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across the Little Tennessee, an effort should be made to cut his pontoons on that stream, even if it sacrificed half the cavalry of the Ohio Army. By holding on and placing Longstreet between the Little Tennessee and Knoxville, he should not be allowed to escape with an army capable of doing any thing this winter. I can hardly conceive the necessity of retreating from East Tennessee. · If I did at all, it would be after losing most of the army, and then the necessity would suggest the route. I will not attempt to lay out a line of retreat. Kingston, looking at the map, I thought of more importance than any one point in East Tennessee. But my attention being called more closely to it, I can see that it might be passed by, and Knoxville and the rich valley about it possessed, ignoring that place entirely. I should not think it advisable to concentrate a force near Little Tennessee to resist the crossing if it would be in danger of capture, but I wonld harass and embarrass progress in every way possible, reflecting on the fact that the Army of the Obio is not the only army to resist the onward progress of the enemy.
“U. S. Grant, Major-General. • To Major-General A. E. BURNSIDE.'
“ Previous reconnoissances, made first by Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, Chief Engineer, and afterward by Generals Thomas, Sherman, and myself in company with him, of the country opposite Chattanooga and north of the Tennessee River, extending as far east as the mouth of the South Chickamauga and the north end of Mission Ridge, so far as the same could be made from the north bank of the river without exciting suspicions on the part of the enemy, showed good roads from Brown's Ferry up the river and back of the first range of bills opposite Chattanooga, and out of view of the enemy's positions. Troops crossing the bridge at Brown's Ferry could be seen and their numbers estimated by the enemy; but not seeing any thing further of them as they passed up in rear of these hills, he would necessarily be at a loss to know whether they were moving tu Knoxville or held on the north side of the river for future operations at Chattanooga. It also showed that the north end of Mission Ridge was imperfectly guarded, and that the banks of the river, from the mouth of South Chickamauga Creek westward to his main line in front of Chattanooga, were watched only by a small cavalry picket. This determined the plan of operations indicated in my despatch of the 14th to Burnside.
Upon further consideration-the great object being to mass all the forces possible against one given point, namely, Mission Ridge, converging toward the north end of it-it was deemed best to change the original plan, so far as it contemplated Hooker's attack on Lookout Mountain, which would give us Howard's corps of his command to aid in this purpose ; and on the 18th the following instructions were given Thomas : “All preparations should be made for attacking the enemy's position
on Mission Ridge hy Saturday at daylight. Not being provided with a map giving names of roads, spurs of the mountain, and other places, such definite instructions can not be given as might be desirable. However-the general plan, you understand, is for Sherman, with the force brought with him strengthened by a division from your command, to effect a crossing of the Tennessee river just below the mouth of Chickamauga--bis crossing to be protected by artillery from the heights on the north bank of the river (to be located by your Chief of Artillery), and to secure the heights from the northern extremity to about the railroad tunnel, before the enemy can concentrate against him. You will co-operate with Sherman. The troops in Chattanooga Valley should be well concentrated on your left flank, leaving only the necessary force to defend the fortifications on the right and centre, and a movable column of one division in readiness to move wherever ordered. This division should show itself as threateningly as possible on the most practicable line for making an attack up the valley. Your effort then will be to form a junction with Sherman, making your advance well toward the northern end of Mission Ridge, and moving as near simultaneously with him as possible. The junction once formed, and the Ridge carried, communications will be at once established between the two armies, by roads on the south bank of the river. Further movenients wiil then depend on those of the enemy. Lookout Valley, I think, will be easily held by Geary's division and what troops you may still have then belonging to the old Army of the Cumberland. Howard's corps can then be beld in readiness to act either with you at Chattanooga or with Sher
It should be marched on Friday night to a position on the north side of the river, not lower down than the first pontoon bridge, and then held in readiness for such orders as may become necessary. All these troops will be provided with two days' cooked ratious in haversacks, and one hundred rounds of ammunition on the person of each infantry soldier. Special care should be taken by all officers to see that ammunition is not wasted or unnecessarily fired away. You will call on the Engineer Department for such preparations as you may deem necessary for carrying your infantry and ariillery over the creek,
"• U. $. Grant, Major-General. “• To Major-General GEORGE H. Thomas.'
“ A copy of these instructions was furnished Sherman, with the following communication :
" " Inclosed herewith I send you a copy of instructions to MajorGeneral Thomas. You having been over the ground, in person, and having heard the whole matter discussed, further instructions will not be necessary for you. It is particularly desirable that a force should be got through to the railroad, between Cleveland and Dalton, and Longstreet thus cut off from communication with the South; but being confronted by a large
force here, strongly located, it is not easy to tell how this is to be effected, until the result of our first effort is kuown. I will add, however, what is not shown in my instructions to Thomas, that a brigade of cavalry has been ordered here, which, if it arrives in time, will be thrown across the Tennessee, above Chickamauga, and may be able to make the trip to Cleveland, or thereabouts.
“U.S. Grant, Major-General. “.To Major-General W. T. SHERMAN.'
“Sherman's forces were moved from Bridgeport by way of Whitesides—one division threatening the enemy's left flank, in the direction of Trenton-crossing at Brown's Ferry, up the north bank of the Tennessee to wear the mouth of South Chickamanga, where they were kept concealed from the enemy until they were ready to force a crossing. Pontoons, for throwing a bridge across the river, were built and placed in North Chickainauga, near its inouth, a few miles further up, without attracting the attention of the enemy. It was expected we would be able to effect the crossing on the 21st of November; but, owing to beavy rains, Sherman was unable to get up until the afternoon of the 23d, and then only with General Morgan L. Smith's, John E. Smitli's and Hugh Ewing's divisions, of the 15th Corps, under command of Major-General Frank P. Blair, of his army. The pontoon bridge, at Brown's Ferry, having been broken by the drift consequent upon the rise in the river and rafts sent down by the enemy, the other division-Osterhaus'—was detained on the south side, and was, on the night of the 23d, or. dered, unless it could get across by 8 o'clock the next morning, to report to Hooker, who was instructed, in this event, to attack Lookout Mountain, as contemplated in the original plan.
“A deserter from the rebel army, who came into our lines on tha night of the 22d of November, reported Bragg falling back. The following letter from Bragg, received by flag of truce, on the 20th, tended to confirm this report:
“HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
“IN THE FIELD, November 20th, 1863. ‘Major-General U. S. Grant, Commanding United States
Forces at Chattanooga: “GENERAL :- As there may still be some non-combatants in Chattanooga, I deem it proper to notify you that prudence would dictate their early withdrawal.
General, ry respectfully, your obedient servant,
BRAXTON BRAGG, General-Commanding.' “Not being willing that he should get his army off iu good order, Thomas was directed early on the morning of the 23d, to ascertain the truth or falsity of this report, by driving in his pickets and making bim develop his lines. This be did with the troops stationed at Chattanooga, and Howard's Corps (which
“: I am,
had been brought into Chattanooga because of the apprehended danger to our pontoon bridges from the rise in the river, and the enemy's rafts), in the most gallant style, driving the enemy from his first line, securing to us what is known as 'Indian Hill,' or “Orchard Knoll,' and the low range of hills south of it. These points were fortified during the night, and artillery put in position on them. The report of this deserter was evidently not intended to deceive, but he had mistaken Bragg's movements. It was afterward ascertained that one division of Buckner's corps had gone to join Longstreet, and a second division of the same corps had started, but was brought back in consequence of our attack.
“On the night of the 23d of November, Sherman with three divisions of his army, strengthened by Davis' division of Thomas', which had been stationed along the north bank of the river, convenient to where the crossing was to be effected, was ready for operations. At an hour sufficiently early to secure the south bank of the river, just below the mouth of South Chickamauga, by dawn of day, the pontoons in North Chickamauga were loaded with thirty armed men each, who floated quietly past the enemy's pickets, landed and captured all. but one of the guard, twenty in number, before the enemy was aware of the presence of a foe. The steamboat Dunbar, with a barge in tow, after having finished ferrying across the river the horses procured from Sherman, with which to move Thomas'artillery, was sent up from Chattanooga to aid in crossing artillery and troops, and by daylight of the morning of the 26th of November eight thousand men were on the south side of the Tennessee and fortified in rifle trenches. By 12 o'clock M. the pontoon bridges across the Tennessee and Chickamauga were laid and the remainder of Sherinan's force crossed over, and at half past 3 P.M., the whole of the northern extremity of Mission Ridge, near the railroad tunnel, was in Sherman's possession. During the night he fortified the position thus secured, making it equal, if not superior in strength, to that held by the enemy.
By three o'clock of the same day, Colonel Long, with his brigade of cavalry, of Thomas' army, crossed to the south side of the Tennessee, and to the north of South Chickamauga Creek, and made a raid on the enemy's lines of communication. He burned Tyner's Station, with many stores, cut the railroad at Cleveland, captured near a hundred wagons and over two hundred. prisoners. His own loss was small.
“Hooker carried out the part assigned to him for this day equal to the most sanguine expectations With Geary's division (Twelfth Corps) and two brigades of Stanley's division (Fourth corps), of Thomas' army, and Osterhaus' division (Fifteenth corps), of Sherman's army, he scaled the western slope of Lookout Mountain, drove the enemy from his rifle-pits on the northern extremity and slope of the mountain, capturing many prisoners, without serious loss.
“ Thomas having done on the twenty-third, with his troops in Chattanooga, what was intended for the twenty-fourth, bettered and strengthened his advanced positions during the day, and pushed the Eleventh corps forward along the south bank of the Tennessee river across Citico creek, one brigade of which, with Howard in person, reached Sherman just as he had completed the crossing of the river.
“When Hooker emerged in sight of the northern extremity of Lookout Mountain, Carlin's brigade, of the Fourteenth corps, was ordered to cross Chattanooga creek, and form a junction with him. This was effected late in the evening, and after considerable fighting:
" Thus on the night of the twenty-fourth our force maintained an unbroken line, with open communications from the north end of Lookout Mountain through Chattanooga Valley to the north end of Mission Ridge.
· On the morning of the twenty-fifth, Hooker took possession of the mountain top with a small force, and with the remainder of bis command, in pursuance of orders, swept across Chattanooga Valley, now abandoned by the enemy, to Rossville. In this march he was detained four hours building a bridge across Chattanooga creek. From Rossville he ascended Mission Ridge, and moved southward toward the centre of that now shortened line.
“Sherman's attack upon the enemy's most northern and most vital point, was vigorously kept up all day. The assaulting column advanced to the very rifle-pits of the enemy, and held their position firmly and without wavering. The right of the assaulting column being exposed to the danger of being turned, two brigades were sent to its support. These advanced in the most gallant manner over an open field on the mountain side to wear the works of the enemy, and laid there partially covered from fire for some time. The right of these two brigades rested near the head of a ravine or gorge in the mountain side, which the enemy took advantage of and sent troops covered from view below them and to their right rear. Being unexpectedly fired into from this direction, they fell back across the open field below them and reformed in good order in the edge of the timber. The column which attacked them was speedily driven to their intrenchments by the assaulting column proper.
“Early on the morning of the twenty-fifth the remainder of Howard's corps reported to Sherman, and constituted a part of his forces during that day's battle, the pursuit and subsequent advance for the relief of Knoxville.
“Sherman's position not only threatened the right flank of the enemy, but from his occupying a line across the mountain, and to the railroad bridge across Chickamauga creek, his rear and stores at Chickamauga station. This caused the enemy to mass heavily against him. This movement of his being plainly seen