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Wood's redoubt opened on Missionary Ridge. Orchard Knob sent its compliments to the Ridge, which, with rifed Parrots, answered, and the cannonade thus commenced, continued all day. Shot and shell screamed from Orchard Knob to Missionary Ridge, and from Missionary Ridge to Orchard Knob, and from Wood's redoubt, over the heads of Generals Grant and Thomas and their staffs, who were with us in this favorable position, from whence the whole battle could be seen as in an am. phitheatre. The head-quarters were under fire all day long.
“Cannonading and musketry were heard from General Sherman, and General Howard marched the Eleventh corps to join bim.
“ General Thomas sent out skirmishers, who drove in the rebel pickets and chased them into their intrenchments; and at the foot of Missionary Ridge, Sberman made an assault agaiust Bragg's right, intrenched on a high knob next to that on which Sherman himself lay fortified. The assault was gallantly made.
"Sherman reached the edge of the crest, and held his ground for (it seemed to me) an hour, but was bloodily repulsed by reserves.
“A general advance was ordered, and a strong line of skirmishers followed by a deployed line of battle some two miles in length. At the signal of leaden shots from head-quarters on Orchard Knob, the line moved rapidly and orderly forward. The rebel pickets discharged their muskets and ran into their riflepits. Our skirmishers followed on their heels.
The line of battle was not far behind, and we saw the gray rebels swarm out of the ledge line of rifle-pits and over the base of the hill in numbers which surprised us. A few turned and fired their pieces; but the greater number collected into the many roads which cross obliquely up its steep face, and went on to the top.
• Some regiments pressed on and swarmned up the steep sides of the Ridge, and here and there a color was advanced beyond the lines. The attempt appeared most dangerous; but the advance was supported, and the whole line was ordered to storm the heights, upon which not less than forty pieces of artillery, and no one knows how many muskets, stood ready to slaughter the assailants. With cheers answering to cheers, the men swarmed upward. They gathered to the points least difficult of access, and the line was broken. Color after color was planted on the summit, while musket and capnon vomited their thunder
“A well-directed shot from Orchard Knob exploded a rebel caisson on the summit, and the gun was seen being speedily taken to the right, its driver lashing his horses. A party of our soldiers intercepted them, and the gun was captured with cheers.
“A fierce musketry fight broke out to 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 held his head-quarters, and rode to the rear, as our troops crowded the hill on either side of him.
General Grant proceeded to the summit, and then only did we know its height.
“Some of the captured artillery was put into position. Artillerists were sent for to work the guns, and caissons were searched for ammunition.
" The rebel log-breastworks were torn to pieces and carried to the other side of the ridge and used in forming barricades across.
“A strong line of infantry was formed in the rear of Baird's line, and engaged in a musketry contest with the rebels to the left, and a secure lodgment was coon effected.
“The other assault to the right of our centre gained the summit, and the rebels threw down their arms and fled.
Hooker, coming into favorable position, swept the right of the ridge and captured many prisoners.
Bragg's remaining troops left early in the night, and the battle of Chattanooga, after days of manæuvring and fighting,
The strength of the rebellion in the centre is broken. Burnside is relieved from danger in East Tennessee. Kentucky and Tennessee are rescued. Georgia and the Southeast are threatened in the rear, and another victory is added to the chapter of Unconditional Surrender Grant.'
“To-night the estimate of captures is several thousand prisoners and thirty pieces of artillery. “Our loss for so great a victory is not severe.
Bragg is firing the railroad as he retreats towards Dalton. Sherman is in hot pursuit.
“ To-day I viewed the battle-field, which extends for six miles along Missionary Ridge, and for several miles on Lookout Mountain.
Probably not so well-directed, so well-ordered a battle has taken place during the war. But one assault was repulsed; but that assault, by calling to that point the rebel reserves, prevented them repulsing any of the others.
"A few days since General Bragg sent to General Grant a flag of truce, advising him that it would be prudent to remove any non-combatants who might be still in Chattanooga. No reply has been returned; but the combatants having removed from this vicinity, it is probable that non-combatants can remain without imprudence.
“M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General.”
TRIBUTES FROM GENERALS HALLECK AND
SCOTT, AND PRESIDENT LINCOLN. General Halleck, in referring in his annual report to this brilliant campaign, remarks: “Considering the strength
of the rebel position and the difficulty of storming his intrenchments, 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 dispositions for dislodging the enemy from a position apparently impregnable. Moreover, by turning his right flank and throwing him back apon Ringgold and Dalton, Sherman's forces were interposed between Bragg and Longstreet, so as to prevent any possibility of their forming a junction.”
On the seventh of December, 1863, the President of the United States issued the following proclamation, calling the people together to give thanks for the victories :
“ EXECUTIVE MANSION.
“ WASHINGTON, D. C., December 7th, 1863. “Reliable information being received that the insurgent force is retreating from East Tennessee, under circumstances rendering it probable that the Union forces cannot hereafter be dislodged from that important position; and esteeming this to be of high national consequence, I recommend that all loyal people do, on receipt of this information, assemble at their places of worship, and render special homage and gratitude to Almighty God for this great advancement of the national cause.
* A. LINCOLN." And on the following day he thus personally acknowledged his appreciation of General Grant's services, in a telegraphic despatch, which was subsequently read to the troops :
“WASHINGTON, December 8th, 1863. “ MAJOR-GENERAL GRANT :
“ Understanding that your lodgment at Chattanooga and Knoxville is now secure, I wish to tender you and all under your command my more than thanks—my profoundest gratitude-for the skill, courage, and perseverance with which you and they, over so great dificulties, have effected that important object. God bless you all I
“A. LINCOLN.” General Winfield Scott rendered tribute to the hero,
who, he said, had displayed more military skill than any general had exhibited on our side ; and he was the more surprised at it from the fact that he could only remember him as a young lieutenant in the Mexican war, of undoubted courage, but giving no promise of any thing beyond ordinary abilities.
GENERAL GRANT'S INTREPIDITY IN BATTLE.
Of the intrepidity of General Grant during the protracted struggle, one of his staff thus wrote:
“I need not describe to you the recent battle of Chattanooga, the papers have given every possible detail concerning it. I may only say that I saw it all, and was in the five days' fight. In General Grant's staff only one was wounded, a Lieutenant l'urner, Assistant Chief of Artillery, whose parents formerly lived at Batavia, N. Y., but now of Chicago. It has been a matter of universal wonder in this army that General Grant himself was not killed, and that no more accidents occurred to his staff, for the general was always in the front (his staff with him, of course), and perfectly heedless of the storm of hissing bullets and screaming shell flying around him. His apparent want of sensibility does not arise from heedlessness, heartlessness, or vain military affectation, but from a sense of responsibility resting upon him when in battle. When at Ringgold, we rode for half a mile in the face of the enemy, under an incessant fire of cannon and musketry, nor did we ride fast, but upon an ordinary trot, and not once do I believe did it enter the general's mind that he was in danger. I was by his side and watched him closely. In riding that distance we were going to the front, and I could see that he was studying the positions of the two armies, and, of course, planning how to defeat the enemy, who was here making a most desperate stand, and was slaughtering our men fearfully. After defeating and driving the enemy here we returned to Chattanooga.
“ Another feature in General Grant's personal movements is, that he requires no escort beyond his staff, so regardless of danger is he. Roads are almost useless to him, for he takes short cuts through fields and woods, and will swim his horse through almost any stream that obstructs his way. Nor does it make any difference to him whether he has daylight for his movements, for he will ride from breakfast until two o'clock in the morning, and that too without eating. The next day he will repeat the dose, until he finishes his work. Now such things come hard upon the staff, but they have learned how to bear it.”
By these victories it had been decided that the productive region of East Tennessee, rich in the elements and munitions of war, and on which large drafts had been made by the rebel leaders for supplies, should remain in our hands.
This was the gateway into Georgia and the Gulf States, which was now opened by the genius of Gen,eral Grant and the bravery of his now magnificent army.
GENERAL GRANT THANKS HIS TROOPS. The following order was read to the troops : “HEAD-QUARTERS, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
“IN THE FIELD, CHATTANOOGA, TENN., Dec. 10, 1863. “The General commanding takes this opportunity of returning his sincere thanks and congratulations to the brave armies of the Cumberland, the Ohio, the Tennessee, and their comrades from the Potomac, for the recent splendid and decisive successes achieved over the enemy. In a short time you have recovered froin him the control of the Tennessee river from Bridgeport to Knoxville. You dislodged him from his great stronghold upon Lookout mountain, drove him from Chattanooga valley, wrested from his determined grasp the possession of Missionary ridge, repelled with heavy loss to him his repeated assaults upon Knoxville, forcing him to raise the siege there, driving him at all points, utterly routed and discomfitted beyond the limits of the State. By your noble heroism and determined courage, you have most effectually defeated the plans of the enemy for regaining possession of the States of Kentucky and Tennessee.
“ You have secured positions from which no rebellious power can drive or dislodge you. For all this the General commanding thanks you collectively and individually. The loyal people of the United States thank and bless you. Their hopes and prayers for your success against this unholy rebellion are with you daily. Their faith in you will not be in vain. Their hopes will not be blasted. Their prayers to Almighty God will be answered. You will go to other fields of strife; and, with the jovincible bravery and unflinching loyalty to justice and right which have characterized you in the past, you will prove that no enemy can withstand you, and that no defenses, however formidable, can check your onward march.
“By order of “U. S. Grant, Major-General.”