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Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete by U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, P. H. Sheridan

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command always reported to me personally whatever had happened during
the time he was out--the result of his reconnoissance, so to speak,
for that war the real nature of these excursions--and on one occasion
the colonel in command, Colonel Conrad, of the Fifteenth Missouri,
informed me that he got through without much difficulty; in fact,
that everything had gone all right and been eminently satisfactory,
except that in returning he had been mortified greatly by the conduct
of the two females belonging to the detachment and division train at
my headquarters. These women, he said, had given much annoyance by
getting drunk, and to some extent demoralizing his men. To say that
I was astonished at his statement would be a mild way of putting it,
and had I not known him to be a most upright man and of sound sense,
I should have doubted not only his veracity, but his sanity.
Inquiring who they were and for further details, I was informed that
there certainly were in the command two females, that in some
mysterious manner had attached themselves to the service as soldiers;
that one, an East Tennessee woman, was a teamster in the division
wagon-train and the other a private soldier in a cavalry company
temporarily attached to my headquarters for escort duty. While out
on the foraging expedition these Amazons had secured a supply of
"apple-jack" by some means, got very drunk, and on the return had
fallen into Stone River and been nearly drowned. After they had been
fished from, the water, in the process of resuscitation their sex was
disclosed, though up to this time it appeared to be known only to
each other. The story was straight and the circumstance clear,
so, convinced of Conrad's continued sanity, I directed the
provost-marshal to bring in arrest to my headquarters the two
disturbers of Conrad's peace of mind, After some little search the
East Tennessee woman was found in camp, somewhat the worse for the
experiences of the day before, but awaiting her fate content idly
smoking a cob-pipe. She was brought to me, and put in duress under
charge of the division surgeon until her companion could be secured.
To the doctor she related that the year before she had "refugeed" from
East Tennessee, and on arriving in Louisville assumed men's apparel
and sought and obtained employment as a teamster in the
quartermaster's department. Her features were very large, and so
coarse and masculine was her general appearance that she would readily
have passed as a man, and in her case the deception was no doubt
easily practiced. Next day the "she dragoon" was caught, and proved
to be a rather prepossessing young woman, and though necessarily
bronzed and hardened by exposure, I doubt if, even with these marks of
campaigning, she could have deceived as readily as did her companion.
How the two got acquainted, I never learned, and though they had
joined the army independently of each other, yet an intimacy had
sprung up between them long before the mishaps of the foraging
expedition. They both were forwarded to army headquarters, and, when
provided with clothing suited to their sex, sent back to Nashville,
and thence beyond our lines to Louisville.

On January 9, by an order from the War Department, the Army of the
Cumberland had been divided into three corps, designated the
Fourteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first. This order did not alter the
composition of the former grand divisions, nor change the commanders,
but the new nomenclature was a decided improvement over the clumsy
designations Right Wing, Centre, and Left Wing, which were well
calculated to lead to confusion sometimes. McCook's wing became the
Twentieth Corps, and my division continued of the same organization,
and held the same number as formerly-the Third Division, Twentieth
Corps. My first brigade was now commanded by Brigadier-General
William H. Lytle, the second by Colonel Bernard Laiboldt, and the
third by Colonel Luther P. Bradley.

On the 4th of March I was directed to move in light marching order
toward Franklin and join General Gordon Granger, to take part in some
operations which he was projecting against General Earl Van Dorn,
then at Spring Hill. Knowing that my line of march would carry me
through a region where forage was plentiful, I took along a large
train of empty wagons, which I determined to fill with corn and send
back to Murfreesboro', believing that I could successfully cover the
train by Minty's brigade of cavalry, which had joined me for the
purpose of aiding in a reconnoissance toward Shelbyville. In
marching the column I placed a regiment of infantry at its head, then
the wagon-train, then a brigade of infantry--masking the cavalry
behind this brigade. The enemy, discovering that the train was with
us, and thinking he could capture it, came boldly out with his,
cavalry to attack. The head of his column came up to the crossroads
at Versailles, but holding him there, I passed the train and infantry
brigade beyond toward Eagleville, and when my cavalry had been thus
unmasked, Minty, followed by the balance of my division, which was
still behind, charged him with the sabre. Success was immediate and
complete, and pursuit of the routed forces continued through
Unionville, until we fell upon and drove in the Confederate outposts
at Shelbyville. Here the enemy was taken by surprise evidently,
which was most fortunate for us, otherwise the consequences might
have been disastrous. Minty captured in the charge about fifty
prisoners and a few wagons and mules, and thus enabled me to load my
train with corn, and send it back to Murfreesboro' unmolested. In
this little fight the sabre was freely used by both sides, and I do
not believe that during the whole war I again knew of so large a
percentage of wounds by that arm in proportion to the numbers

That night I encamped at Eagleville, and next day reported to Granger
at Franklin, arriving in the midst of much excitement prevailing on
account of the loss of Coburn's brigade, which had been captured the
day before a little distance south of that point, while marching to
form a junction with a column that had been directed on Columbia from
Murfreesboro'. Shortly after Coburn's capture General Granger had
come upon the scene, and the next day he advanced my division and
Minty's troops directly on Spring Hill, with a view to making some
reprisal; but Van Dorn had no intention of accommodating us, and
retired from Spring Hill, offering but little resistance. He
continued to fall back, till finally he got behind Duck River, where
operations against him ceased; for, in consequence of the incessant
rains of the season, the streams had become almost impassable.
Later, I returned by way of Franklin to my old camp at Murfreesboro',
passing over on this march the ground on which the Confederate
General Hood met with such disaster the following year in his attack
on Stanley's corps.

My command had all returned from the Franklin expedition to
Murfreesboro' and gone into camp on the Salem pike by the latter part
of March, from which time till June it took part in only the little
affairs of outposts occurring every now and then on my own front. In
the meanwhile General Rosecrans had been materially reinforced by the
return of sick and wounded men; his army had become well disciplined,
and was tolerably supplied; and he was repeatedly pressed by the
authorities at Washington to undertake offensive operations.

During the spring and early summer Rosecrans resisted, with a great
deal of spirit and on various grounds, these frequent urgings, and
out of this grew up an acrimonious correspondence and strained
feeling between him and General Halleck. Early in June, however,
stores had been accumulated and other preparations made for a move
forward, Resecrans seeming to have decided that he could safely risk
an advance, with the prospect of good results. Before finally
deciding, he called upon most of his corps and division commanders
for their opinions on certain propositions which he presented, and
most of them still opposed the projected movement, I among the
number, reasoning that while General Grant was operating against
Vicksburg, it was better to hold Bragg in Middle Tennessee than to
push him so far back into Georgia that interior means of
communication would give the Confederate Government the opportunity
of quickly joining a part of his force to that of General Johnson in

At this stage, and in fact prior to it, Rosecrans seemed to manifest
special confidence in me, often discussing his plans with me
independent of the occasions on which he formally referred them for
my views. I recollect that on two different occasions about this
time he unfolded his designs to me in this informal way, outlining
generally how he expected ultimately to force Bragg south of the
Tennessee River, and going into the details of the contemplated move
on Tullahoma. His schemes, to my mind, were not only comprehensive,
but exact, and showed conclusively, what no one doubted then, that
they were original with him. I found in them very little to
criticise unfavorably, if we were to move at all, and Rosecrans
certainly impressed me that he favored an advance at an early day,
though many of his generals were against it until the operations on
the Mississippi River should culminate in something definite. There
was much, fully apparent in the circumstances about his headquarters,
leading to the conviction that Rosecrans originated the Tullahoma
campaign, and the record of his prior performances collaterally
sustains the visible evidence then existing. In my opinion, then,
based on a clear recollection of various occurrences growing out of
our intimacy, he conceived the plan of the Tullahoma campaign and the
one succeeding it; and is therefore entitled to every credit that
attended their execution, no matter what may be claimed for others.

On the 23d of June Bragg was covering his position north of Duck
River with a front extending from McMinnville, where his cavalry
rested, through Wartrace and Shelbyville to Columbia, his depot being
at Tullahoma. Rosecrans, thinking that Bragg would offer strong
resistance at Shelbyville--which was somewhat protected by a spur
of low mountains or hills, offshoots of the Cumberland Mountains
--decided to turn that place; consequently, he directed the mass
of the Union army on the enemy's right flank, about Manchester.

On the 26th of June McCook's corps advanced toward Liberty Gap, my
divisions marching on the Shelbyville pike. I had proceeded but a
few miles when I encountered the enemy's pickets, who fell back to
Christiana, about nine miles from Murfreesboro'. Here I was assailed
pretty wickedly by the enemy's sharpshooters and a section of
artillery, but as I was instructed to do nothing more than cover the
road from Eagleville, over which Brannan's division was to approach
Christiana, I made little reply to this severe annoyance, wishing to
conceal the strength of my force. As soon as the head of Brannan's
column arrived I marched across-country to the left, and encamped
that night at the little town of Millersburg, in the vicinity of
Liberty Gap. I was directed to move from Millersburg, on Hoover's
Gap--a pass in the range of hills already referred to, through which
ran the turnpike from Murfreesboro' to Manchester--but heavy rains
had made the country roads almost impassable, and the last of my
division did not reach Hoover's Gap till the morning of June 27,
after its abandonment by the enemy. Continuing on to Fairfield, the
head of my column met, south of that place, a small force of
Confederate infantry and cavalry, which after a slight skirmish
Laiboldt's brigade drove back toward Wartrace. The next morning I
arrived at Manchester, where I remained quiet for the day. Early on
the 29th I marched by the Lynchburg road for Tullahoma, where the
enemy was believed to be in force, and came into position about six
miles from the town.

By the 31st the whole army had been concentrated, in spite of many
difficulties, and though, on account of the heavy rains that had
fallen almost incessantly since we left Murfreesboro', its movements
had been slow and somewhat inaccurate, yet the precision with which
it took up a line of battle for an attack on Tullahoma showed that
forethought and study had been given to every detail. The enemy had
determined to fall back from Tullahoma at the beginning of the
campaign, however, and as we advanced, his evacuation had so far
progressed that when, on July 1. We reached the earthworks thrown.
up early in the year for the defense of the place, he had almost
wholly disappeared, carrying off all his stores and munitions of war
except some little subsistence and eleven pieces of artillery. A
strong rearguard remained to cover the retreat, and on my front the
usual encounters between advancing and retreating forces took place.
Just before reaching the intrenchments on the Lynchburg road, I came
upon an open space that was covered by a network of fallen trees and
underbrush, which had been slashed all along in front of the enemy's
earthworks. This made our progress very difficult, but I shortly
became satisfied that there were only a few of the enemy within the
works, so moving a battalion of cavalry that had joined me the day
before down the road as rapidly as the obstructions would permit, the
Confederate pickets quickly departed, and we gained possession of the
town. Three siege guns, four caissons, a few stores, and a small
number of prisoners fell into my hands.

That same evening orders were issued to the army to push on from
Tullahoma in pursuit, for, as it was thought that we might not be
able to cross Elk River on account of its swollen condition, we could
do the enemy some damage by keeping close as possible at his heels.
I marched on the Winchester road at 3 o'clock on the 2d of July and
about 8 o'clock reached Elk River ford. The stream was for the time
truly an impassable torrent, and all hope of crossing by the
Winchester ford had to be abandoned. Deeming that further effort
should be made, however, under guidance of Card, I turned the head of
my column in the direction of Alisona, marching up the river and
nearly parallel with it till I came to Rock Creek. With a little
delay we got across Rock Creek, which was also much swollen, and
finding a short distance above its mouth a ford on Elk River that
Card said was practicable, I determined to attempt it: Some of the
enemy's cavalry were guarding this ford, but after a sharp little
skirmish my battalion of cavalry crossed and took up a strong
position on the other bank. The stream was very high and the current
very swift, the water, tumbling along over its rocky bed in an
immense volume, but still it was fordable for infantry if means could
be devised by which the men could keep their feet. A cable was
stretched across just below the ford as a lifeline for the weaker
ones, and then the men of the entire division having secured their
ammunition by placing the cartridge-boxes on their shoulders, the
column pushed cheerfully into the rushing current. The men as they
entered the water joined each other in sets of four in a close
embrace, which enabled them to retain a foothold and successfully
resist the force of the flood. When they were across I turned the
column down the left bank of Elk River, and driving the enemy from
some slight works near Estelle Springs, regained the Winchester road.

By this time it was clear that Bragg intended to fall back behind the
Tennessee River, and our only chance of accomplishing anything of
importance was to smash up his rear-guard before it crossed the
Cumberland Mountains, and in pursuance of this idea I was directed to
attack such of his force as was holding on to Winchester. At 4
o'clock on the morning of July 2 I moved on that town, and when we
got close to it directed my mounted troops to charge a small force of
Confederate cavalry that was picketing their front. The Confederates
resisted but little, and our men went with them in a disorderly chase
through the village to Boiling Fork, a small stream about half a mile
beyond. Here the fleeing pickets, rallying behind a stronger force,
made a stand, and I was directed by McCook to delay till I
ascertained if Davis's division, which was to support me, had made
the crossing of Elk River, and until I could open up communication
with Brannan's division, which was to come in on my left at Decherd.
As soon as I learned that Davis was across I pushed on, but the delay
had permitted the enemy to pull his rear-guard up on the mountain,
and rendered nugatory all further efforts to hurt him materially, our
only returns consisting in forcing him to relinquish a small amount
of transportation and forage at the mouth of the pass just beyond
Cowan, a station on the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga

At Cowan, Colonel Watkins, of the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, reported to
me with twelve hundred mounted men. Having heard during the night
that the enemy had halted on the mountain near the University--an
educational establishment on the summit--I directed Watkins to make a
reconnoissance and find out the value of the information. He learned
that Wharton's brigade of cavalry was halted at the University to
cover a moderately large force of the enemy's infantry which had not
yet got down the mountain on the other side, so I pushed Watkins out
again on the 5th, supporting him by a brigade of infantry, which I
accompanied myself. We were too late, however, for when we arrived
at the top of the mountain Wharton had disappeared, and though
Watkins pursued to Bridgeport, he was able to do nothing more, and on
his return reported that the last of the enemy had crossed the
Tennessee River and burned the railroad bridge.

Nothing further could now be done, so I instructed Watkins to rejoin
the division at Cowan, and being greatly fatigued by the hard
campaigning of the previous ten days, I concluded to go back to my
camp in a more comfortable way than on the back of my tired horse.
In his retreat the enemy had not disturbed the railway track at all,
and as we had captured a hand-car at Cowan, I thought I would have it
brought up to the station near the University to carry me down the
mountain to my camp, and, desiring company, I persuasively invited
Colonel Frank T. Sherman to ride with me. I sent for the car by a
courier, and for a long time patiently awaited its arrival, in fact,
until all the returning troops had passed us, but still it did not
come. Thinking it somewhat risky to remain at the station without
protection, Sherman and myself started our horses to Cowan by our
orderlies, and set out on foot to meet the car, trudging along down
the track in momentary expectation of falling in with our private
conveyance. We had not gone very far before night overtook us, and
we then began to realize the dangers surrounding us, for there we
were alone and helpless, tramping on in the darkness over an unknown
railroad track in the enemy's country, liable on the one hand to go
tumbling through some bridge or trestle, and on the other, to
possible capture or death at the hands of the guerrillas then
infesting these mountains. Just after dark we came to a little cabin
near the track, where we made bold to ask for water, notwithstanding
the fact that to disclose ourselves to the inmates might lead to
fatal consequences. The water was kindly given, but the owner and
his family were very much exercised lest some misfortune might befall
us near their house, and be charged to them, so they encouraged us to
move on with a frankness inspired by fear of future trouble to

At every turn we eagerly hoped to meet the hand-car, but it never
came, and we jolted on from tie to tie for eleven weary miles,
reaching Cowan after midnight, exhausted and sore in every muscle
from frequent falls on the rough, unballasted road-bed. Inquiry.
developed that the car had been well manned, and started to us as
ordered, and nobody could account for its non-arrival. Further
investigation next day showed, however, that when it reached the foot
of the mountain, where the railroad formed a junction, the improvised
crew, in the belief no doubt that the University was on the main line
instead of near the branch to Tracy City, followed the main stem
until it carried them clear across the range down the Crow Creek
Valley, where the party was captured.

I had reason to remember for many a day this foolish adventure, for
my sore bones and bruised muscles, caused me physical suffering until
I left the Army of the Cumberland the next spring; but I had still
more reason to feel for my captured men, and on this account I have
never ceased to regret that I so thoughtlessly undertook to rejoin my
troops by rail, instead of sticking to my faithful horse.



The Tullahoma campaign was practically closed by the disappearance of
the enemy from the country north of the Tennessee River. Middle
Tennessee was once more in the possession of the National troops, and
Rosecrans though strongly urged from Washington to continue on,
resisted the pressure until he could repair the Nashville and
Chattanooga railroad, which was of vital importance in supplying his
army from its secondary base at Nashville. As he desired to hold
this road to where it crossed the Tennessee, it was necessary to push
a force beyond the mountains, and after a few days of rest at Cowan
my division was ordered to take station at Stevenson, Alabama, the
junction of the Memphis and Charleston road with the Nashville and
Chattanooga, with instructions to occupy Bridgeport also.

The enemy had meanwhile concentrated most of his forces at
Chattanooga for the twofold purpose of holding this gateway of the
Cumberland Mountains, and to assume a defensive attitude which would
enable him to take advantage of such circumstances as might arise in
the development of the offensive campaign he knew we must make. The
peculiar topography of the country was much to his advantage, and
while we had a broad river and numerous spurs and ridges of the
Cumberland Mountains to cross at a long distance from our base, he
was backed up on his depots of supply, and connected by interior
lines of railway with the different armies of the Confederacy, so
that he could be speedily reinforced.

Bridgeport was to be ultimately a sub-depot for storing subsistence
supplies, and one of the points at which our army would cross the
Tennessee, so I occupied it on July 29 with two brigades, retaining
one at Stevenson, however, to protect that railway junction from
raids by way of Caperton's ferry. By the 29th of August a
considerable quantity of supplies had been accumulated, and then
began a general movement of our troops for crossing the river. As
there were not with the army enough pontoons to complete the two
bridges required, I was expected to build one of them of trestles;
and a battalion of the First Michigan Engineers under Colonel Innis
was sent me to help construct the bridge. Early on the 3ist I sent
into the neighboring woods about fifteen hundred men with axes and
teams, and by nightfall they had delivered on the riverbank fifteen
hundred logs suitable for a trestle bridge. Flooring had been
shipped to me in advance by rail, but the quantity was insufficient,
and the lack had to be supplied by utilizing planking and
weather-boarding taken from barns and houses in the surrounding
country. The next day Innis's engineers, with the assistance of the
detail that had felled the timber, cut and half-notched the logs, and
put the bridge across; spanning the main channel, which was swimming
deep, with four or five pontoons that had been sent me for this
purpose. On the 2d and 3d of September my division crossed on the
bridge in safety, though we were delayed somewhat because of its
giving way once where the pontoons joined the trestles. We were
followed by a few detachments from other commands, and by nearly
all the transportation of McCook's corps.

After getting to the south side of the Tennessee River I was ordered
to Valley Head, where McCook's corps was to concentrate. On the 4th
of September I ascended Sand Mountain, but had got only half way
across the plateau, on top, when night came, the march having been a
most toilsome one. The next day we descended to the base, and
encamped near Trenton. On the 10th I arrived at Valley Head, and
climbing Lookout Mountain, encamped on the plateau at Indian Falls.
The following day I went down into Broomtown Valley to Alpine.
The march of McCook's corps from Valley Head to Alpine was in
pursuance of orders directing it to advance on Summerville, the
possession of which place would further threaten the enemy's
communications, it being assumed that Bragg was in full retreat
south, as he had abandoned Chattanooga on the 8th. This assumption
soon proved erroneous, however, and as we, while in Broomtown Valley,
could not communicate directly with Thomas's corps, the scattered
condition of the army began to alarm us all, and McCook abandoned the
advance to Summerville, ordering back to the summit of Lookout
Mountain such of the corps trains as had got down into Broomtown

But before this I had grown uneasy in regard to the disjointed
situation of our army, and, to inform myself of what was going on,
determined to send a spy into the enemy's lines. In passing Valley
Head on the 10th my scout Card, who had been on the lookout for some
one capable to undertake the task, brought me a Union man with whom
he was acquainted, who lived on Sand Mountain, and had been much
persecuted by guerrillas on account of his loyal sentiments. He knew
the country well, and as his loyalty was vouched for I asked him to
go into the enemy's camp, which I believed to be near Lafayette, and,
bring me such information as he could gather. He said such a journey
would be at the risk of his life, and that at best he could not
expect to remain in that section of country if he undertook it, but
that he would run all the chances if I would enable him to emigrate
to the West at the end c f the "job," which I could do by purchasing
the small "bunch" of stock he owned on the mountain. To this I
readily assented, and he started on the delicate undertaking. He
penetrated the enemy's lines with little difficulty, but while
prosecuting his search for information was suspected, and at once
arrested and placed under guard. From this critical situation he
escaped; however, making his way through the enemy's picket-line in
the darkness by crawling on his belly and deceiving the sentinels by
imitating the grunts of the half-wild, sand-colored hogs with which
the country abounded. He succeeded in reaching Rosecrans's
headquarters finally, and there gave the definite information that
Bragg intended to fight, and that he expected to be reinforced by

By this time it was clear that Bragg had abandoned Chattanooga with
the sole design of striking us in detail as we followed in pursuit;
and to prevent his achieving this purpose orders came at 12 o'clock,
midnight, for McCook to draw in toward Chattanooga. This could be
done only by recrossing Lookout Mountain, the enemy's army at
Lafayette now interposing between us and Thomas's corps. The
retrograde march began at once. I moved back over the mountain on
the 13th and 14th to Stevens's Mills, and on the 15th and 16th
recrossed through Stevens's Gap, in the Lookout range, and encamped
at its base in McLamore's cove. The march was made with all possible
celerity, for the situation was critical and demanded every exertion.
The ascent and descent of the mountains was extremely exhausting, the
steep grades often rendering it necessary to drag up and let down by
hand both the transportation and artillery. But at last we were in
conjunction with the main army, and my division breathed easier.

On the 17th I remained in line of battle all day and night in front
of McLamore's cove, the enemy making slight demonstrations against me
from the direction of Lafayette. The main body of the army having
bodily moved to the left meanwhile, I followed it on the 18th,
encamping at Pond Spring. On the 19th I resumed the march to the
left and went into line of battle at Crawfish Springs to cover our
right and rear. Immediately after forming this line, I again became
isolated by the general movement to the left, and in consequence was
directed to advance and hold the ford of Chickamauga Creek at Lee and
Gordon's Mills, thus coming into close communication with the balance
of our forces. I moved into this position rapidly, being compelled,
though, first to drive back the enemy's cavalry skirmishers, who,
having crossed to the west side of the creek, annoyed the right flank
of my column a good deal while en route.

Upon arrival at Lee and Gordon's Mills I found the ford over
Chickamauga Creek temporarily uncovered, through the hurried movement
of Wood to the assistance of Davis's division. The enemy was already
present in small force, with the evident intention of taking
permanent possession, but my troops at once actively engaged him and
recovered the ford with some slight losses. Scarcely had this been
done when I was directed to assist Crittenden. Leaving Lytle's
brigade at the ford, I proceeded with Bradley's and Laiboldt's to
help Crittenden, whose main line was formed to the east of the
Chattanooga and Lafayette road, its right trending toward a point on
Chickamauga Creek about a mile and a half north of Lee and Gordon's
Mills. By the time I had joined Crittenden with my two brigades,
Davis had been worsted in an attack Rosecrans had ordered him to make
on the left of that portion of the enemy's line which was located
along the west bank of the Chickamauga, the repulse being so severe
that one of Davis's batteries had to be abandoned. Bradley's brigade
arrived on the ground first and was hastily formed and thrown into
the fight, which up to this moment had been very doubtful, fortune
inclining first to one side, then to the other. Bradley's brigade
went in with steadiness, and charging across an open corn-field that
lay in front of the Lafayette road, recovered Davis's guns and forced
the enemy to retire. Meanwhile Laiboldt's brigade had come on the
scene, and forming it on Bradley's right, I found myself at the end
of the contest holding the ground which was Davis's original
position. It was an ugly fight and my loss was heavy, including
Bradley wounded. The temporary success was cheering, and when
Lytle's brigade joined me a little later I suggested to Crittenden
that we attack, but investigation showed that his troops, having been
engaged all day, were not in condition, so the suggestion could not
be carried out.

The events of the day had indicated that Bragg's main object was to
turn Rosecrans's left; it was therefore still deemed necessary that
the army should continue its flank movement to the left, so orders
came to draw my troops in toward the widow Glenn's house. By
strengthening the skirmish line and shifting my brigades in
succession from right to left until the point designated was reached,
I was able to effect the withdrawal without much difficulty, calling
in my skirmish line after the main force had retired.

My command having settled down for the night in this new line I rode
to army headquarters, to learn if possible the expectations for the
morrow and hear the result of the battle in General Thomas's front.
Nearly all the superior officers of the army were at headquarters,
and it struck me that much depression prevailed, notwithstanding the
fact that the enemy's attempts during the day to turn our left flank
and also envelop our right had been unsuccessful. It was now
positively known, through prisoners and otherwise, that Bragg had
been reinforced to such an extent as to make him materially outnumber
us, consequently there was much apprehension for the future.

The necessity of protecting our left was most apparent, and the next
day the drifting in that direction was to be continued. This
movement in the presence of the enemy, who at all points was actively
seeking an opportunity to penetrate our line and interpose a column
between its right and left, was most dangerous. But the necessity
for shifting the army to the left was obvious, hence only the method
by which it was undertaken is open to question. The move was made by
the flank in the face of an exultant foe superior in numbers, and was
a violation of a simple and fundamental military principle. Under
such circumstances columns naturally stretch out into attenuated
lines, organizations become separated, and intervals occur, all of
which we experienced; and had the orders for the movement been
construed properly I doubt if it could have been executed without
serious danger. Necessity knows no law, however, and when all the
circumstances of this battle are fully considered it is possible that
justification may be found for the manoeuvres by which the army was
thus drifted to the left. We were in a bad strait unquestionably,
and under such conditions possibly the exception had to be applied
rather than the rule.

At daylight on the morning of the 20th a dense fog obscured
everything; consequently both armies were passive so far as fighting
was concerned. Rosecrans took advantage of the inaction to rearrange
his right, and I was pulled back closer to the widow Glenn's house to
a strong position, where I threw together some rails and logs as
barricades, but I was disconnected from the troops on my left by a
considerable interval. Here I awaited the approach of the enemy, but
he did not disturb me, although about 9 o'clock in the forenoon he
had opened on our extreme left with musketry fire and a heavy
cannonade. Two hours later it was discovered by McCook that the
interval between the main army and me was widening, and he ordered me
to send Laiboldt's brigade to occupy a portion of the front that had
been covered by Negley's division. Before getting this brigade into
place, however, two small brigades of Davis's division occupied the
ground, and I directed Laiboldt to form in column of regiments on the
crest of a low ridge in rear of Carlin's brigade, so as to prevent
Davis's right flank from being turned. The enemy was now feeling
Davis strongly, and I was about sending for Lytle's and Bradley's
brigades when I received an order to move these rapidly to the,
extreme left of the army to the assistance of General Thomas. I rode
hastily back toward their position, but in the meanwhile, they had
been notified by direct orders from McCook, and were moving out at a
double-quick toward the Lafayette road. By this time the enemy had
assaulted Davis furiously in front and flank, and driven him from his
line, and as the confused mass came back, McCook ordered Laiboldt to
charge by deploying to the front. This he did through Davis's broken
ranks, but failed to check the enemy's heavy lines, and finally
Laiboldt's brigade broke also and fell to the rear. My remaining
troops, headed by Lytle, were now passing along the rear of the
ground where this disaster took place--in column on the road--en
route to Thomas, and as the hundreds of fugitives rushed back, McCook
directed me to throw in Lytle's and Bradley's brigades. This was
hastily done, they being formed to the front under a terrible fire.
Scarcely were they aligned when the same horde of Confederates that
had overwhelmed Davis and Laiboldt poured in upon them a deadly fire
and shivered the two brigades to pieces. We succeeded in rallying
them, however, and by a counter attack regained the ridge that
Laiboldt had been driven from, where we captured the colors of the
Twenty-fourth Alabama. We could not hold the ridge, though, and my
troops were driven back with heavy loss, including General Lytle
killed, past the widow Glenn's house, and till I managed to establish
them in line of battle on a range of low hills behind the Dry Valley

During these occurrences General Rosecrans passed down the road
behind my line, and sent word that he wished to see me, but affairs
were too critical to admit of my going to him at once, and he rode on
to Chattanooga. It is to be regretted that he did not wait till I
could join him, for the delay would have permitted him to see that
matters were not in quite such bad shape as he supposed; still, there
is no disguising the fact that at this juncture his army was badly

Shortly after my division had rallied on the low hills already
described, I discovered that the enemy, instead of attacking me in
front, was wedging in between my division and the balance of the
army; in short, endeavoring to cut me off from Chattanooga. This
necessitated another retrograde movement, which brought me back to
the southern face of Missionary Ridge, where I was joined by Carlin's
brigade of Davis's division. Still thinking I could join General
Thomas, I rode some distance to the left of my line to look for a way
out, but found that the enemy had intervened so far as to isolate me
effectually. I then determined to march directly to Rossville, and
from there effect a junction with Thomas by the Lafayette road. I
reached Rossville about o'clock in the afternoon, bringing with me
eight guns, forty-six caissons, and a long ammunition train, the
latter having been found in a state of confusion behind the widow
Glenn's when I was being driven back behind the Dry Valley road.

The head of my column passed through Rossville, appearing upon
Thomas's left about 6 o'clock in the evening, penetrated without any
opposition the right of the enemy's line, and captured several of his
field-hospitals. As soon as I got on the field I informed Thomas of
the presence of my command, and asked for orders. He replied that
his lines were disorganized, and that it would be futile to attack;
that all I could do was to hold on, and aid in covering his
withdrawal to Rossville.

I accompanied him back to Rossville, and when we reached the skirt of
the little hamlet General Thomas halted and we dismounted. Going
into one of the angles of a worm fence near by I took a rail from the
top and put it through the lower rails at a proper height from the
ground to make a seat, and General Thomas and I sat down while, my
troops were moving by. The General appeared very much exhausted,
seemed to forget what he had stopped for, and said little or nothing
of the incidents of the day. This was the second occasion on which I
had met him in the midst of misfortune, for during the fight in the
cedars at Stone River, when our prospects were most disheartening, we
held a brief conversation respecting the line he was then taking up
for the purpose of helping me. At other times, in periods of
inactivity, I saw but little of him. He impressed me, now as he did
in the cedars, his quiet, unobtrusive: demeanor communicating a
gloomy rather than a hopeful view of the situation. This apparent
depression was due no doubt to the severe trial through which he had
gone in the last forty-eight hours, which, strain had exhausted him
very much both physically and mentally. His success in maintaining
his ground was undoubtedly largely influenced by the fact that
two-thirds of the National forces had been sent to his succor, but his
firm purpose to save the army was the mainstay on which all relied
after Rosecrans left the field. As the command was getting pretty
well past, I rose to go in order to put my troops into camp. This
aroused the General, when, remarking that he had a little flask of
brandy in his saddle-holster, he added that he had just stopped for
the purpose of offering me a drink, as he knew I must be very tired.
He requested one of his staff-officers to get the flask, and after
taking a sip himself, passed it to me. Refreshed by the brandy, I
mounted and rode off to supervise the encamping of my division, by no
means an easy task considering the darkness, and the confusion that
existed among the troops that had preceded us into Rossville.

This done, I lay down at the foot of a tree, with my saddle for a
pillow, and saddle-blanket for a cover. Some soldiers near me having
built a fire, were making coffee, and I guess I must have been
looking on wistfully, for in a little while they brought me a
tin-cupful of the coffee and a small piece of hard bread, which I
relished keenly, it being the first food that had passed my lips
since the night before. I was very tired, very hungry, and much
discouraged by what had taken place since morning. I had been
obliged to fight my command under the most disadvantageous
circumstances, disconnected, without supports, without even
opportunity to form in line of battle, and at one time contending
against four divisions of the enemy. In this battle of Chickamauga,
out of an effective strength Of 4,000 bayonets, I had lost 1,517
officers and men, including two brigade commanders. This was not
satisfactory indeed, it was most depressing--and then there was much
confusion prevailing around Rossville; and, this condition of things
doubtless increasing my gloomy reflections, it did not seem to me
that the outlook for the next day was at all auspicious, unless the
enemy was slow to improve his present advantage. Exhaustion soon
quieted all forebodings, though, and I fell into a sound sleep, from
which I was not aroused till daylight.

On the morning of the 21st the enemy failed to advance, and his
inaction gave us the opportunity for getting the broken and
disorganized army into shape. It took a large part of the day to
accomplish this, and the chances of complete victory would have been
greatly in Bragg's favor if he could have attacked us vigorously at
this time. But he had been badly hurt in the two days' conflict, and
his inactivity on the 21st showed that he too had to go through the
process of reorganization. Indeed, his crippled condition began to
show itself the preceding evening, and I have always thought that,
had General Thomas held on and attacked the Confederate right and
rear from where I made the junction with him on the Lafayette road,
the field of Chickamauga would have been relinquished to us; but it
was fated to be otherwise.

Rosecrans, McCook, and Crittenden passed out of the battle when they
went back to Chattanooga, and their absence was discouraging to all
aware of it. Doubtless this had much to do with Thomas's final
withdrawal, thus leaving the field to the enemy, though at an immense
cost in killed and wounded. The night of the 21st the army moved
back from Rossville, and my division, as the rearguard of the
Twentieth Corps, got within our lines at Chattanooga about 8 o'clock
the morning of the 22d. Our unmolested retirement from Rossville
lent additional force to the belief that the enemy had been badly
injured, and further impressed me with the conviction that we might
have held on. Indeed, the battle of Chickamauga was somewhat like
that of Stone River, victory resting with the side that had the grit
to defer longest its relinquishment of the field.

The manoeuvres by which Rosecrans had carried his army over the
Cumberland Mountains, crossed the Tennessee River, and possessed
himself of Chattanooga, merit the highest commendation up to the
abandonment of this town by Bragg on the 8th of September; but I have
always fancied that that evacuation made Rosecrans over-confident,
and led him to think that he could force Bragg south as far as Rome.
After the Union army passed the river and Chattanooga fell into our
hands; we still kept pressing the enemy's communications, and the
configuration of the country necessitated more or less isolation of
the different corps. McCook's corps of three divisions had crossed
two difficult ridges--Sand and Lookout mountains--to Alpine in
Broomtown Valley with intentions against Summerville. Thomas's corps
had marched by the way of Stevens's Gap toward Lafayette, which he
expected to occupy. Crittenden had passed through Chattanooga, at
first directing his march an Ringgold. Thus the corps of the army
were not in conjunction, and between McCook and Thomas there
intervened a positive and aggressive obstacle in the shape of Bragg's
army concentrating and awaiting reinforcement at Lafayette. Under
these circumstances Bragg could have taken the different corps in
detail, and it is strange that he did not, even before receiving his
reinforcements, turn on McCook in Broomtown Valley and destroy him.

Intelligence that Bragg would give battle began to come to us from
various sources as early as the 10th of September, and on the 11th
McCook found that he could not communicate with Thomas by the direct
road through Broomtown Valley; but we did not begin closing in toward
Chattanooga till the 13th, and even then the Twentieth Corps had
before it the certainty of many delays that must necessarily result
from the circuitous and difficult mountain roads which we would be
obliged to follow. Had the different corps, beginning with McCook's,
been drawn in toward Chattanooga between the 8th and 12th of
September, the objective point of the campaign would have remained in
our hands without the battle of Chickamauga, but, as has been seen,
this was not done. McCook was almost constantly on the march day and
night between the 13th and the 19th, ascending and descending
mountains, his men worried and wearied, so that when they appeared on
the battle-field, their fatigued condition operated greatly against
their efficiency. This delay in concentration was also the original
cause of the continuous shifting toward our left to the support of
Thomas, by which manoeuvre Rosecrans endeavored to protect his
communications with Chattanooga, and out of which grew the intervals
that offered such tempting opportunities to Bragg. In addition to
all this, much transpired on the field of battle tending to bring
about disaster. There did not seem to be any well-defined plan of
action in the fighting; and this led to much independence of judgment
in construing orders among some of the subordinate generals. It also
gave rise to much license in issuing orders: too many people were
giving important directions, affecting the whole army, without
authority from its head. In view, therefore, of all the errors that
were committed from the time Chattanooga fell into our hands after
our first crossing the Tennessee, it was fortunate that the Union
defeat was not more complete, that it left in the enemy's possession
not much more than the barren results arising from the simple holding
of the ground on which the engagement was fought.



By 9 o'clock on the morning of September 22 my command took up a
position within the heavy line of intrenchments at Chattanooga, the
greater part of which defenses had been thrown up since the army
commenced arriving there the day before. The enemy, having now
somewhat recovered from the shock of the recent battle, followed
carefully, and soon invested us close into our lines with a parallel
system of rifle-pits. He also began at once to erect permanent lines
of earthworks on Missionary Ridge and to establish himself strongly
on Lookout Mountain. He then sent Wheeler's cavalry north of the
Tennessee, and, aided greatly by the configuration of the ground,
held us in a state of partial siege, which serious rains might
convert into a complete investment. The occupation of Lookout
Mountain broke our direct communication with Bridgeport--our
sub-depot--and forced us to bring supplies by way of the Sequatchie
Valley and Waldron's Ridge of the Cumberland Mountains, over a road
most difficult even in the summer season, but now liable to be
rendered impassable by autumn rains. The distance to Bridgeport by
this circuitous route was sixty miles, and the numerous passes,
coves, and small valleys through which the road ran offered tempting
opportunities, for the destruction of trains, and the enemy was not
slow to take advantage of them. Indeed, the situation was not
promising, and General Rosecrans himself, in communicating with the
President the day succeeding the battle of Chickamauga, expressed
doubts of his ability to hold the gateway of the Cumberland

The position taken up by my troops inside the lines of Chattanooga
was near the old iron-works, under the shadow of Lookout Mountain.
Here we were exposed to a continual fire from the enemy's batteries
for many days, but as the men were well covered by secure though
simple intrenchments, but little damage was done. My own
headquarters were established on the grounds of Mr. William
Crutchfield, a resident of the place, whose devotion to the Union
cause knew no bounds, and who rendered me--and, in fact, at one time
or another, nearly every general officer in the Army of the
Cumberland--invaluable service in the way of information about the
Confederate army. My headquarters camp frequently received shots
from the point of Lookout Mountain also, but fortunately no
casualties resulted from this plunging fire, though, I am free to
confess, at first our nerves were often upset by the whirring of
twenty-pounder shells dropped inconsiderately into our camp at
untimely hours of the night.

In a few days rain began to fall, and the mountain roads by which our
supplies came were fast growing impracticable. Each succeeding train
of wagons took longer to make the trip from Bridgeport, and the draft
mules were dying by the hundreds. The artillery horses would soon go
too, and there was every prospect that later the troops would starve
unless something could be done. Luckily for my division, a company
of the Second Kentucky Cavalry had attached itself to my
headquarters, and, though there without authority, had been left
undisturbed in view of a coming reorganization of the army incidental
to the removal of McCook and Crittenden from the command of their
respective corps, a measure that had been determined upon immediately
after the battle of Chickamauga. Desiring to remain with me, Captain
Lowell H. Thickstun, commanding this company, was ready for any duty
I might find, for him, so I ordered him into the Sequatchie Valley
for the purpose of collecting supplies for my troops, and sent my
scout, Card along to guide him to the best locations. The company
hid itself away in a deep cove in the upper end of the valley, and by
keeping very quiet and paying for everything it took from the people,
in a few days was enabled to send me large quantities of corn for my
animals and food for the officers and men, which greatly supplemented
the scanty supplies we were getting from the sub-depot at Bridgeport.
In this way I carried men and animals through our beleaguerment in
pretty fair condition, and of the turkeys, chickens, ducks, and eggs
sent in for the messes of my officers we often had enough to divide
liberally among those at different headquarters. Wheeler's cavalry
never discovered my detached company, yet the chances of its capture
were not small, sometimes giving much uneasiness; still, I concluded
it was better to run all risks than to let the horses die of
starvation in Chattanooga. Later, after the battle of Missionary
Ridge, when I started to Knoxville, the company joined me in
excellent shape, bringing with it an abundance of food, including a
small herd of beef cattle.

The whole time my line remained near the iron-mills the shelling from
Lookout was kept up, the screeching shots inquisitively asking in
their well-known way, "Where are you? Where are you?" but it is
strange to see how readily, soldiers can become accustomed to the
sound of dangerous missiles under circumstances of familiarity, and
this case was no exception to the rule. Few casualties occurred, and
soon contempt took the place of nervousness, and as we could not
reply in kind on account of the elevation required for our guns, the
men responded by jeers and imprecations whenever a shell fell into
their camp.

Meantime, orders having been issued for the organization of the army,
additional troops were attached to my command, and it became the
Second Division of the Fourth Army Corps, to which Major-General
Gordon Granger was assigned as commander. This necessitated a change
of position of the division, and I moved to ground behind our works,
with my right resting on Fort Negley and my left extending well over
toward Fort Wood, my front being parallel to Missionary Ridge. My
division was now composed of twenty-five regiments, classified into
brigades and demi-brigades, the former commanded by Brigadier-General
G. D. Wagner, Colonel C. G. Harker, and Colonel F. T. Sherman; the
latter, by Colonels Laiboldt, Miller, Wood, Walworth, and Opdyke.
The demi-brigade was an awkward invention of Granger's; but at this
time it was necessitated--perhaps by the depleted condition of our
regiments, which compelled the massing of a great number of
regimental organizations into a division to give it weight and force.

On October 16, 1863, General Grant had been assigned to the command
of the "Military Division of the Mississippi," a geographical area
which embraced the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the
Tennessee, thus effecting a consolidation of divided commands which
might have been introduced most profitably at an earlier date. The
same order that assigned General Grant relieved General Rosecrans,
and placed General Thomas in command of the Army of the Cumberland.
At the time of the reception of the order, Rosecrans was busy with
preparations for a movement to open the direct road to Bridgeport
--having received in the interval, since we came back to Chattanooga,
considerable reinforcement by the arrival in his department of the
Eleventh and Twelfth corps, under General Hooker, from the Army of
the Potomac. With this force Rosecrans had already strengthened
certain important points on the railroad between Nashville and
Stevenson, and given orders to Hooker to concentrate at Bridgeport
such portions of his command as were available, and to hold them in
readiness to advance toward Chattanooga.

On the 19th of October, after turning the command over to Thomas,
General Rosecrans quietly slipped away from the army. He submitted
uncomplainingly to his removal, and modestly left us without fuss or
demonstration; ever maintaining, though, that the battle of
Chickamauga was in effect a victory, as it had ensured us, he said,
the retention of Chattanooga. When his departure became known
deep and almost universal regret was expressed, for he was
enthusiastically esteemed and loved by the Army of the Cumberland,
from the day he assumed command of it until he left it,
notwithstanding the censure poured upon him after the battle of

The new position to which my division had been moved, in consequence
of the reorganization, required little additional labor to strengthen
it, and the routine of fatigue duty and drills was continued as
before, its monotony occasionally broken by the excitement of an
expected attack, or by amusements of various kinds that were
calculated to keep the men in good spirits. Toward this result much
was contributed by Mr. James E. Murdock, the actor, who came down
from the North to recover the body of his son, killed at Chickamauga,
and was quartered with me for the greater part of the time he was
obliged to await the successful conclusion of his sad mission. He
spent days, and even weeks, going about through the division giving
recitations before the camp-fires, and in improvised chapels, which
the men had constructed from refuse lumber and canvas. Suiting his
selections to the occasion, he never failed to excite intense
interest in the breasts of all present, and when circumstances
finally separated him from us, all felt that a debt of gratitude was
due him that could never be paid. The pleasure he gave, and the
confident feeling that was now arising from expected reinforcements,
was darkened, however, by one sad incident. Three men of my division
had deserted their colors at the beginning of the siege and made
their way north. They were soon arrested, and were brought back to
stand trial for the worst offense that can be committed by a soldier,
convicted of the crime, and ordered to be shot. To make the example
effective I paraded the whole division for the execution, and on the
13th of November, in the presence of their former comrades, the
culprits were sent, in accordance with the terms of their sentence,
to render their account to the Almighty. It was the saddest
spectacle I ever witnessed, but there could be no evasion, no
mitigation of the full letter of the law; its timely enforcement was
but justice to the brave spirits who had yet to fight the rebellion
to the end.

General Grant arrived at Chattanooga on October 23, and began at once
to carry out the plans that had been formed for opening the shorter
or river road to Bridgeport. This object was successfully
accomplished by the moving of Hooker's command to Rankin's and
Brown's ferries in concert with a force from the Army of the
Cumberland which was directed on the same points, so by the 27th of
October direct communication with our depots was established. The
four weeks which followed this cheering result were busy with the
work of refitting and preparing for offensive operations as soon as
General Sherman should reach us with his troops from West Tennessee.
During this period of activity the enemy committed the serious fault
of detaching Longstreet's corps--sending it to aid in the siege of
Knoxville in East Tennessee--an error which has no justification
whatever, unless it be based on the presumption that it was
absolutely necessary that Longstreet should ultimately rejoin Lee's
army in Virginia by way of Knoxville and Lynchburg, with a chance of
picking up Burnside en route. Thus depleted, Bragg still held
Missionary Ridge in strong force, but that part of his line which
extended across the intervening valley to the northerly point of.
Lookout Mountain was much attenuated.

By the 18th of November General Grant had issued instructions
covering his intended operations. They contemplated that Sherman's
column, which was arriving by the north bank of the Tennessee, should
cross the river on a pontoon bridge just below the mouth of
Chickamauga Creek and carry the northern extremity of Missionary
Ridge as far as the railroad tunnel; that the Army of the Cumberland
--the centre--should co-operate with Sherman; and that Hooker with a
mixed command should continue to hold Lookout Valley and operate on
our extreme right as circumstances might warrant. Sherman crossed on
the 24th to perform his alloted part of the programme, but in the
meantime Grant becoming impressed with the idea that Bragg was
endeavoring to get away, ordered Thomas to make a strong
demonstration in his front, to determine the truth or falsity of the
information that had been received. This task fell to the Fourth
Corps, and at 12 o'clock on the 23d I was notified that Wood's
division would make a reconnoissance to an elevated point in its
front called Orchard Knob, and that I was to support it with my
division and prevent Wood's right flank from being turned by an
advance of the enemy on Moore's road or from the direction of
Rossville. For this duty I marched my division out of the works
about 2 p.m., and took up a position on Bushy Knob. Shortly after we
reached this point Wood's division passed my left flank on its
reconnoissance, and my command, moving in support of it, drove in the
enemy's picket-line. Wood's took possession of Orchard Knob easily,
and mine was halted on a low ridge to the right of the Knob, where I
was directed by General Thomas to cover my front by a strong line of
rifle-pits, and to put in position two batteries of the Fourth
regular artillery that had joined me from the Eleventh Corps. After
dark Wood began to feel uneasy about his right flank, for a gap
existed between it and my left, so I moved in closer to him, taking
up a line where I remained inactive till the 25th, but suffering some
inconvenience from the enemy's shells.

On the 24th General Sherman made an attack for the purpose of
carrying the north end of Missionary Ridge. His success was not
complete, although at the time it was reported throughout the army to
be so. It had the effect of disconcerting Bragg, however, and caused
him to strengthen his right by withdrawing troops from his left,
which circumstance led Hooker to advance on the northerly face of
Lookout Mountain. At first, with good glasses, we could plainly see
Hooker's troops driving the Confederates up the face of the mountain.
All were soon lost to view in the dense timber, but emerged again on
the open ground, across which the Confederates retreated at a lively
pace, followed by the pursuing line, which was led by a color-bearer,
who, far in advance, was bravely waving on his comrades. The
gallantry of this man elicited much enthusiasm among us all, but as
he was a considerable distance ahead of his comrades I expected to
see his rashness punished at any moment by death or capture. He
finally got quite near the retreating Confederates, when suddenly
they made a dash at him, but he was fully alive to such a move, and
ran back, apparently uninjured, to his friends. About this time a
small squad of men reached the top of Lookout and planted the Stars
and Stripes on its very crest. Just then a cloud settled down on the
mountain, and a heavy bank of fog obscured its whole face.

After the view was lost the sharp rattle of musketry continued some
time, but practically the fight had been already won by Hooker's men,
the enemy only holding on with a rear-guard to assure his retreat
across Chattanooga Valley to Missionary Ridge. Later we heard very
heavy cannonading, and fearing that Hooker was in trouble I sent a
staff-officer to find out whether he needed assistance, which I
thought could be given by a demonstration toward Rossville. The
officer soon returned with the report that Hooker was all right, that
the cannonading was only a part of a little rear-guard fight, two
sections of artillery making all the noise, the reverberations from
point to point in the adjacent mountains echoing and reechoing till
it seemed that at least fifty guns were engaged.

On the morning of the 25th of November Bragg's entire army was
holding only the line of Missionary Ridge, and our troops, being now
practically connected from Sherman to Hooker, confronted it with the
Army of the Cumberland in the centre--bowed out along the front of
Wood's division and mine. Early in the day Sherman, with great
determination and persistence, made an attempt to carry the high
ground near the tunnel, first gaining and then losing advantage, but
his attack was not crowned with the success anticipated. Meanwhile
Hooker and Palmer were swinging across Chattanooga Valley, using me
as a pivot for the purpose of crossing Missionary Ridge in the
neighborhood of Rossville. In the early part of the day I had driven
in the Confederate pickets in my front, so as to prolong my line of
battle on that of Wood, the necessity of continuing to refuse my
right having been obviated by the capture of Lookout Mountain and the
advance of Palmer.

About 2 o'clock orders came to carry the line at the foot of the
ridge, attacking at a signal of six guns. I had few changes or new
dispositions to make. Wagner's brigade, which was next to Wood's
division, was formed in double lines, and Harker's brigade took the
same formation on Wagner's right. Colonel F. T. Sherman's brigade
came on Harker's right, formed in a column of attack, with a front of
three regiments, he having nine. My whole front was covered with a
heavy line of skirmishers. These dispositions made, my right rested
a little distance south of Moore's road, my left joined Wood over
toward Orchard Knob, while my centre was opposite Thurman's house
--the headquarters of General Bragg--on Missionary Ridge. A small
stream of water ran parallel to my front, as far as which the ground
was covered by a thin patch of timber, and beyond the edge of the
timber was an open plain to the foot of Missionary Ridge, varying in
width from four to nine hundred yards. At the foot of the ridge was
the enemy's first line of rifle-pits; at a point midway up its face,
another line, incomplete; and on the crest was a third line, in which
Bragg had massed his artillery.

The enemy saw we were making dispositions for an attack, and in plain
view of my whole division he prepared himself for resistance,
marching regiments from his left flank with flying colors; and
filling up the spaces not already occupied in his intrenchments.
Seeing the enemy thus strengthening himself, it was plain that we
would have to act quickly if we expected to accomplish much, and I
already began to doubt the feasibility of our remaining in the first
line of rifle-pits when we should have carried them. I discussed the
order with Wagner, Harker, and Sherman, and they were similarly
impressed, so while anxiously awaiting the signal I sent Captain
Ransom of my staff to Granger, who was at Fort Wood, to ascertain if
we were to carry the first line or the ridge beyond. Shortly after
Ransom started the signal guns were fired, and I told my brigade
commanders to go for the ridge.

Placing myself in front of Harker's brigade, between the line of
battle and the skirmishers, accompanied by only an orderly so as not
to attract the enemy's fire, we moved out. Under a terrible storm of
shot and shell the line pressed forward steadily through the timber,
and as it emerged on the plain took the double-quick and with fixed
bayonets rushed at the enemy's first line. Not a shot was fired from
our line of battle, and as it gained on my skirmishers they melted
into and became one with it, and all three of my brigades went over
the rifle-pits simultaneously. They then lay down on the face of the
ridge, for a breathing-spell and for protection' from the terrible
fire, of canister and musketry pouring over us from the guns on the
crest. At the rifle-pits there had been little use for the bayonet,
for most of the Confederate troops, disconcerted by the sudden rush,
lay close in the ditch and surrendered, though some few fled up the
slope to the next line. The prisoners were directed to move out to
our rear, and as their intrenchments had now come under fire from the
crest, they went with alacrity, and without guard or escort, toward

After a short pause to get breath the ascent of the ridge began, and
I rode, into the ditch of the intrenchments to drive out a few
skulkers who were hiding there. Just at this time I was joined by
Captain Ransom, who, having returned from Granger, told me that we
were to carry only the line at the base, and that in coming back,
when he struck the left of the division, knowing this interpretation
of the order, he in his capacity as an aide-de-camp had directed
Wagner, who was up on the face of the ridge, to return, and that in
consequence Wagner was recalling his men to the base. I could not
bear to order the recall of troops now so gallantly climbing the hill
step by step, and believing we could take it, I immediately rode to
Wagner's brigade and directed it to resume the attack. In the
meantime Harker's and F. T. Sherman's troops were approaching the
partial line of works midway of the ridge, and as I returned to the
centre of their rear, they were being led by many stands of
regimental colors. There seemed to be a rivalry as to which color
should be farthest to the front; first one would go forward a few
feet, then another would come up to it, the color-bearers vying with
one another as to who should be foremost, until finally every
standard was planted on the intermediate works. The enemy's fire
from the crest during the ascent was terrific in the noise made, but
as it was plunging, it over-shot and had little effect on those above
the second line of pits, but was very uncomfortable for those below,
so I deemed it advisable to seek another place, and Wagner's brigade
having reassembled and again pressed up the ridge, I rode up the face
to join my troops.

As soon as the men saw me, they surged forward and went over the
works on the crest. The parapet of the intrenchment was too high for
my horse to jump, so, riding a short distance to the left, I entered
through a low place in the line. A few Confederates were found
inside, but they turned the butts of their muskets toward me in token
of surrender, for our men were now passing beyond them on both their

The right and right centre of my division gained the summit first,
they being partially sheltered by a depression in the face of the
ridge, the Confederates in their immediate front fleeing down the
southern face. When I crossed the rifle-pits on the top the
Confederates were still holding fast at Bragg's headquarters, and a
battery located there opened fire along the crest; making things most
uncomfortably hot. Seeing the danger to which I was exposed, for I
was mounted, Colonel Joseph Conrad, of the Fifteenth Missouri, ran up
and begged me to dismount. I accepted his excellent advice, and it
probably saved my life; but poor Conrad was punished for his
solicitude by being seriously wounded in the thigh at the moment he
was thus contributing to my safety.

Wildly cheering, the men advanced along the ridge toward Bragg's
headquarters, and soon drove the Confederates from this last
position, capturing a number of prisoners, among them Breckenridge's
and Bates's adjutant-generals, and the battery that had made such
stout resistance on the crest-two guns which were named "Lady
Breckenridge" and "Lady Buckner" General Bragg himself having barely
time to escape before his headquarters were taken.

My whole division had now reached the summit, and Wagner and Harker
--the latter slightly wounded--joined me as I was standing in the
battery just secured. The enemy was rapidly retiring, and though
many of his troops, with disorganized wagon-trains and several pieces
of artillery, could be distinctly seen in much confusion about half a
mile distant in the valley below, yet he was covering them with a
pretty well organized line that continued to give us a desultory
fire. Seeing this, I at once directed Wagner and Harker to take up
the pursuit along Moore's road, which led to Chickamauga Station
--Bragg's depot of supply--and as they progressed, I pushed Sherman's
brigade along the road behind them. Wagner and Harker soon overtook
the rearguard, and a slight skirmish caused it to break, permitting
nine guns and a large number of wagons which were endeavoring to get
away in the stampede to fall into our hands.

About a mile and a half beyond Missionary Ridge, Moore's road passed
over a second ridge or high range of hills, and here the enemy had
determined to make a stand for that purpose, posting eight pieces of
artillery with such supporting force as he could rally. He was
immediately attacked by Harker and Wagner, but the position was
strong, the ridge being rugged and difficult of ascent, and after the
first onset our men recoiled. A staff-officer from Colonel Wood's
demi-brigade informing me at this juncture that that command was too
weak to carry the position in its front, I ordered the Fifteenth
Indiana and the Twenty-Sixth Ohio to advance to Wood's aid, and then
hastening to the front I found his men clinging to the face of the
ridge, contending stubbornly with the rear-guard of the enemy.
Directing Harker to put Opdyke's demi-brigade in on the right, I
informed Wagner that it was necessary to flank the enemy by carrying
the high bluff on our left where the ridge terminated, that I had
designated the Twenty-Sixth Ohio and Fifteenth Indiana for the work,
and that I wished him to join them.

It was now dusk, but the two regiments engaged in the flanking
movement pushed on to gain the bluff. Just as they reached the crest
of the ridge the moon rose from behind, enlarged by the refraction of
the atmosphere, and as the attacking column passed along the summit
it crossed the moon's disk and disclosed to us below a most
interesting panorama, every figure nearly being thrown out in full
relief. The enemy, now outflanked on left and right, abandoned his
ground, leaving us two pieces of artillery and a number of wagons.
After this ridge was captured I found that no other troops than mine
were pursuing the enemy, so I called a halt lest I might become too
much isolated. Having previously studied the topography of the
country thoroughly, I knew that if I pressed on my line of march
would carry me back to Chickamauga station, where we would be in rear
of the Confederates that had been fighting General Sherman, and that
there was a possibility of capturing them by such action; but I did
not feel warranted in marching there alone, so I rode back to
Missionary Ridge to ask for more troops, and upon arriving there I
found Granger in command, General Thomas having gone back to

Granger was at Braggy's late headquarters in bed. I informed him of
my situation and implored him to follow me up with the Army of the
Cumberland, but he declined, saying that he thought we had done well
enough. I still insisting, he told me finally to push on to the
crossing of Chickamauga Creek, and if I, encountered the enemy he
would order troops to my support. I returned to my division about
12 o'clock at night, got it under way, and reached the crossing,
about half a mile from the station, at 2 o'clock on the morning of
the 26th, and there found the bridge destroyed, but that the creek
was fordable. I did not encounter the enemy in any force, but feared
to go farther without assistance. This I thought I might bring up by
practicing a little deception, so I caused two regiments to simulate
an engagement by opening fire, hoping that this would alarm Granger
and oblige him to respond with troops, but my scheme failed. General
Granger afterward told me that he had heard the volleys, but
suspected their purpose, knowing that they were not occasioned by a
fight, since they were too regular in their delivery.

I was much disappointed that my pursuit had not been supported, for I
felt that great results were in store for us should the enemy be
vigorously followed. Had the troops under Granger's command been
pushed out with mine when Missionary Ridge was gained, we could have
reached Chickamauga Station by 12 o'clock the night of the 25th; or
had they been sent even later, when I called for them, we could have
got there by daylight and worked incalculable danger to the
Confederates, for the force that had confronted Sherman did not pass
Chickamauga Station in their retreat till after daylight on the
morning of the 26th.

My course in following so close was dictated by a thorough knowledge
of the topography of the country and a familiarity with its roads,
bypaths, and farm-houses, gained with the assistance of Mr.
Crutchfield; and sure my column was heading in the right direction,
though night had fallen I thought that an active pursuit would almost
certainly complete the destruction of Bragg's army. When General
Grant came by my bivouac at the crossing of Chickamauga Creek on the
26th, he realized what might have been accomplished had the
successful assault on Missionary Ridge been supplemented by vigorous
efforts on the part of some high officers, who were more interested
in gleaning that portion of the battle-field over which my command
had passed than in destroying a panic-stricken enemy.

Although it cannot be said that the result of the two days'
operations was reached by the methods which General Grant had
indicated in his instructions preceding the battle, yet the general
outcome was unquestionably due to his genius, for the manoeuvring of
Sherman's and Hooker's commands created the opportunity for Thomas's
corps of the Army of the Cumberland to carry the ridge at the centre.
In directing Sherman to attack the north end of the ridge, Grant
disconcerted Bragg--who was thus made to fear the loss of his depot
of supplies at Chickamauga Station--and compelled him to resist
stoutly; and stout resistance to Sherman meant the withdrawal of the
Confederates from Lookout Mountain. While this attack was in process
of execution advantage was taken of it by Hooker in a well-planned
and well-fought battle, but to my mind an unnecessary one, for our
possession of Lookout was the inevitable result that must follow from
Sherman's threatening attitude. The assault on Missionary Ridge by
Granger's and Palmer's corps was not premeditated by Grant, he
directing only the line at its base to be carried, but when this fell
into our hands the situation demanded our getting the one at the top

I took into the action an effective force of 6,000, and lost 123
officers and 1,181 men killed and wounded. These casualties speak
louder than words of the character of the fight, and plainly tell
where the enemy struggled most stubbornly for these figures comprise
one-third the casualties of the entire body of Union troops
--Sherman's and all included. My division captured 1,762 prisoners
and, in all, seventeen pieces of artillery. Six of these guns I
turned over with caissons complete; eleven were hauled off the field
and appropriated by an officer of high rank--General Hazen. I have
no disposition to renew the controversy which grew out of this
matter. At the time the occurrence took place I made the charge in a
plain official report, which was accepted as correct by the corps and
army commanders, from General Granger up to General Grant. General
Hazen took no notice of this report then, though well aware of its
existence. Nearly a quarter of a century later, however, he
endeavored to justify his retention of the guns by trying to show
that his brigade was the first to reach the crest of Missionary
Ridge, and that he was therefore entitled to them. This claim of
being the first to mount the ridge is made by other brigades than
Hazen's, with equal if not greater force, so the absurdity of his
deduction is apparent:

NOTE: In a book published by General Hazen in 1885, he endeavored to
show, by a number of letters from subordinate officers of his
command, written at his solicitation from fifteen to twenty years
after the occurrence, that his brigade was the first to mount
Missionary Ridge, and that it was entitled to possess these guns.
The doubtful character of testimony dimmed by the lapse of many years
has long been conceded, and I am content to let the controversy stand
the test of history, based on the conclusions of General Grant, as he
drew them from official reports made when the circumstances were
fresh in the minds of all.

General Grant says: "To Sheridan's prompt movement, the Army of the
Cumberland and the nation are indebted for the bulk of the capture of
prisoners, artillery, and small-arms that day. Except for his prompt
pursuit, so much in this way would not have been accomplished."

General Thomas says: "We captured all their cannon and ammunition
before they could be removed or destroyed. After halting a few
moments to reorganize the troops, who had become somewhat scattered
in the assault of the hill, General Sheridan pushed forward in
pursuit, and drove those in his front who had escaped capture across
Chickamauga Creek."

"When within ten yards of the crest, our men seemed to be thrown
forward as if by some powerful engine, and the old flag was planted
firmly and surely on the last line of works of the enemy, followed by
the men, taking one battery of artillery."

...."I pushed men up to the second line of works as fast as possible;
on and on, clear to the top, and over the ridge they went, to the
hollow beyond, killing and wounding numbers of the enemy as we
advanced, and leaving the rebel battery in our rear. We captured
great numbers of prisoners, and sent them to the rear without guards,
as we deemed the pursuit of the enemy of greater importance....
"I cannot give too much praise to Captain Powers, Company "H,"
Lieutenant Smith, Company "K," Lieutenant Gooding, Company "A," and
Second Lieutenant Moser, Company "G," for their assistance, and for
the gallant manner in which they encouraged their men up the side of
the mountain, and charging the enemy's works right up to the muzzles
of their guns."

...."The first on the enemy's works, and almost simultaneously, were
Lieutenant Clement, Company "A," Captain Stegner, Company "I,"
Captain Bacon, Company "G," and Captain Leffingwell, with some of
their men. The enemy was still in considerable force behind their
works; but, for some unaccountable reason, they either fled or
surrendered instantly upon the first few of our men reaching them
--not even trying to defend their battery, which was immediately
captured by Captain Stegner."

...."In connection with other regiments of this brigade, we assisted
in capturing several pieces of artillery, a number of caissons, and a
great quantity of small-arms."

...."At the house known as Bragg's headquarters, the enemy were
driven from three guns, which fell into our hands."

...."I ordered the command to storm the ridge, bringing up the
Fifteenth Indiana and Ninety-seventh Ohio, which had not yet been
engaged, although suffering from the enemy's artillery. The result
is a matter of history, as we gained the ridge, capturing artillery,
prisoners, and small-arms; to what amount, however, I do not know, as
we pushed on after the enemy as soon as I had re-formed the command.
....Captain Tinney, with his usual gallantry, dashed up the line with
the first troops, and with the aid of an orderly (George Dusenbury,
Fifteenth Indiana), turned the loaded gun of the enemy on his
retreating ranks."

...."Our captures amounted to prisoners not counted, representing
many different regiments; several pieces of artillery, and some

...."As the regiment reached the top of the ridge and swept for.
ward, the right passed through, without stopping to take possession,
the battery at General Bragg's headquarters that had fired so
venomously during the whole contest."

...."In passing to the front from Missionary Ridge, we saw several
pieces of artillery which had been abandoned by the enemy, though I
did not leave any one in charge of them."

...."I immediately organized my regiment, and while so doing
discovered a number of pieces of artillery in a ravine on my left. I
sent Lieutenant Stewart, of Company A, to see if these guns which the
enemy had abandoned could not be turned upon them. He returned and
reported them to be four ten-pound Parrotts and two brass Napoleons;
also that it would require a number of men to place them in position.
I ordered him to report the same to General Wagner, and ask
permission, but before receiving a reply was ordered by you to move
forward my regiment on the left of the Fifty-Eighth Indiana

...."My right and Colonel Sherman's left interlocked, so to speak, as
we approached the summit, and it was near this point that I saw the
first part of my line gain the crest. This was done by a few brave
men of my own and Colonel Sherman's command driving the enemy from
his intrenchments. The gap thus opened, our men rushed rapidly in,
and the enemy, loth to give up their position, still remained, firing
at my command toward the left, and the battery in front of the house
known as General Bragg's headquarters was still firing at the troops,
and was captured by our men while the gunners were still at their
...."We captured and sent to division and corps headquarters 503
prisoners and a large number of small-arms. In regard to the number
of pieces of artillery, it will probably be difficult to reconcile
the reports of my regimental commanders with the reports of other
regiments and brigades who fought so nobly with my own command, and
who alike are entitled to share the honors and glories of the day.
More anxious to follow the enemy than to appropriate trophies already
secured, we pushed to the front, while the place we occupied on
ascending the hill was soon occupied by other troops, who, I have
learned, claim the artillery as having fallen into their own hands.
It must therefore remain with the division and corps commanders, who
knew the relative position of each brigade and division, to accord to
each the trophies to which they are due.
...."From my personal observation I can claim a battery of six guns
captured by a portion of my brigade."

...."My command captured Bragg's headquarters, house, and the six
guns which were near there; one of these I ordered turned upon the
enemy, which was done with effect."

...."The point at which the centre of my regiment reached the crest
was at the stable to the left of the house said to be Bragg's
headquarters, and immediately in front of the road which leads down
the southern slope of the ridge. One piece of the abandoned battery,
was to the left of this point, the remainder to the right, near by."

...."The position in which my regiment found itself was immediately
in front of a battery, which belched forth a stream of canister upon
us with terrible rapidity. In addition to this, the enemy, whenever
driven from other points, rallied around this battery, and defended
it with desperation. It cost a struggle to take it; but we finally
succeeded, and the colors of the Sixty-fifth Ohio were the first
planted upon the yet smoking guns. Captain Smith, of my regiment,
was placed in charge of the captured battery, which consisted of 5
guns, 3 caissons, and 17 horses."

...."Perceiving that the ridge across which my regiment extended was
commanded to the very crest by a battery in front, also by those to
right and left, I directed the men to pass up the gorges on either
side. About forty men, with Captain Parks and Lieutenant Stinger,
passed to the left, the balance to the right, and boldly charged on,
till, foremost with those of other regiments, they stood on the
strongest point of the enemy's works, masters alike of his guns and
position.... Captain Parks reports his skirmish-line to have charged
upon and captured one gun, that otherwise would have been hauled

...."The right of the regiment rested on the left of the road, where
it crossed the rebel fortification, leading up the hill toward
Bragg's headquarters. We took a right oblique direction through a
peach orchard until arriving at the woods and logs on the side of the
ridge, when I ordered the men to commence firing, which they did with
good effect, and continued it all the way up until the heights were
gained. At this point the left of the regiment was near the right of
the house, and I claim that my officers and men captured two large
brass pieces, literally punching the cannoniers from their guns.
Privates John Fregan and Jasper Patterson, from Company "A," rushed
down the hill, captured one caisson, with a cannonier and six horses,
and brought them back."

...."The regiment, without faltering, finally, at about 4.30 P.M.,
gained the enemy's works in conjunction with a party of the
Thirty-sixth Illinois, who were immediately on our right. The
regiment, or a portion of it, proceeded to the left, down the ridge,
for nearly or quite a quarter of a mile capturing three or four pieces
of cannon, driving the gunners from them."



The day after the battle of Missionary Ridge I was ordered in the
evening to return to Chattanooga, and from the limited supply of
stores to be had there outfit my command to march to the relief of
Knoxville, where General Burnside was still holding out against the
besieging forces of General Longstreet. When we left Murfreesboro'
in the preceding June, the men's knapsacks and extra clothing, as
well as all our camp equipage, had been left behind, and these
articles had not yet reached us, so we were poorly prepared for a
winter campaign in the mountains of East Tennessee. There was but
little clothing to be obtained in Chattanooga, and my command
received only a few overcoats and a small supply of India-rubber
ponchos. We could get no shoes, although we stood in great need of
them, for the extra pair with which each man had started out from
Murfreesboro' was now much the worse for wear. The necessity for
succoring Knoxville was urgent, however, so we speedily refitted as
thoroughly as was possible with the limited means at hand. My
division teams were in very fair condition in consequence of the
forage we had procured in the Sequatchie Valley, so I left the train
behind to bring up clothing when any should arrive in Chattanooga.

Under these circumstances, on the 29th of November the Fourth Corps
(Granger's) took up the line of march for Knoxville, my men carrying
in their haversacks four days' rations, depending for a further
supply of food on a small steamboat loaded with subsistence stores,
which was to proceed up the Tennessee River and keep abreast of the

Not far from Philadelphia, Tennessee, the columns of General
Sherman's army, which had kept a greater distance from the river than
Granger's corps, so as to be able to subsist on the country, came in
toward our right and the whole relieving force was directed on
Marysville, about fifteen miles southwest of Knoxville. We got to
Marysville December 5, and learned the same day that Longstreet had
shortly before attempted to take Knoxville by a desperate assault,
but signally failing, had raised the siege and retired toward Bean's
Station on the Rutledge, Rogersville, and Bristol road, leading to
Virginia. From Marysville General Sherman's troops returned to
Chattanooga, while Granger's corps continued on toward Knoxville, to
take part in the pursuit of Longstreet.

Burnside's army was deficient in subsistence, though not to the
extent that we had supposed before leaving Chattanooga. It had eaten
out the country in the immediate vicinity of Knoxville, however;
therefore my division did not cross the Holstein River, but was
required, in order to maintain itself, to proceed to the region of
the French Broad River. To this end I moved to Sevierville, and
making this village my headquarters, the division was spread out over
the French Broad country, between Big Pigeon and Little Pigeon
rivers, where we soon had all the mills in operation, grinding out
plenty of flour and meal. The whole region was rich in provender
of all kinds, and as the people with rare exceptions were
enthusiastically loyal, we in a little while got more than enough
food for ourselves, and by means of flatboats began sending the
surplus down the river to the troops at Knoxville.

The intense loyalty of this part of Tennessee exceeded that of any
other section I was in during the war. The people could not do too
much to aid the Union cause, and brought us an abundance of
everything needful. The women were especially loyal, and as many of
their sons and husbands, who had been compelled to "refugee" on
account of their loyal sentiments, returned with us, numbers of the
women went into ecstasies of joy when this part of the Union army
appeared among them. So long as we remained in the French Broad
region, we lived on the fat of the land, but unluckily our stay was
to be of short duration, for Longstreet's activity kept the
department commander in a state of constant alarm.

Soon after getting the mills well running, and when the shipment of
their surplus product down the river by flatboats had begun, I was
ordered to move to Knoxville, on account of demonstrations by
Longstreet from the direction of Blain's crossroads. On arriving at
Knoxville, an inspection of my command, showed that the shoes of many
of the men were entirely worn out, the poor fellows having been
obliged to protect their feet with a sort of moccasin, made from
their blankets or from such other material as they could procure.
About six hundred of the command were in this condition, plainly not
suitably shod to withstand the frequent storms of sleet and snow.
These men I left in Knoxville to await the arrival of my train, which
I now learned was en route from Chattanooga with shoes, overcoats,
and other clothing, and with the rest of the division proceeded to
Strawberry Plains, which we reached the latter part of December.

Mid-winter was now upon us, and the weather in this mountain region
of East Tennessee was very cold, snow often falling to the depth of
several inches. The thin and scanty clothing of the men afforded
little protection, and while in bivouac their only shelter was the
ponchos with which they had been provided before leaving Chattanooga;
there was not a tent in the command. Hence great suffering resulted,
which I anxiously hoped would be relieved shortly by the arrival of
my train with supplies. In the course of time the wagons reached
Knoxville, but my troops derived little comfort from this fact, for
the train was stopped by General Foster, who had succeeded Burnside
in command of the department, its contents distributed pro rata to
the different organizations of the entire army, and I received but a
small share. This was very disappointing, not to say exasperating,
but I could not complain of unfairness, for every command in the army
was suffering to the same extent as mine, and yet it did seem that a
little forethought and exertion on the part of some of the other
superior officers, whose transportation was in tolerable condition,
might have ameliorated the situation considerably. I sent the train
back at once for more clothing, and on its return, just before
reaching Knoxville, the quartermaster in charge, Captain Philip
Smith, filled the open spaces in the wagons between the bows and load
with fodder and hay, and by this clever stratagem passed it through
the town safe and undisturbed as a forage train. On Smith's arrival
we lost no time in issuing the clothing, and when it had passed into
the hands of the individual soldiers the danger of its appropriation
for general distribution, like the preceding invoice, was very

General Foster had decided by this time to move his troops to
Dandridge for the twofold purpose of threatening the enemy's left and
of getting into a locality where we could again gather subsistence
from the French Broad region. Accordingly we began an advance on the
15th of January, the cavalry having preceded us some time before.
The Twenty-third Corps and Wood's division of the Fourth Corps
crossed the Holstein River by a bridge that had been constructed at
Strawberry Plains. My division being higher up the stream, forded
it, the water very deep and bitter cold, being filled with slushy
ice. Marching by way of New Market, I reached Dandridge on the 17th,
and here on my arrival met General Sturgis, then commanding our
cavalry. He was on the eve of setting out to, "whip the enemy's
cavalry," as he said, and wanted me to go along and see him do it. I
declined, however, for being now the senior officer present, Foster,
Parke, and Granger having remained at Knoxville and Strawberry
Plains, their absence left me in command, and it was necessary that I
should make disposition of the infantry when it arrived. As there
were indications of a considerable force of the enemy on the
Russellville road I decided to place the troops in line of battle, so
as to be prepared for any emergency that might arise in the absence
of the senior officers, and I deemed it prudent to supervise
personally the encamping of the men. This disposition necessarily
required that some of the organizations should occupy very
disagreeable ground, but I soon got all satisfactorily posted with
the exception of General Willich, who expressed some discontent at
being placed beyond the shelter of the timber, but accepted the
situation cheerfully when its obvious necessity was pointed out to

Feeling that all was secure, I returned to my headquarters in the
village with the idea that we were safely established in ease of
attack, and that the men would now have a good rest if left
undisturbed; and plenty to eat, but hardly had I reached my own camp
when a staff-officer came post-haste from Sturgis with the
information that he was being driven back to my lines, despite the
confident invitation to me (in the morning) to go out and witness the
whipping which was to be given to the enemy's cavalry. Riding to the
front, I readily perceived that the information was correct, and I
had to send a brigade of infantry out to help Sturgis, thus relieving
him from a rather serious predicament. Indeed, the enemy was present
in pretty strong force, both cavalry and infantry, and from his
vicious attack on Sturgis it looked very much as though he intended
to bring on a general engagement.

Under such circumstances I deemed it advisable that the responsible
commanders of the army should be present, and so informed them. My
communication brought Parke and Granger to the front without delay,
but Foster could not come, since the hardships of the winter had
reopened an old wound received during the Mexican War, and brought on
much suffering. By the time Parke and Granger arrived, however, the
enemy, who it turned out was only making a strong demonstration to
learn the object of our movement on Dandridge, seemed satisfied with
the results of his reconnoissance, and began falling back toward
Bull's Gap. Meanwhile Parke and Granger concluded that Dandridge was
an untenable point, and hence decided to withdraw a part of the army
to Strawberry Plains; and the question of supplies again coming up,
it was determined to send the Fourth Corps to the south side of the
French Broad to obtain subsistence, provided we could bridge the
river so that men could get across the deep and icy stream without

I agreed to undertake the construction of a bridge on condition that
each division should send to the ford twenty-five wagons with which
to make it. This being acceded to, Harker's brigade began the work
next morning at a favorable point a few miles down the river. As my
quota of wagons arrived, they were drawn into the stream one after
another by the wheel team, six men in each wagon, and as they
successively reached the other side of the channel the mules were
unhitched, the pole of each wagon run under the hind axle of the one
just in front, and the tailboards used so as to span the slight space
between them. The plan worked well as long as the material lasted,
but no other wagons than my twenty-five coming on the ground, the
work stopped when the bridge was only half constructed. Informed of
the delay and its cause, in sheer desperation I finished the bridge
by taking from my own division all the wagons needed to make up the

It was late in the afternoon when the work was finished, and I began
putting over one of my brigades; but in the midst of its crossing
word came that Longstreet's army was moving to attack us, which
caused an abandonment of the foraging project, and orders quickly
followed to retire to Strawberry Plains, the retrograde movement to
begin forthwith. I sent to headquarters information of the plight I
was in--baggage and supplies on the bank and wagons in the stream
--begged to know what was to become of them if we were to hurry off at
a moment's notice, and suggested that the movement be delayed until I
could recover my transportation. Receiving in reply no assurances
that I should be relieved from my dilemma--and, in fact, nothing
satisfactory--I determined to take upon myself the responsibility of
remaining on the ground long enough to get my wagons out of the river;
so I sent out a heavy force to watch for the enemy, and with the
remainder of the command went to work to break up the bridge. Before
daylight next morning I had recovered everything without interference
by Longstreet, who, it was afterward ascertained, was preparing to
move east toward Lynchburg instead of marching to attack us; the small
demonstration against Dandridge, being made simply to deceive us as to
his ultimate object. I marched to Strawberry Plains unmolested, and
by taking the route over Bay's Mountain, a shorter one than that
followed by the main body of our troops, reached the point of
rendezvous as soon as the most of the army, for the road it followed
was not only longer, but badly cut up by trains that had recently
passed over it.

Shortly after getting into camp, the beef contractor came in and
reported that a detachment of the enemy's cavalry had captured my
herd of beef cattle. This caused me much chagrin at first, but the
commissary of my division soon put in an appearance, and assured me
that the loss would not be very disastrous to us nor of much benefit
to the enemy, since the cattle were so poor and weak that they could
not be driven off. A reconnoissance in force verified the
Commissary's statement. From its inability to travel, the herd,
after all efforts to carry it off had proved ineffectual, had been
abandoned by its captors.

After the troops from Chattanooga arrived in the vicinity of
Knoxville and General Sherman had returned to Chattanooga, the
operations in East Tennessee constituted a series of blunders,
lasting through the entire winter; a state of affairs doubtless due,
in the main, to the fact that the command of the troops was so
frequently changed. Constant shifting of responsibility from one to
another ensued from the date that General Sherman, after assuring
himself that Knoxville was safe, devolved the command on Burnside.
It had already been intimated to Burnside that he was to be relieved,
and in consequence he was inactive and apathetic, confining his
operations to an aimless expedition whose advance extended only as
far as Blain's crossroads, whence it was soon withdrawn. Meanwhile
General Foster had superseded Burnside, but physical disabilities
rendered him incapable of remaining in the field, and then the chief
authority devolved on Parke. By this time the transmission of power
seemed almost a disease; at any rate it was catching, so, while we
were en route to Dandridge, Parke transferred the command to Granger.
The latter next unloaded it on me, and there is no telling what the
final outcome would have been had I not entered a protest against a
further continuance of the practice, which remonstrance brought
Granger to the front at Dandridge.

While the events just narrated were taking place, General Grant had
made a visit to Knoxville--about the last of December--and arranged
to open the railroad between there and Chattanooga, with a view to
supplying the troops in East Tennessee by rail in the future, instead
of through Cumberland Gap by a tedious line of wagon-trains. In
pursuance of his plan the railroad had already been opened to Loudon,
but here much delay occurred on account of the long time it took to
rebuild the bridge over the Tennessee. Therefore supplies were still
very scarce, and as our animals were now dying in numbers from
starvation, and the men were still on short allowance, it became
necessary that some of the troops east of Knoxville should get nearer
to their depot, and also be in a position to take part in the coming
Georgia campaign, or render assistance to General Thomas, should
General Johnston (who had succeeded in command of the Confederate
army) make any demonstration against Chattanooga. Hence my division
was ordered to take station at Loudon, Tennessee, and I must confess
that we took the road for that point with few regrets, for a general
disgust prevailed regarding our useless marches during the winter.

At this time my faithful scout Card and his younger brother left me,
with the determination, as I have heretofore related, to avenge their
brother's death. No persuasion could induce Card to remain longer,
for knowing that my division's next operation would be toward
Atlanta, and being ignorant of the country below Dalton, he
recognized and insisted that his services would then become
practically valueless.

At Loudon, where we arrived January 27, supplies were more plentiful,
and as our tents and extra clothing reached us there in a few days,
every one grew contented and happy. Here a number of my regiments,
whose terms of service were about to expire, went through the process
of "veteranizing," and, notwithstanding the trials and hardships of
the preceding nine months, they re-enlisted almost to a man.

When everything was set in motion toward recuperating and refitting
my troops, I availed myself of the opportunity during a lull that
then existed to take a short leave of absence--a privilege I had not
indulged in since entering the service in 1853. This leave I spent
in the North with much benefit to my physical condition, for I was
much run down by fatiguing service, and not a little troubled by
intense pain which I at times still suffered from my experience in
the unfortunate hand-car incident on the Cumberland Mountains the
previous July. I returned from leave the latter part of March,
rejoining my division with the expectation that the campaign in that
section would begin as early as April.

On the 12th of March, 1864, General Grant was assigned to the command
of the armies of the United States, as general-in-chief. He was
already in Washington, whither he had gone to receive his commission
as lieutenant-general. Shortly after his arrival there, he commenced
to rearrange the different commands in the army to suit the plans
which he intended to enter upon in the spring, and out of this grew a
change in my career. Many jealousies and much ill-feeling, the
outgrowth of former campaigns, existed among officers of high grade
in the Army of the Potomac in the winter of 1864, and several general
officers were to be sent elsewhere in consequence. Among these,
General Alfred Pleasonton was to be relieved from the command of the
cavalry, General Grant having expressed to the President
dissatisfaction that so little had hitherto been accomplished by that
arm of the service, and I was selected as chief of the cavalry corps
of the Army of the Potomac, receiving on the night of the 23d of
March from General Thomas at Chattanooga the following telegram:

"MARCH 23, 1864.

"Lieutenant-General Grant directs that Major-General Sheridan
immediately repair to Washington and report to the Adjutant-General
of the Army.

Major-General, Chief-of-Staff."

I was not informed of the purpose for which I was to proceed to
Washington, but I conjectured that it meant a severing of my
relations with the Second Division, Fourth Army Corps. I at once set
about obeying the order, and as but little preparation was necessary,
I started for Chattanooga the next day, without taking any formal
leave of the troops I had so long commanded. I could not do it; the
bond existing between them and me had grown to such depth of
attachment that I feared to trust my emotions in any formal parting
from a body of soldiers who, from our mutual devotion, had long
before lost their official designation, and by general consent within
and without the command were called "Sheridan's Division." When I
took the train at the station the whole command was collected on the
hill-sides around to see me off. They had assembled spontaneously,
officers and men, and as the cars moved out for Chattanooga they
waved me farewell with demonstrations of affection.

A parting from such friends was indeed to be regretted. They had
never given me any trouble, nor done anything that could bring aught
but honor to themselves. I had confidence in them, and I believe
they had in me. They were ever steady, whether in victory or in
misfortune, and as I tried always to be with them, to put them into
the hottest fire if good could be gained, or save them from
unnecessary loss, as occasion required, they amply repaid all my care
and anxiety, courageously and readily meeting all demands in every
emergency that arose.

In Kentucky, nearly two years before, my lot had been cast with about
half of the twenty-five regiments of infantry that I was just
leaving, the rest joining me after Chickamauga. It was practically a
new arm of the service to me, for although I was an infantry officer,
yet the only large command which up to that time I had controlled was
composed of cavalry, and most of my experience had been gained in
this arm of the service. I had to study hard to be able to master
all the needs of such a force, to feed and clothe it and guard all
its interests. When undertaking these responsibilities I felt that
if I met them faithfully, recompense would surely come through the
hearty response that soldiers always make to conscientious exertion
on the part of their superiors, and not only that more could be
gained in that way than from the use of any species of influence, but
that the reward would be quicker. Therefore I always tried to look
after their comfort personally; selected their camps, and provided
abundantly for their subsistence, and the road they opened for me
shows that my work was not in vain. I regretted deeply to have to
leave such soldiers, and felt that they were sorry I was going, and
even now I could not, if I would, retain other than the warmest
sentiments of esteem and the tenderest affection for the officers and
men of "Sheridan's Division," Army of the Cumberland.

On reaching Chattanooga I learned from General Thomas the purpose for
which I had been ordered to Washington. I was to be assigned to the
command of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The
information staggered me at first, for I knew well the great
responsibilities of such a position; moreover, I was but slightly
acquainted with military operations in Virginia, and then, too, the
higher officers of the Army of the Potomac were little known to me,
so at the moment I felt loth to undergo the trials of the new
position. Indeed, I knew not a soul in Washington except General
Grant and General Halleck, and them but slightly, and no one in
General Meade's army, from the commanding general down, except a few
officers in the lower grades, hardly any of whom I had seen since
graduating at the Military Academy.

Thus it is not much to be wondered at that General Thomas's
communication momentarily upset me. But there was no help for it, so
after reflecting on the matter a little I concluded to make the best
of the situation. As in Virginia I should be operating in a field
with which I was wholly unfamiliar, and among so many who were
strangers, it seemed to me that it would be advisable to have, as a
chief staff-officer, one who had had service in the East, if an
available man could be found. In weighing all these considerations
in my mind, I fixed upon Captain James W. Forsyth, of the Eighteenth
Infantry, then in the regular brigade at Chattanooga--a dear friend
of mine, who had served in the Army of the Potomac, in the Peninsula
and Antietam campaigns. He at once expressed a desire to accept a
position on my staff, and having obtained by the next day the
necessary authority, he and I started for Washington, accompanied by
Lieutenant T. W. C. Moore, one of my aides, leaving behind Lieutenant
M. V. Sheridan, my other aide, to forward our horses as soon as they
should be sent down to Chattanooga from Loudon, after which he was to
join me.



Accompanied by Captain Forsyth and Lieutenant Moore, I arrived in
Washington on the morning of April, 4, 1864, and stopped at Willard's
Hotel, where, staying temporarily, were many officers of the Army of
the Potomac en route to their commands from leave at the North.
Among all these, however, I was an entire stranger, and I cannot now
recall that I met a single individual whom I had ever before known.

With very little delay after reaching my hotel I made my way to
General Halleck's headquarters and reported to that officer, having
learned in the meantime that General Grant was absent from the city.
General Halleck talked to me for a few minutes, outlining briefly the
nature and duties of my new command, and the general military
situation in Virginia. When he had finished all he had to say about
these matters, he took me to the office of the Secretary of War, to
present me to Mr. Stanton. During the ceremony of introduction, I
could feel that Mr. Stanton was eying me closely and searchingly,
endeavoring to form some estimate of one about whom he knew
absolutely nothing, and whose career probably had never been called
to his attention until General Grant decided to order me East, after
my name had been suggested by General Halleck in an interview the two
generals had with Mr. Lincoln. I was rather young in appearance
--looking even under than over thirty-three years--but five feet five
inches in height, and thin almost to emaciation, weighing only one
hundred and fifteen pounds. If I had ever possessed any
self-assertion in manner or speech, it certainly vanished in the
presence of the imperious Secretary, whose name at the time was the
synonym of all that was cold and formal. I never learned what Mr.
Stanton's first impressions of me were, and his guarded and rather
calculating manner gave at this time no intimation that they were
either favorable or unfavorable, but his frequent commendation in
after years indicated that I gained his goodwill before the close of
the war, if not when I first came to his notice; and a more intimate
association convinced me that the cold and cruel characteristics
popularly ascribed to him were more mythical than real.

When the interview with the Secretary was over, I proceeded with
General Halleck to the White House to pay my respects to the
President. Mr. Lincoln received me very cordially, offering both his
hands, and saying that he hoped I would fulfill the expectations of
General Grant in the new command I was about to undertake, adding
that thus far the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac had not done all
it might have done, and wound up our short conversation by quoting
that stale interrogation so prevalent during the early years of the
war, "Who ever saw a dead cavalryman?" His manner did not impress
me, however, that in asking the question he had meant anything beyond
a jest, and I parted from the President convinced that he did not
believe all that the query implied.

After taking leave I separated from General Halleck, and on returning
to my hotel found there an order from the War Department assigning me
to the command of the Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac. The next
morning, April 5, as I took the cars for the headquarters of the Army
of the Potomac, General Grant, who had returned to Washington the
previous night from a visit to his family, came aboard the train on
his way to Culpeper Court House, and on the journey down I learned
among other things that he had wisely determined to continue
personally in the field, associating himself with General Meade's
army; where he could supervise its movements directly, and at the
same time escape the annoyances which, should he remain in
Washington, would surely arise from solicitude for the safety of the
Capital while the campaign was in progress. When we reached Brandy
Station, I left the train and reported to General Meade, who told me
that the headquarters of the Cavalry Corps were some distance back
from the Station, and indicated the general locations of the
different divisions of the corps, also giving me, in the short time I
remained with him, much information regarding their composition.

I reached the Cavalry Corps headquarters on the evening of April 5,
1864, and the next morning issued orders assuming command. General
Pleasonton had but recently been relieved, and many of his
staff-officers were still on duty at the headquarters awaiting the
arrival of the permanent commander. I resolved to retain the most of
these officers on my staff, and although they were all unknown to me
when I decided on this course, yet I never had reason to regret it,
nor to question the selections made by my predecessor.

The corps consisted of three cavalry divisions and twelve batteries
of horse artillery. Brigadier-General A. T. A. Torbert was in
command of the First Division, which was composed of three brigades;
Brigadier-General D. McM. Gregg, of the Second, consisting of two
brigades; and Brigadier-General J. H. Wilson was afterward assigned
to command the Third, also comprising two brigades: Captain Robinson,
a veteran soldier of the Mexican war, was chief of artillery, and as
such had a general supervision of that arm, though the batteries,
either as units or in sections, were assigned to the different
divisions in campaign.

Each one of my division commanders was a soldier by profession.
Torbert graduated from the Military Academy in 1855, and was
commissioned in the infantry, in which arm he saw much service on the
frontier, in Florida, and on the Utah expedition. At the beginning
of hostilities in April, 1861, he was made a colonel of New Jersey
volunteers, and from that position was promoted in the fall of 1862
to be a brigadier-general, thereafter commanding a brigade of
infantry in the Army of the Potomac till, in the redistribution of
generals, after Grant came to the East, he was assigned to the First
Cavalry Division.

Gregg graduated in 1855 also, and was appointed to the First
Dragoons, with which regiment, up to the breaking out of the war, he
saw frontier service extending from Fort Union, New Mexico, through
to the Pacific coast, and up into Oregon and Washington Territories,
where I knew him slightly. In the fall of 1861 he became colonel of
the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and a year later was made a
brigadier-general. He then succeeded to the command of a division of
cavalry, and continued in that position till the close of his

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