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twenty-third of October, and found that General Thomas had, immediately on being placed in command of the Department of the Cumberland, ordered the concentration of Major-General Hooker's command at Bridgeport, preparatory to securing the river and main wagon-road between that place and Brown's Ferry, immediately below Lookout Mountain. The next morning after my arrival at Chattanooga, in company with Thomas and Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, Chief Engineer, I made a reconnoissance of Brown's Ferry, and the bills on the south side of the river and at the mouth of Lookout Valley. After the reconnoissance, the plan agreed upon was for Hooker to cross at Bridgeport to the south side of the river with all the force that could be spared from the railroad, and move on the main wagon-road, by way of Whitesides to Wauhatchie, in Lookout Valley. Major-General J. M. Pulmer was to proceed by the only practicable route north of the river from his position opposite Chattanooga to a point on the north bank of the Ten. nessee river and opposite Whitesides, then to cross to the south side, to hold the road passed over by Hooker. In the meantime, and before the enemy could be apprised of our intention, a force under the direction of Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, Chief Engineer, was to be thrown across the river at or near Brown's Ferry, to seize the range of hills at the mouth of Lookout Valley, covering the Brown's i'erry road, and orders were given accordingly.
“It was known that the enemy held the north end of Lookout Valley with a brigade of troops, and the road leading around the foot of the mountain from their main camps in Chattanooga Valley to Lookout Valley. Holding these advantages, he would have had but little difficulty in concentrating a sufficient force to have defeated or driven Hooker back. To remedy this, the seizure of the range of hills at the mouth of Lookout Valley, and covering the Brown's Ferry road, was deemed of the highest importance. This, by the use of pontoon bridges at Chattanooga and Brown's Ferry, would secure to us, by the north bank of the river, across Moccasin Point, a shorter line by which to reinforce our troops in Lookout Valley than the narrow and tortuous road around the foot of Lookout Mountain afforded the enemy for reinforcing his.
“The force detailed for the expedition consisted of four thousand men, under command of General Smith, Chief Engineer ; eighteen hundred of which, under Brigadier-General W. B. Hazen, in si pontoon boats, containing thirty armed men each, floated quietly from Chattanooga, past the enemy's pickets, to the foot of Lookout Mountain, on the night of the twentyseventh of October, landed on the south side of the river at Brown's Ferry, surprised the enemy's pickets stationed there, and seized the hills covering the ferry, without the loss of a man killed, and but four or five wounded. The remainder of the
force, together with the materials for a bridge, was moved by the north bank of the river across Moccasin Point to Brown's Ferry, without attracting the attention of the enemy, and before day dawned the whole force was ferried to the sonth bank of the river, and the almost inaccessible heights rising from Lookout Valley at its outlet to the river and below the mouth of Lookout creck, were secured. By ten o'clock A.M., an excellent pontoon bridge was laid across the river at Brown's Ferry, tbus securing to us the end of the desired road nearest the enemy's forces, and a shorter line over which to pass troops if a battle became inevitable. Positions were taken up by our troops from which they could not have been driven except by vastly superior forces, and then only with great loss to the enemy. Our artillery was placed in such position as to completely command the roads leading from the enemy's main camps in Chattanooga Valley to Lookout Valley.
“On the twenty-eighth Hooker emerged into Lookout Val. ley at Waubatchie, by the direct road from Bridgeport, by way of Whitesides to Chattanooga, with the Eleventh Army Corps, under Major-General Howard, and Geary's division of the Twelfth army corps, and proceeded to take up positions for the defence of the road from Whitesides, over which he bad marched, and also the road leading from Brown's Ferry to Kelly's Ferry, throwing the left of Howard's corps forward to Brown's Ferry. The division that started, under command of Palmer, for Whitesides, reached its destination, and took up the position intended in the original plan of this movement. These movements, so successfully executed, secured to us two comparatively good lines by which to obtain supplies from the terminus of the rail. road at Bridgeport, namely: The main wagon-road, by way of Whitesides, Waubatchie, and Brown's Ferry, distant but twenty-eight miles, and the Kelly's Ferry and Brown's Ferry roads, which, by the use of the river from Bridgeport to Kelly's Ferry, reduced the distance for wagoning to but eight miles.
“Úp to this period our forces at Chattanooga were practically invested, the enemy's lines extending from the Tennessee river above Chattanooga to the river at and below the point of Lookout Mountain below Chattanooga, with the south bank of the river picketed to near Bridgeport, his main force being forti. fied in Chattanooga Valley, at the foot of and on Mission Ridge and Lookout Mountain, and a brigade in Lookout Valley. True, we held possession of the country north of the river, but it was from sixty to seventy miles over the most impracticable roads to carry supplies. The artillery-horses and mules bad become so reduced by starvation that they could not have been relied on for moving any thing. An attempt at retreat must have been with men alone, and with only such supplies as they could carry. A retreat would have been almost certain annibilation, for the enemy, occupying positions within gunshot of and overlooking
our very fortifications, would unquestionably have pursued our retreating forces. Already more than ten thousand animals had perished in supplying half rations to the troops by the long and tedious route from Stevenson and Bridgeport to Chattanooga, over Waldron's Ridge. They could not bave been supplied another week.
“ 'The enemy was evidently fully apprised of our condition in Chattanooga, and of the necessity of our establishing a new and shorter line by which to obtain supplies, if we would maintain our position; and so fully was he impressed with the importance of keeping from us these lines-lost to him by surprise, and in a manner be little dreamed of-that, in order to regain possession of them, a night attack was made by a portion of Longstreet's forces on a portion of Hooker's troops (Geary's division of the Twelfth corps), the first night after Hooker's arrival in the valley. This attack failed, however, and Howard's corps, which was moving to the assistance of Geary, finding that it was not required by him, carried the remaining heights held by the enemy west of Lookout creek. This gave us quiet possession of the lines of communication heretofore described, south of the Tennessee river. Of these operations I cannot speak more particularly, the sub-reports having been sent to Washington without passing through my hands.
" By the use of two steamboats, one of which had been left at Chattanooga by the enemy, and fell into our hands, and one that had been built by us at Bridgeport and Kelly's Ferry, we were enabled to obtain supplies with but eight miles of wagoning. The capacity of the railroad and steamboats was not sufficient, however, to supply all the wants of the army, but actual suffering was prevented.
“Ascertaining from scouts and deserters that Bragg was detaching Longstreet from the front, and moving him in the direction of Knoxville, Tennessee, evidently to attack Burnside, and, feeling strongly the necessity of some move that would compel him to retain all his forces and recall those he had detached, directions were given for a movement against Mission Ridge, with a view to carrying it and threatening the enemy's communication with Longstreet, of which I informed Burnside by telegraph on the seventh of November. After a thorough reconnoissance of the ground, however, it was deemed utterly impracticable to make the move until Sherman could get up, because of the inadequacy of our force and the condition of the animals then at Chattanooga ; and I was forced to leave Burnside, for the present, to contend against superior forces of the enemy until the arrival of Sherman, with his men and means of transportation. In the meantime, reconnoissances 'were made and plans matured for operations. Despatches were sent to Sherman informing him of the movement of Longstreet, and the necessity of his immediate presence at Obattanooga.
“On the 14th of November, 1863, I telegraphed to Burnside as follows:
• Your despatch and Dana's just received. Being there you can tell better how to resist Longstreet's attack thun I can direct. With your showing, you had better give up Kingston at the last moment and save the most productive part of your possessions. Every arrangement is now made to throw Sherman's force across the river, just at and below the mouth of Chickamauga Creek. As soon as it arrives, Thomas will attack on his left at the same time, and together it is expected to carry Mission "Ridge, and from there push a force on to the railroad, between Cleveland and Dalton. Hooker will at the same time attack, and, if he can, carry Lookout Mountain. The enemy now seems to be looking for an attack on his left flank. This favors us. To further confirm this, Sherman's advance division will march direct from Whitesides to Trenton. The remainder of his force will pass over a new road just made from Whitesides to Kelly's Ferry, this being concealed from the enemy, and leave him to suppose the whole force is going up Lookout Valley. Sherman's advance has only just reached Bridgeport. The rear will only reach there on the 16th. This will bring it to the 19th as the earliest day for making the combined movement as desired. Inform me if you think you can sustain yourself until that time. I can hardly conceive of the enemy breaking through at Kingston, and pushing for Kentucky. If they should, however, a new problem would be left for solution. Thomas has ordered a division of cavalry to the vicinity of Sparta. I will ascertain if they have started, and inform you. It will be entirely out of the question to send you ten thousand men; not because they cannot be spared, but how could they be fed after they got one day east of ere
“U.S. Grant, Major-General. “To Major-General A. E. BURNSIDE.'
“On the 15th, having received from the General-in-chief a despatch of date the 14th, in reference to Burnside's position, the danger of his abandonment of East Tennessee unless immediate relief was afforded, and the terrible misfortune such a result would be to our arms, and also despatches from Mr. C. A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, and Colonel Wilson, of my staff, sent at the instance of General Burnside, informing me more fully of the condition of affairs as detailed to them by him, I telegraphed him as follows:
*ChatTANOOGA, November 15th, 1863. “I do not know how to impress on you the necessity of holding on to East Tennessee, in strong enough terms. According to the despatches of Mr. Dana and Colonel Wilson, it would seem that you should, if pressed to do it, hold on to Knoxville and that portion of the valley you will necessarily possess, hold. ing to that point. Should Longstreet move his whole force