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from the position I occupied on Orchard Knoll, Baird's division of the Fourteenth corps was ordered to Sherman's support, but receiving a note from Sherman informing me that he had all the force necessary, Baird was put in position on Thomas' left.
“The appearance of Hooker's column was at this time anxi. ously looked for and momentarily expected, moving north on the ridge, with his left in Chattanooga Valley, and bis right east of the ridge. His approach was intended as the signal for storming the ridge in the centre with strong columns; but the time necessarily consumed in the construction of the bridge near Chattanooga creek, detained him to a later hour than was expected. Being satisfied from the latest information from him that he must by this time be on his way from Rossville, though not yet in sight, and discovering that the enemy, in his desperation to defeat or resist the progress of Sherman, was weakening his centre on Mission Ridge, determined me to order the advance at once. Thomas was accordingly directed to move forward his troops, constituting our centre. Baird's division (Fourteenth corps), Wood's and Sheridan's divisions (Fourth corps), and Johnson's division (Fourteenth corps), with a double line of skirmishers thrown out followed in easy supporting distance by the whole force, and carry the rifle-pits at the foot of Mission Ridge, and when carried to reform his lines in the rifle-pits with a view to carrying the top of the ridge.
“ These troops moved forward and drove the enemy from the rifle-pits at the base of the ridge like bees from a hive-stopped but a moment until the whole were in line, and commenced the ascent of the mountain from right to left almost simultaneously, following closely the retreating enemy without further orders. They encountered a fearful volley of grape and canister from near thirty pieces of artillery, and musketry from well-filled rifle-pits on the summit of the ridge. Not a waver, however, was seen in all that long line of brave men.
Their progress was steadily onward until the summit was in their possession. In this charge the casualties were remarkably few for the fire encountered. I can account for this only on the theory that the enemy's surprise at the audacity of such a charge caused confusion and purposeless aiming of their pieces.
" The nearness of night and the enemy still resisting the advance of Thomas' left, prevented a general pursuit that night, but Sheridan pushed forward to Mission Mills.
“The resistance on Thomas' left being overcome, the enemy abandoned his position near the railroud tunn in front of Sherman, and by 12 o'clock at night was in full retreat, and the whole of his strong positions on Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga Valley, and Mission Ridge, was in our possession, together with a large number of prisoners, artillery, and small arms.
“Thomas was directed to get Granger, with his corps, and detachments enough from other commands, including the force
available at Kingston, to make 20,000 men, in readiness to go to the relief of Knoxville, upon the termination of the battle at Chattanooga, these troops to take with tbem four days rations, and a steamboat, loaded with rations, to follow up the river.
“On the evening of the twenty-fifth of November orders were given to both Thomas and Sherman to pursue the enemy early the next morning, with all their available force, except that under Granger, intended for the relief of Knoxville.
“On the morning of the twenty-sixth, Sherman advanced by way of Chickamauga Station, and Thomas' forces, under Hooker and Palmer, moved on the Rossville road toward Grayville and Ringgold.
“The advance of Thomas' forces reached Ringgold on the morning of the twenty-seventh, when they found the enemy in strong position in the gorge and on the crest of Taylor's Ridge, from which they dislodged him after a severe fight, in which we lost heavily in valuable officers and men, and continued the pursuit that day until near Tunnel Hill, a distance of twenty miles from Chattanooga.
“ Davis' divisiou (Fourteenth corps) of Sherman's column reached Ringgold about noon of the same day. Howard's corps was sent by Sherman to Red Clay, to destroy the railroad between Dalton and Cleveland, and thus cut off Bragg's communication with Longstreet, which was successfully accomplished.
“Had it not been for the imperative pecessity of relieving Burnside, I would have pursued the broken and demoralized retreating enemy as long as supplies could have been found in the country. But my advices were, that Burnside's supplies could only last until the third of December. It was already getting late to afford the necessary relief. I determined, therefore, to pursue no further. Hooker was directed to hold the position he then occupied until the night of the thirtieth, but to go no further south at the expense of a fight. Sherman was directed to march to the railroad-crossing of the Hiawassee, to protect Granger's flank until he was across that stream, and to prevent further reinforcements being sent by that route into East Tennessee.
Returning from the front on the twenty-eighth, I found that Granger bad not yet got off, nor would he have the number of men I had directed. Besides, he moved with reluctance and complaint. I therefore determined, notwithstanding the fact that two divisions of Sherman's forces had marched from Memphis, and had gone into battle immediately on their arrival at Chattanooga, to send him with his command; and orders in accordance therewith were sent him at Calhoun to assume com mand of the troops with Granger, in addition to those with him, and proceed with all possible despatch to the relief of Burnside
“Ġeneral Elliott had been ordered by Thomas on the twenty
sixth of November to proceed from Alexandria, Tennessee, to Knoxville with his cavalry division, to aid in the relief of that place.
“ The approach of Sherman caused Longstreet to raise the siege of Knoxville and retreat eastward on the night of the 6th of December. Sherman succeeded in throwing his cavalry into Knoxville on the night of the 3d.
“Sherman arrived in person at Knoxville on the 5th, and after a conference with Burnside in reference to 'organizing a pursuing force large enough to overtake the enemy and beat him or drive him out of the State,' Burnside was of the opinion that the corps of Granger, in conjunction with his own command, was sufficient for that purpose, and on the 7th addressed to Sherman the following communication :
“KNOXVILLE, December 7th, 1863. "To MAJOR-GENERAL SHERMAN:
“I desire to express to you and to your command my most hearty thanks and gratitude for your promptness in coming to our relief during the siege of Knoxville, and I am satisfied that your approach served to raise the siege. The emergency having passed, I do not deem, for the present, any other portion of your command but the corps of General Granger necessary for operation in this section; and inasmuch as General Grant has weakened the forces immediately with him, in order to relieve us, thereby rendering portions of General Thomas' less secure, I deem it advisable that all the troops now here, except those commanded by General Granger, should return at once to within supporting distance of the forces operating against Bragg's army. In behalf of my command, I again desire to thank you and your command for the kindness you have done us.
“A. E. BURNSIDE, Major-General.' “Leaving Granger's command at Knoxville, Sherman, with the remainder of his forces, returned by slow marches to Chattanooga.
“ I have not spoken more particularly of the result of the pursuit of the enemy, because the more detailed reports accompanying this do the subject justice. For the same reason I have not particularized the part taken by corps and division commanders.
" To Brigadier-Ĝeneral W. F. Smith, Chief Eugineer, I feel under more than ordinary obligations for the masterly manner in which he discharged the duties of his position, and desire that his services be fully appreciated by higher authorities.
“ The members of ny staff discharged faithfully their respective duties, for which they have my warmest thanks.
“Our losses in these battles were 757 killed, 4529 wounded and 330 missing; total, 5616. The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was probably less than ours, owing to the fact that he was protected by his intrenchments, wbile our men were with
out cover. At Knoxville, however, his loss was many times greater than ours, making his entire loss at the two places equal to. if not exceeding ours. We captured 6,142 prisoners, of whom 239 were commissioned officers; 40 pieces of artillery, 69 artillery carriages and caissons, and 7,000 stand of small arms.
• The armies of the Cumberland and the Tennessee, for their energy and unsurpassed bravery in the three days battle of Chattanooga and the pursuit of the enemy; their patient endurance in marching to the relief of Knoxville; and the Army of the Ohio, for its masterly defence of Knoxville and repeated repulses of Longstreet's assaults upon that place, are deserving of the gratitude of their country.
“I have the honor to be, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Ú. S. GRANT, "Major-General, U. S. Arny."
GENERAL MEIGS'S REVIEW OF THE BATTLES.
Add to this report the one sent to the Secretary of War by Quartermaster-General Meigs, and we have an accurate and interesting account of the great battles. General Meigs wrote as follows:
“ HEAD-QUARTERS, CHATTANOOGA, Nov. 26th, 1863. “Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
“Sir:-On the twenty-third instant, at half-past eleven, A.m., General Grant ordered a demonstration against Missionary Ridge, to develop the force holding it. The troops marched out, formed in order, and advanced in line of battle as if on parade.
“The rebels watched the formation and movement from their picket lines and rifle-pits, and from the summits of Missionary Ridge, five hundred feet above us, and thought it was a review and drill, so openly and deliberately, so regular, was it all done.
“ The line advanced, preceded by skirmishers, and at two o'clock, P.M., reached our picket lines, and opened a rattling volley upon the rebel pickets, who replied and ran into their advanced line of rifle-pits. After them went our skirmishers and into them, along the centre of the line of twenty-five thousand troops which General Thomas had so quickly displayed, until we opened fire. Prisoners assert that they thought the whole movement was a review and general drill, and that it was too late to send to their camps for reinforcements, and that they were overwhelmed by force of numbers. It was a surprise in opeu daylight.
“At three, P.M., the important advanced position of Orchard Knob and the lines right and left were in our possession, and arrangements were ordered for holding them during the night.
“The next day at daylight, General Sherman had five thousand
men across the Tennessee, and established on its south bank, and commenced the construction of a pontoon bridge about six miles above Chattanooga. The rebel steaner Dunbar was repaired at the right moment, and rendered effective aid in this crossing, carrying over six thousand men.
“ By nightfall General Thomas had seized the extremity of Missionary Ridge nearest the river, and was intrenching bimself. General Howard, with a brigade, opened communication with him from Chattanooga on the south side of the river. Skirmish. ing and cannonading continued all day on the left and centre. General Hooker scaled the slopes of Lookout Mountain, and from the valley of Lookout Creek drove the rebels around the point. He captured some two thousand 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. They had run only to Kelley's Ferry, whence ten miles of' hauling over mountain roads and twice across the Tennessee on pontoon bridges brought us our supplies.
"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 General Hooker's battle was fought above the clouds, which concealed him from our view, but from which his musketry was heard.
“At nightfall the sky cleared, and the full moon—the traitor's doom'-shone upon the beautiful scene, until one, A.M., when twinkling sparks upon the mountain-side showed that picketskirmishing was going on. Then it ceased. A brigade sent from Chattanooga, crossed the Chattanooga Creek and opened communication with Hooker.
“General Grant's head-quarters during the afternoon of the twenty-third and the day of the twenty-fourth, were in Wood's redoubt, except when in the course of the day he rode along the advanced line, visiting the head-quarters of the several commanders, in Chattanooga valley.
“At daylight, on the twenty.fifth, the Stars and Stripes were descried on the peak of Lookout. The rebels had evacuated the mountain.
“Hooker moved to descend the mountain, striking Missionary Ridge at the Rossville Gap, to sweep both sides and its summit.
The rebel troops were seen, as soon as it was light enough, streaming regiments and brigades along the narrow summit of Missionary Ridge, either concentrating on the riglit. to overwhelm Sherman, or marching for the railroad to raise the siege.
They had evacuated the valley of Chattanooga. Would they abandon that of Chickamauga?
"The twenty-pounders and four-and-a-quarter-inch rifles of