceiving reinforcements from Bragg; and the authorities at Washington were' seized with an apprehension that Rosecrans might be drawn too far into the mountains of Georgia, where he could not be furnished with supplies, and where also he might be attacked before I Burnside could bring him any help.
In reply to Halleck's dispatch, cautioning him on this subject, Rosecrans, | on the 12th of September, telegraphed to Washington that, although he was sufficiently strong for the enemy then on his front, there were indications that the rebels intended to turn his flanks and cut off his communications. He, therefore, decided that Burnside should move down his infantry toward Chattanooga, on his left, and that Grant j should cover the Tennessee River toward Whitsburg, to prevent any raid into Nashville. Rosecrans was of opi- j j nion that no troops had been sent from Bragg's army, but that Bragg was being reinforced by Loring from Mississippi. Burnside, as we have noted (see p. 347), was directed to hurry forward his infantry, as rapidly as possible, toward Chattanooga. Hurlbut at Memphis, j and Sherman at Vicksburg, were order- | ed to send all the available forces at those points to Corinth and Tuscumbia, to operate against Bragg, and to preveut | his turning the right flank of Kosecrans's army and recrossing the river into Tennessee. Schofield in Missouri,
were retreating.—See Pollard's "Third Year of (ht War," p. 114
and Pope in the North-west department, were directed to send forward to the Tennessee line every available man in their departments; and the commanding officers also in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, were ordered to make every possible exertion to secure Rosecrans's lines of communication. Meade, too, was urged to attack Lee, while his army was in its present reduced condition, or at least prevent him from sending off further detachments. It was deemed unadvisable to send any more troops into East Tennessee or Georgia, on account of the impossibility of supplying them in a country which the enemy had nearly exhausted. Burnside's army was on short rations, and that of the Cumberland very inadequately supplied; and in the case of Rosecrans, while he had a large number of animals in his depots, the horses for the artillery, cavalry and trains were dying off for want of forage.*
On the 14th of September, the army of Rosecrans was occupying the passes of Lookout Mountain, with the enemy 1S63 concentrating his forces near Lafayette to dispute his further advance. Bragg's threatened movements, to the right and left, were merely cavalry raids to cut the line of Rosecrans's supplies, and threaten his communications with Burnside. Bragg's main army was only awaiting the arrival of Longstreet's corps, to give bat
* Halleck, in this connection, says, that hearing nothing from Grant or from Sherman's corps at Vicksbnrg, it was determined, on the 23d of September, to detach the 11th and 12th corps from the Army of the Potomac, and send them by rail, under the command of Hooker, to protect Rosecrans's line of communication from Bridgeport to Nashville. VOL. IV.-45.
tie in the mountains of Georgia, It had been reinforced by troops from Johnson in Mississippi, and by the prisoners released on parole at Vicksburg and Port Hudson and declared by the rebel authorities to have been exchanged,*—a course of conduct, by the way, which Gen. Halleck vigorously denounced. The line of Rosecrans extended, at this time, from Gordon's Mills to Alpines, a distance of some forty miles. By the 17th of September, his troops were brought within supporting distance, and the next day a concentration was begun towards Crawfish Spring. On the morning of the 18th, Thomas's troops pressed on toward Gordon's Mills, and McCook moved up directly in his rear. During the forenoon, Granger made a reconnaissance across the Chickamauga, at Reid's Bridge; Cols. Minty and Wilder were sent, the former to watch Ringgold road crossing, and the latter to resist any advance from Napier Gap; and although heavy cannonading ensued, they held their ground until a body of the enemy approaching their rear, they were compelled to retire. During the night, McCook's force, although greatly fatigued, moved northward to Pond Spring, seventeen miles south of Chattanooga. Crittenden, who
* Bragg, on the 17th of September, from his headquarters in the field, at Lafayette, Georgia, issued an order in very urgent terms, endeavoring to rouse the spirit of his troops. "Having accomplished," be said, "our object in driving back the enemy's flank movement, let us now turn on his main force, and crush it in its fancied security. Your general will lead yon. You have but to respond to assure us of a glorious triumph over an insolent foe. I know what your response will be. Trusting in God and the justice of our cause, and nerved by the love of dear ones at home, failure is impossible, and victory must be ours."
PREPARATIONS FOR THE BATTLE.
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was ahead of Thomas, had placed Van Cleve's division on the left of Wood, at Gordon's Mills, and Palmer on his right; Thomas, in consequence, pushed still further to the left. Johnson's two brigades were given to Thomas and posted on Van Cleve's left, while Negley, who was already in position at Owen's Gap, a little way south of Crawfish Spring, thirteen miles from Chattanooga, was ordered to remain there, temporarily attached to McCook's corps. The whole of Rosecrans's force was now on the west side of the Chickamauga, within easy supporting distance.
Bragg, moving his army "by divisions, crossed the Chickamauga at several fords and bridges north of Gordon's Mills, near to which he endeavored to concentrate before giving battle. This was on the morning "of Saturday, the 19th of September, McCook's corps forming the right of our line of battle, Crittenden's the centre, and Thomas's the left. The battle was begun about ten o'clock, when the left wing of Rosecrans was attacked by heavy masses, and vigorous efforts were made to turn our left, so as to occupy the road to Chattanooga. But in this the rebels failed entirely of success. The centre was next assailed, and temporarily driven back, but, being promptly reinforced, maintained its ground. As night approached, the battle ceased, and the combatants rested on their arms. The attack was furiously renewed, on the morning of the 20th, against our left centre. Division after division was pushed forward to resist the attacking masses of the
enemy, when, by an unfortunate mistake a gap was opened in the line of battle, of which the enemy took instant advantage, and striking Davis in the flank and rear threw his whole division into confusion. Pouring in through this break in our line the enemy cut off our right and right centre, and attacked Sheridan's divi- | sion, which was advancing to support!: our left. After a gallant but fruitless j effort against the rebel torrent, he was compelled to give way, but afterward rallied a considerable portion of his force, and by a circuitous route joined Thomas, who now had to sustain the whole force of the attack. Our right and part of the centre had been com- | pletely broken, and fled in confusion , from the field, carrying with them to Chattanooga their commanders, McCook and Crittenden, and also Rosecrans, who was on that part of the line. Thomas, however, still remained immovable in his position. About 3.30 P.m., the enemy discovered a gap in the hills in the rear of his right flank, and Longstreet commenced pouring his massive column through the opening. Granger, who had been posted with his reserves to cover our left and rear, arrived upon the field at this critical moment. Thomas pointed out to him the gap through which the enemy was debouching, when quick as thought he threw upon it Steadman's brigade of cavalry, and broke the enemy. We held the gap, but the rebels again and , again tried to retake it. About l868. sunset, they made their last charge, when our men, being out of ammunition, moved on them with the
bayonet, and they gave way to return no more. In the meantime the enemy made repeated attempts to carry Thomas's position on the left and front, but were as often driven back, with great loss. During the night, Thomas fell back to Rossville, leaving the dead and most of the wounded in the hands of the enemy ;* and, on the night of the 21st, he withdrew the remainder of the army within the defences of Chattanooga. The rebel loss was estimated at about 18,000; our loss, in all, was something over 16,000. There were about 2,000 prisoners captnred.f
Having retreated to Chattanooga, as above related, Rosecrans withdrew his forces from the passes of Lookout Mountain, which covered his line of supplies from Bridgeport. These were immediately occupied by the troops of Bragg, who also sent a cavalry force across the
* Secession critics are very energetic in denouncing Bragg's inactivity and neglect in pursuing our army in its retreat. According to them, it would have been an easy thing to have crushed utterly the Union forces, if Bragg, in consequence of the darkness and the density of the forests, had not refused to move, contenting himself with gathering up the fruits of victory on the battle field.
f Pollard asserts that the rebels took over 8,000 prisoners, and that the Union loss was many thousands greater than that of the rebels. "Chickamauga," he says, " conferred a briliant glory upon our arms, but little else. Rosecrans still held the prize of Chattanooga, and with it the possession of East Tennessee. Two thirds of our nitre beds were in that region, and a large proportion of the coal which supplied our foundries. It abounded in the necessaries of life. It was one of the strongest countries in the world, so full of lofty mountains that it had been called, not unaptly, the Switzerland of America. As the possession of Switzerland opened the door to the invasion of Italy, Germany and Franco, so the possession of East Tennessee gave easy access to Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama."—" Third Tear of the War,"
Tennessee above Chattanooga, which destroyed a large wagon train in the Sequatchie Valley, and captured McMinnville and other points on the railroad. By this means the rebels almost entirely cut off Rosecrans's army from its supplies. Fortunately, however, the line of railroad was well defended, and the enemy's- cavalry, being vigorously attacked by Col. McCook at Anderson's Cross Roads, on the 2d of October, by Mitchel at Shelbyville on the 6th, and by Crook at Farmington on the 8th of October, were put to rout and mostly captured.
In the judgment of Rosecrans, "the battle of Chickamauga was absolutely necessary to secure our concentration and cover Chattanooga. It was fought in a country covered with woods and undergrowth, and wholly unknown to us. Every division came into action opportunely, and fought squarely, on the 19th. We were largely outnumbered, yet we foiled the enemy's flank movement on our left, and secured our position on the road to Chattanooga."*
It being deemed inexpedient to have separate commands or armies operating in the same field, the authorities at Washington determined to place the entire force in this region under a single commander, so as to secure both unity of design and a more perfect cooperation than had heretofore been practicable Gen. Grant was, almost of course, immediately fixed upo» for this
* The defeat of Rosecrans was looked upon as disastrous, and its results as very alarming; he was, too, considered to be obstinate and impracticable.—See Col. Badeau's " Military Ilitlory of Ulyms 8. Grant," vol. L pp. 421-424.
THE BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA.