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care to hold Knoxville at all hazards. If besieged there by Longstreet, Grant expected ere long to afford him relief by beating and dispersing Bragg's army, which would compel Longstreet to retreat into Virginia.
Hooker, holding Lookout Valley, faced the enemy on the mountain, and Thomas occupied the central position with his line of works before Chattanooga, with Missionary Ridge in front of him. Sherman was ordered, with his force, to a point on the right bank of the river above the town, with the intention of crossing and seizing the northern extremity of the ridge, which was unfortified. A cavalry force was also directed to proceed to the right and rear of the rebels, so as to cut the railroad between Cleveland and Dalton, and thus sever Longstreet's southern communications with Bragg. In this way, Hooker and Sherman would hold each flank of the enemy, while Thomas would be ready to pierce their centre. The preliminary arrangments were admirably made. Sherman's troops marched from Bridgeport by way of Whitesides, crossed the river at Brown's Ferry, moved up the north bank, keeping concealed from the enemy, and reached a point not far from the mouth of the North Chickamauga. More than a hundred pontoon bridges were carried overland, so as to secure the passage of the river. The site selected for the bridge was just below the South Chickamauga, which offered advantages for posting the artillery. Sherman's force arrived on the 23d of November, consisting of the 15th corps and one division of the 16th, all under the command- of Gen.
Blair; and at two o'clock in the morning of the 24th, 8,000 men were conveyed to the point selected for the bridge. By noon of that day two bridges had been laid, one, 1,400 feet long, over the Tennessee, the other, 200 feet long, over the South Chickamauga, to furnish a route for the cavalry. During the day, the remainder of his command reached the position assigned, and Sherman's men speedily rendered it unassailable by the enemy'. At the same time, a brigade of cavalry, under Col. Long, was sent to cut the railroad, which was effectually accomplished.
All his arrangements having been effected to his satisfaction, and every preparation made for the important battle now at" hand, Grant, on the 23d of November, at half past eleven, ordered a demonstration against Missionary Ridge, to develope the force of the enemy holding it. The troops marched in fine order, as if on parade, and were watched by the rebel pickets from the summits of the ridge, 500 feet above our troops. Their opinion was, that it was a review and drill, so openly, deliberately, and with such precision was the movement made. The line advanced, preceded by skirmishers, and at two o'clock, P.m., having reached our picket lines, opened briskly upon the rebel pickets, who replied, and then ran into their rifle-pits. Our skirmishers followed them into the pits, along the centre of Thomas's line of 25,000 troops, until we opened fire. It was a complete surprise to the rebels, in open daylight. At three P.m., the important advanced position of Orchard Knoll, and the lines right and left, were secured, and arrangements were made for holding them during the night.
BATTLE OF CHATTANOOGA BEGUN.
At daylight, the next morning, November 24th, Thomas had 5,000 men across the Tennessee, and established on its south bank, and commenced the building of a pontoon bridge about six miles above Chattanooga. The steamer Dunbar, formerly owned by the rebels, rendered effective aid in this crossing, carrying over 6,000 men. By nightfall, Thomas had seized the extremity of Missionary Ridge nearest the river, and was busily occupied in entrenching himself. Howard, with a brigade, opened communication with him from Chattanooga on the south side on the river. Skirmishing and cannonading continued all day, on the left and centre.
In carrying out his part of the work, Hooker scaled the slopes of Lookout Mountain, and from the valley of Lookout Creek drove the rebels around the point, captured some 2,000 prisoners, and established himself high up the mountain side, in full view of Chattanooga. This raised the blockade, and now steamers were ordered from Bridgeport to Chattanooga. All night the point of Missionary Ridge on the extreme left, and the side of Lookout Mountain on the-extreme right, blazed with the camp fires of loyal troops. The day had been one of dense mists and rains, and much of Hooker's battle was fought above the clouds, which concealed him from view of the rest of the army, but from which his musketry made itself plainly heard. At nightfall the sky cleared, and the full moon, which has been poetically styled "the traitor's doom," shone upon
the striking and beautiful scene, until one o'clock in the morning, soon after which a brigade sent from Chattanooga crossed the Chattanooga Creek, and opened communications with Hooker. Grant's headquarters during the afternoon of the 23d, and during the 24th of November, were in Wood's redoubt, except when in the course of the day he rode along the advanced line, and visited the headquarters of the several commanders in Chattanooga Vallev.* As the day dawned, November 25th, the stars and stripes were waving on the peak of Lookout Mountain. The rebels had evacuated the mountain. Hooker moved to make a descent, and, striking Missionary Ridge at Rossville Gap, to sweep on both sides and on its summit. The rebel troops, as soon as it was light enough, hurried regiments and brigades along the narrow summit of Missionary Ridge, either concentrating on the right to overwhelm Sherman, or marching for the railroad and raising the siege. They had evacuated the Chattanooga Valley, and it was now a question whether they would abandon that of the Chickamauga. The cannonading was commenced and continued all day, the headquarters being constantly under fire. Howard marched the 11th corps to join Sherman, and Thomas chased the euemy's pickets into their entrenchments at the foot of Missionary Ridge. Sherman made an assault against Bragg' s right, entrenched on a high knoll nest
* See Gen. Meigs's dispatch to the secretary of war, under dato of November 26th, 1863. For a spirited narrative of this important battle and its results, in which his hero looms up grandly, see Coppee's " Grant and hit Campaign*," pp. 224-239.
to that on which Sherman himself lay fortified. The assault was gallantly made, and as gallantly and persistently carried forward; no better service was done that day than that by Sherman, in stemming the furious attacks of rebel masses which Bragg had sent to crash him, and in his judicious counter attacks.
A general advance was ordered at half past three P.m., and the storming of the ridge began with a strong line of skirmishers, followed by a deployed line of battle, some two miles in length. At a given signal the line moved rapidly and orderly forward. Our men charged the rifle pits at the foot of the ridge. The taking of these was all they had been ordered to do; but when the rebels, in large numbers, swarmed out of the rifle pits and fled before them, our brave soldiers were seized with an irresistible impulse to mount the very heights, despite the storm of shot and shell which rained down upon them from above. Onward they dashed, and officers and men, in a perfect furor of excitement, forced their way up the steep sides and broken and crumbling face of the ridge. The attempt seemed wonderfully rash and perilous, for there were not less than forty pieces of artillery on the heights, and thousands of muskets, ready to strike down the bold assailants. Nevertheless, with cheers answering to cheers, our men rushed forward and upward. Color after color was planted on the summit, while musket and cannon vomited their thunder upon them. A fierce musketry fire broke out on the left, where, between Thomas and Sherman, a mile or two of
the ridge was still occupied by the rebels. Bragg left the house in which he had had his headquarters, and rode to the rear as our troops crowded the hill on either side of him. Grant proceeded to .the summit, and then first learned its wonderful height. Some of the captured artillery was put into position. Artillerists were sent for to work the guns. The rebel log breastworks were torn to pieces, carried to the other side of the ridge, and used in forming barricades across, and a secure lodgment was soon effected. The other assault to the right of our centre gained the summit, and the rebels threw down their arms and fled.* Hooker coming in favorable position swept the right of the ridge and captured many prisoners. By sunset the ridge was taken, and the day was ours. Chickamauga was avenged.
Nightfall put an end to the fighting, and prevented a general pursuit of the flying enemy. Bragg's remaining troops left early in the night, and his forces moved rapidly on the road to Ringgold and thence to Dalton, firing and de
* Pollard, speaking of this matter, says: "A disgraceful panic ensued. The whole left wing of the Confeder ates became involved, gave way, and scattered in unmitigated rout. The day was lost, and shamefully lost." He also quotes Jeff. Davis's words, thus :—" After a long and severe battle, in which great carnage was inflicted on the enemy, some of oar troops inexplicably abandoned positions of great strength, and, by a disorderly retreat, compelled the commander to withdraw the forces elsewhere successful, and finally to retire with his whole army to a position some twenty or thirty miles to the rear. It is believed, that if the troops who yielded to the assault had fought with the valor which they had displayed on previous occasions, and which was manifested in this battle on the other parts of the line, the enemy would have been repulsed with very great slaughter, and our country would have escaped the misfortune, and the army the mortification of the first defeat that has resulted from misconduot by the troops."—" Third Year of the War," p. 158.
stroying the railroad in their flight. Sherman, the next morning, set out in pursuit by way of Chickamauga Station on the Dalton Railroad, while Hooker moved toward Ringgold. At this place, the rebels under Cleburne made a fierce resistance; but though our men suffered severely, it was of no advantage to the enemy. Had it not been for the necessity of caring for Burnside and Knoxville, Grant would have followed Bragg and probably destroyed his army entirely.
Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing was reported to be about 5,600. Six thousand prisoners were captured, and a large number of the wounded was left in our hands. Forty pieces of artillery, about 7,000 small arms, and a large train, were also taken from the rebels. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded was over 2,500, beside more than 6,000 missing.
Grant's dispatches during the battle are marked by brevity and point; the concluding one, on the evening of November 25th, is worth quoting here: "Although the battle ]asted from early dawn till dark this evening, I believe I am not premature in announcing a complete victory over Bragg. Lookout Mountain-top, all the rifle-pits in Chattanooga Valley, and Missionary Ridge entire, have been carried, and are now held by us. I have no idea of finding Bragg here tomorrow." It was even so; Bragg decamped with all speed, and the Chattanooga campaign ended in rescuing Kentucky and Tennessee from the rebels, and in affording the means of immediately relieving Burnside, at
Knoxville, from the danger to which he was exposed.* "The way was now thrown open to Atlanta," as Col. Badeau remarks, "and all the rich country in its rear; the very heart of the rebellion was laid bare; the great bui wark of the would-be Confederacy was broken down, was become, instead, a sally-port for the national armies; the rebel hosts, that had stood in the way, were thrust aside, and Chattanooga, thenceforth, was as terrible a menace to rebellion as in times past it had been defiant to loyalty."
Burnside (see p. 347) was busily occupied, meanwhile, in securing, to the fullest extent in his power, the defence of East Tennessee. He held firmly the railroad and the line through Cumberland Gap, and he protected the left flank of Rosecrans and foiled the rebels in that quarter. Grant having assumed charge of the new department, including Tennessee, Burnside was continued in his command, and urged to exert all his ability and energy toward securing a decisive victory over the enemy. Bragg, as has been noted (p. 358), detached Longstreet, at the he ginning of November, to march against Burnside and drive him out of Knoxville. Some unimportant engagements occurred, and our forces suffered severely at Philadelphia and Rogersville; but the campaign did not open till
* "Considering the strength of the rebel position," says Halleck, "and the difficulty of storming his entrenchments, the battle of Chattanooga must be considered the most remarkable in history. Not only did the officers and men exhibit great skill and daring in their operations on the field, but the highest praise is due to the commanding general for his admirable disposition for dislodging the enemy from a position apparently impregnable."
about the middle of November. Longstreet, with a force of 20,000 men, advanced by way of Loudon and Lenoir, and crossed the Tennessee, on the 14th of November, near the former place. The advance of Longstreet's force was met with great courage and determination by our men, and was driven back two miles to the river. Following the directions of Grant, Burnside deemed it best to retire to Lenoir, and thence to Campbell's Station, twelve miles from Knoxville, a point of considerable importance to make a stand at, in order to secure the passage of the trains and provide for the defence of Knoxville. The battle at Campbell's Station illustrated the best qualities of our officers and men, and though they were assaulted with great fury by the rebels, they succeeded in inflicting a damaging blow upon Longstreet's force. During the night of the 16th of November, Burnside drew off to Knoxville, and the next day placed his troops in position in front of the city, and prepared for the siege which was to follow. On the 18th, the rebels made a fierce attack, intending to push back our cavalry and enter the town as victors; but they were completely repulsed, after an obstinate struggle, and fairly forced away from our lines. The loss, on our part, was severe, particularly in the death of the gallant Gen. Sanders, who, as Burnside said, "left, both as a man and a soldier, an untarnished name."
Knoxville was now closely besieged by Longstreet, and preparations were made to carry the works by regular approaches. The investment extended
about half the circuit of the town, upon the northern, western, and southern side. Communication with Cum berland Gap was cut, on the night of the 16th of November, by the enemy's cavalry, and by the night of the 18th, the siege was well established. On Burnside's part, every care was taken to strengthen the fortifications, so as to resist any assault which might be made. Grant's dispatches to Burnside urged anew the necessity of his maintaining his position, and promised succor at the earliest possible moment.
Longstreet and his men seemed to be of opinion that, in a brief space of time, they could starve out Burnside and compel a surrender; but although his communications had been cut, and supplies were growing less and less, still the brave commander in Knoxville held firmly to his post. In consequence of Grant's brilliant success at Chattanooga, Longstreet's position became critical, and as he disliked exceedingly to give up and leave Knoxville in our hands, he resolved to make a final effort to carry the works by assault. Early on the morning of the 29th of November, the assaulting column, composed of three brigades, made their appearance. They approached to within 100 yards of the fort unharmed. Then commenced a series of desperate and daring attacks, stubborn resistance, death, and carnage. Hour after hour was it kept up, this deadly struggle, and the ditch was piled with the dead and the dying. More than a thousand ig63 killed, wounded and prisoners, was the cost of the assault of Fort Sanders. Nobly did it sustain the