Report of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, U.S. Army, commanding Military Division of the Mississippi, including operations since October 18, with orders and correspondence, November 19-29, congratulatory orders, and the thanks of Congress.
NOVEMBER 23-27, 1863.--The Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXI/2 [S# 55]
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In Field, Chattanooga, Tenn., December 23, 1863
Col. J. C. KELTON,
COLONEL: In pursuance of General Orders, No. 337, War Department, of date Washington, October 16, 1863, delivered to me by the Secretary of War at Louisville, Ky., on the 18th of the same month, I assumed command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, comprising the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, and telegraphed the order assuming command, together with the order of the War Department referred to, to Maj. Gen. A. E. Burnside, at Knoxville, and to Maj. Gen. W. S. Rosecrans, at Chattanooga. My action in telegraphing these orders to Chattanooga in advance of my arrival there, was induced by information furnished me by the Secretary of War, of the difficulty with which the Army of the Cumberland had to contend in supplying itself over a long mountainous and almost impassable road from Stevenson, Ala., to Chattanooga, Tenn., and his fears that General Rosecrans would fall back to the north side of the Tennessee River. To guard further against the possibility of the Secretary's fears, I also telegraphed to Major-General Thomas on the 19th of October, from Louisville, to hold Chattanooga, at all hazards; that I would be there as soon as possible. To which he replied on same date, "I will hold the town till we starve."
Proceeding directly to Chattanooga, I arrived there on the 23d of October, and found that General Thomas had immediately, on being placed in command of the Department of the Cumberland, ordered the concentration of Major-General Hooker's command at Bridgeport, preparatory to securing the river and main wagon road between that place and Brown's Ferry, immediately below Lookout Mountain. The next morning after my arrival at Chattanooga, in company with Thomas and Brig. Gen. W. F. Smith, chief engineer, I made a reconnaissance of Brown's Ferry and the hills on the south side of the river and at the mouth of Lookout Valley. After the reconnaissance, the plan agreed upon was for Hooker to cross at Bridgeport to the south side of the river with all the force that could be spared from the railroad, and move on the main wagon road by way of Whiteside's to Wauhatchie, in Lookout Valley. Maj. Gen. J. M. Palmer was to proceed by the only practicable route north of the river from his position opposite Chattanooga to a point on the north bank of the Tennessee River and opposite Whiteside's, there to cross to the south side to hold the road passed over by Hooker.
In the meantime, and before the enemy could be apprised of our intentions, a force under the direction of Brig. Gen. W. F. Smith, chief engineer, was to be thrown across the river at or near Brown's Ferry to seize the range of hills at the mouth of Lookout Valley, covering the Brown's Ferry road, and orders were given accordingly It was known that the enemy held the north end of Lookout Valley with a brigade of troops, and the road leading around the foot of the mountain from their main camps in Chattanooga Valley to Lookout Valley. Holding these advantages he would have had little difficulty in concentrating a sufficient force to have defeated or driven Hooker back. To remedy this the seizure of the range of hills at the mouth of Lookout Valley and covering the Brown's Ferry road was deemed of the highest importance. This, by the use of pontoon bridges at Chattanooga and Brown's Ferry, would secure to us by the north bank of the river, across Moccasin Point, a shorter line by which to re-enforce our troops in Lookout Valley than the narrow and tortuous road around the foot of Lookout Mountain afforded the enemy for re-enforcing his. The force detailed for this expedition consisted of 4,000 men, under command of General Smith, chief engineer, 1,800 of which, under Brig. Gen. W. B. Hazen, in sixty pontoon-boats, containing 30 armed men each, floated quietly from Chattanooga past the enemy's pickets to the foot of Lookout Mountain on the night of the 27th of October, landed on the south side of the river at Brown's Ferry, surprised the enemy's pickets, stationed there, and seized the hills covering the ferry, without the loss of a man killed and but 4 or 5 wounded. The remainder of the forces, together with the materials for a bridge, was moved by the north bank of the river across Moccasin Point to Brown's Ferry without attracting the attention of the enemy, and before day dawned the whole force was ferried to the south bank of the river, and the almost inaccessible heights rising from Lookout Valley and its outlet to the river and below the mouth of Lookout Creek were secured.
By 10 a.m. an excellent pontoon bridge was laid across the river at Brown's Ferry, thus securing to us the end of the desired road nearest the enemy's forces, and the shorter line over which to pass troops if a battle became inevitable. Positions were taken up by our troops from which they could not have been driven except by vastly superior forces, and then only with great loss to the enemy. Our artillery was placed in such position as to completely command the road leading from the enemy's main camps in Chattanooga Valley to Lookout Valley. On the 28th, Hooker emerged into Lookout Valley at Wauhatchie by the direct road from Bridgeport, by way of Whiteside's, to Chattanooga with the Eleventh Army Corps, under Major-General Howard, and Geary's division of the Twelfth Army Corps, and proceeded to take up positions for the defense of the road from Whiteside's, over which he had marched, and also the road leading from Brown's Ferry to Kelley's Ferry, throwing the left of Howard's corps forward to Brown's Ferry. The division that started under command of Palmer for Whiteside's reached its destination and took up the position intended in the original plan of this movement. These movements, so successfully executed, secured to us two comparatively good lines by which to obtain supplies from the terminus of the railroad at Bridgeport, namely, the main wagon road by way of Whiteside's, Wauhatchie, and Brown's Ferry, distant but 28 miles, and the Kelley's Ferry and Brown's Ferry road, which, by the use of the river from Bridgeport to Kelley's Ferry, reduced the distance for wagoning to but 8 miles.
Up to this period our forces at Chattanooga were practically invested, the enemy's line extending from the Tennessee River above Chattanooga to the river at and below the point of Lookout Mountain below Chattanooga, with the south bank of the river picketed to near Bridgeport, his main force being fortified in Chattanooga Valley, at the foot of and on Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, and a brigade in Lookout Valley. True, we held possession of the country north of the river, but it was from 60 to 70 miles over the most impracticable of roads to any supplies. The artillery horses and mules had become so reduced by starvation that they could not have been relied on for moving anything. An attempt at retreat must have been with men alone, and with only such supplies as they could carry. A retreat would have been almost certain annihilation, for the enemy, occupying positions within gunshot of and overlooking our very fortifications, would unquestionably have pursued our retreating forces. Already more than 10,000 animals had perished in supplying half rations to the troops by the long and tedious route from Stevenson and Bridgeport to Chattanooga, over Walden's Ridge. They could not have been supplied another week. The enemy was evidently fully apprised of our condition in Chattanooga, and of the necessity of our establishing a new and shorter line by which to obtain supplies, if we could not maintain our position; and so fully was he impressed of the importance of keeping from us these lines--lost to him by surprise and in a manner he little dreamed of--that in order to regain possession of them a night attack was made by a portion of Longstreet's forces on a portion of Hooker's troops (Geary's division, of the Twelfth Corps) the first night after Hooker's arrival in the valley. This attack failed, however, and Howard's corps, which was moving to the assistance of Geary, finding that it was not required by him, carried the remaining heights held by the enemy west of Lookout Creek. This gave us quiet possession of the lines of communication heretofore described south of the Tennessee River. Of these operations I cannot speak more particularly, the sub-reports having been sent to Washington without passing through my hands. By the use of two steam-boats, one of which had been left at Chattanooga by the enemy and fell into our hands, and one that had been built by us at Bridgeport, plying between Bridgeport and Kelley's Ferry, we were enabled to obtain supplies with but 8 miles of wagoning. The capacity of the railroad and steam-boats was not sufficient, however, to supply all the wants of the army, but actual suffering was prevented. Ascertaining from scouts and deserters that Bragg was detaching Longstreet from the front and moving him in the direction of Knoxville, Tenn., evidently to attack Burnside, and feeling strongly the necessity of some move that would compel him to retain all his forces and recall those he had detached, directions were given for a movement against Missionary Ridge, with a view to carrying it, and threatening the enemy's communication with Longstreet, of which I informed Burnside by telegraph on the 7th of November. After a thorough reconnaissance of the ground, however, it was deemed utterly impracticable to make the move until Sherman could get up, because of the inadequacy of our forces and the condition of the animals then at Chattanooga, and I was forced to leave Burnside for the present to contend against superior forces of the enemy until the arrival of Sherman with his men and means of transportation. In the meantime reconnaissances were made and plans matured for operations.
Dispatches were sent to Sherman informing him of the movement of Longstreet and the necessity of his immediate presence at Chattanooga.
On the 14th of November, I telegraphed to Burnside as follows:
Maj. Gen. AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE:
Your dispatch and Dana's just received. Being there you can tell better how to resist Longstreet's attack than I can direct. With your showing you had better give up Kingston at the last moment and save the most productive part of your possessions. Every arrangement is now made to throw Sherman's force across the river, just at and below the mouth of Chickamauga Creek, as soon as it arrives. Thomas will attack on his left at the same time, and together it is expected to carry Missionary Ridge, and from there push a force on to the railroad between Cleveland and Dalton. Hooker will at the same time attack, and, if he can, carry Lookout Mountain. The enemy now seems to be looking for an attack on his left flank. This favors us. To further confirm this, Sherman's advance division will march direct from Whiteside's to Trenton. The remainder of his force will pass over a new road just made from Whiteside's to Kelley's Ferry, thus being concealed from the enemy, and leave him to suppose the whole force is going up Lookout Valley. Sherman's advance has only just reached Bridgeport. The rear will only reach there on the 16th. This will bring it to the 19th as the earliest day for making the combined movement as desired. Inform me if you think you can sustain yourself until that time. I can hardly conceive of the enemy's breaking through at Kingston and pushing for Kentucky. If they should, however, a new problem would be left for solution. Thomas has ordered a division of cavalry to the vicinity of Sparta. I will ascertain if they have started and inform you. It will be entirely out of the question to send you 10,000 men, not because they cannot be spared, but how could they be fed after they got even one day east of here?
On the 15th, having received from the General-in-Chief a dispatch (of date the 14th) in reference to Burnside's position, the danger of his abandonment of East Tennessee unless immediate relief was afforded, and the terrible misfortune such a result would be to our arms, and also dispatches from Mr. C. A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, and Colonel Wilson, of my staff, sent at the instance of General Burnside, informing me more fully of the condition of affairs as detailed to them by him, I telegraphed him as follows:
November 15, 1863.
Maj. Gen. AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE:
I do not know how to impress on you the necessity of holding on to East Tennessee in strong enough terms. According to the dispatches of Mr. Dana and Colonel Wilson, it would seem that you should, if pressed to do it, hold on to Knoxville and that portion of the valley which you will necessarily possess. Holding to that point, should Longstreet move his whole force across the Little Tennessee, an effort should be made to cut his pontoons on that stream, even if it sacrificed half of the cavalry of the Ohio Army. By holding on and placing Longstreet between the Little Tennessee and Knoxville, he should not be allowed to escape with an army capable of doing anything this winter. I can hardly conceive of the necessity of retreating from East Tennessee. If I did so at all it would be after losing most of the army, and then necessity would suggest the route. I will not attempt to lay out a line of retreat. Kingston, looking at the map, I thought of more importance than any one point in East Tennessee. But my attention being called more closely to it, I can see that it might be passed by, and Knoxville and the rich valley about it possessed, ignoring that place entirely. I should not think it advisable to concentrate a force near Little Tennessee to resist the crossing, if it would be in danger of capture, but I would harass and embarrass progress in every way possible, reflecting on the fact that the Army of the Ohio is not the only army to resist the onward progress of the enemy.
Previous reconnaissances, made first by Brig. Gen. W. F. Smith, chief engineer, and afterward by Thomas, Sherman, and myself, in company with him, of the country opposite Chattanooga and north of the Tennessee River, extending as far east as the mouth of the North Chickamauga, and also of the mouth of the South Chickamauga and the north end of Missionary Ridge, so far as the same could be made from the north bank of the river without exciting suspicion on the part of the enemy, showed good roads from Brown's Ferry up the river and back of the first range of hills opposite Chattanooga, and out of view of the enemy s positions. Troops crossing the bridge at Brown's Ferry could be seen and their numbers estimated by the enemy, but not seeing anything further of them as they passed up in rear of these hills, he would necessarily be at a loss to know whether they were moving to Knoxville or held on the north side of the river for future operations at Chattanooga. It also showed that the north end of Missionary Ridge was imperfectly guarded, and that the banks of the river from the mouth of South Chickamauga Creek westward to his main line in front of Chattanooga was watched only by a small cavalry picket. This determined the plan of operations indicated in my dispatch of the 14th to Burnside. Upon further consideration (the great object being to mass all the force possible against one given point, namely. Missionary Ridge, converging toward the north end of it) it was deemed best to change the original plan, so far as it contemplated Hooker s attack on Lookout Mountain, which would give us Howard's corps of his command to aid in this purpose, and on the 18th the following instructions were given Thomas:
Maj. Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS:
All preparations should be made for attacking the enemy's position on Missionary Ridge by Saturday at daylight. Not being provided with a map giving names of roads, spurs of the mountains, and other places, such definite instructions cannot be given as might be desirable. However, the general plan, you understand, is for Sherman, with the force brought with him, strengthened by a division from your command, to effect a crossing of the Tennessee River just below the mouth of Chickamauga, his crossing to be protected by artillery from the heights on the north bank of the river (to be located by your chief of artillery); and to secure the heights from the northern extremity to about the railroad tunnel before the enemy can concentrate against him. You will co-operate with Sherman. The troops in Chattanooga Valley should be well concentrated on your left flank, leaving only the necessary force to defend fortifications on the right and center, and a movable column of one division in readiness to move whenever ordered. This division should show itself as threateningly as possible on the most practicable line for making an attack up the valley. Your effort then will be to form a junction with Sherman, making your advance well toward the northern end of Missionary Ridge, and moving as near simultaneously with him as possible. The juncture once formed, and the ridge carried, communications will be at once established between the two armies by roads on the south bank of the river. Farther movements will then depend on those of the enemy.
Lookout Valley, I think, will be easily held by Geary's division and what troops you may still have there belonging to the old Army of the Cumberland. Howard's corps can then be held in readiness to act either with you at Chattanooga or with Sherman. It should be marched on Friday night to a position on the north side of the river, not lower down than the first pontoon bridge, and there held in readiness for such orders as may become necessary. All these troops will be provided with two days' cooked rations in haversacks and 100 rounds of ammunition on the person of each infantry soldier. Special care should be taken by all officers to see that ammunition is not wasted or unnecessarily fired away. You will call on the engineer department for such preparations as you may deem necessary for carrying your infantry and artillery over the creek.
A copy of these instructions was furnished Sherman, with the following communication:
Maj. Gen. WILLIAM T. SHERMAN:
Inclosed herewith I send you copy of instructions to Major-General Thomas. You having been over the ground in person, and having heard the whole matter discussed, further instructions will not be necessary for you. It is particularly desirable that a force should be got through to the railroad between Cleveland and Dalton, and Longstreet thus cut off from communication with the south; but being confronted by a large force here, strongly located, it is not easy to tell how this is to be effected until the result of our first effort is known. I will add, however, what is not shown in my instructions to Thomas, that a brigade of cavalry has been ordered here which, if it arrives in time, will be thrown across the Tennessee above Chickamauga, and may be able to make the trip to Cleveland or thereabouts.
Sherman's forces were moved from Bridgeport by way of White-side's, one division threatening the enemy's left flank in the direction of Trenton, crossing at Brown's Ferry, up the north bank of the Tennessee to near the mouth of South Chickamauga, where they were kept concealed from the enemy until they were ready to force a crossing. Pontoons for throwing a bridge across the river were built and placed in North Chickamauga, near its mouth, a few miles farther up, without attracting the attention of the enemy. It was expected we would be able to effect the crossing on the 21st of November, but owing to heavy rains Sherman was unable to get up until the afternoon of the 23d, and then only with Generals Morgan L. Smith's, John E. Smith's, and Hugh Ewing's divisions, of the Fifteenth Corps, under command of Maj. Gen. Frank P. Blair, of his army. The pontoon bridges at Brown's Ferry having been broken up by the drift consequent upon the rise in the river and rafts sent down by the enemy, the other division (Osterhaus') was detained on the south side, and was on the night of the 23d ordered, unless it could get across by 8 o'clock the next morning, to report to Hooker, who was instructed, in this event, to attack Lookout Mountain, as contemplated in the original plan.
A deserter from the rebel army, who came into our lines on the night of the 22d of November, reported Bragg falling back. The following letter from Bragg, received by flag of truce on the 20th, tended to confirm this report:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
In the Field, November 20, 1863.
Maj. Gen. U. S. GRANT,
Commanding U.S. Forces. &c., Chattanooga:
General: As there may still be some non-combatants in Chattanooga, I deem it proper to notify you that prudence would dictate their early withdrawal. I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Not being willing that he should get his army off in good order, Thomas was directed, early on the morning of the 23d, to ascertain the truth or falsity of this report by driving in his pickets and making him develop his lines. This he did with the troops stationed at Chattanooga and Howard's corps (which had been brought into Chattanooga because of the apprehended danger to our pontoon bridges from the rise in the river and the enemy's rafts) in the most gallant style, driving the enemy from his first line and securing to us what is known as Indian Hill or Orchard Knoll, and the low range of hills south of it. These points were fortified during the night and artillery put in position on them. The report of this deserter was evidently not intended to deceive, but he had mistaken Bragg's movements. It was afterward ascertained that one division of Buckner's corps had gone to join Longstreet, and a second division of the same corps had started but was brought back in consequence of our attack. On the night of the 23d of November Sherman, with three divisions of his army, strengthened by Davis' division, of Thomas', which had been stationed along on the north bank of the river, convenient to where the crossing was to be effected, was ready for operations. At an hour sufficiently early to secure the south bank of the river, just below the mouth of South Chickamauga, by dawn of day, the pontoons in North Chickamauga were loaded with 30 armed men each, who floated quietly past the enemy's pickets, landed, and captured all but 1 of the guard, 20 in number, before the enemy was aware of the presence of a foe. The steam-boat Dunbar, with a barge in tow, after having finished ferry-ing across the river the horses procured from Sherman with which to move Thomas' artillery, was sent up from Chattanooga to aid in crossing artillery and troops, and by daylight of the morning of the 24th of November 8,000 men were on the south side of the Tennessee and fortified in rifle-trenches. By 12 m. the pontoon bridges across the Tennessee and the Chickamauga were laid, and the remainder of Sherman's force crossed over, and at half past 3 p.m. the whole of the northern extremity of Missionary Ridge, to near the railroad tunnel, was in Sherman's possession. During the night he fortified the position thus secured, making it equal, if not superior, in strength to that held by the enemy. By 3 o'clock of the same day Colonel Long, with his brigade of cavalry, of Thomas' army, crossed to the south side of the Tennessee and to the mouth of South Chickamauga Creek, and made a raid on the enemy's lines of communications. He burned Tyner's Station, with many stores, cut the railroad at Cleveland, captured near a hundred wagons and over 200 prisoners. His own loss was small. Hooker carried out the part assigned him for this day equal to the most sanguine expectations. With Geary's division (Twelfth Corps) and two brigades of Stanley's division (Fourth Corps), of Thomas' army, and Osterhaus' division (Fifteenth Corps), of Sherman's army, he scaled the western slope of Lookout Mountain, drove the enemy from his rifle-pits on the northern extremity and slope of the mountain, capturing many prisoners, without serious loss. Thomas, having done on the 23d with his troops in Chattanooga what was intended for the 24th, bettered and strengthened his advanced positions during the day, and pushed the Eleventh Corps forward along the south bank of the Tennessee River, across Citico Creek, one brigade of which, with Howard in person, reached Sherman just as he had completed the crossing of the river. When Hooker emerged in sight of the northern extremity of Lookout Mountain, Carlin's brigade, of the Fourteenth Corps, was ordered to cross Chattanooga Creek and form a junction with him. This was effected late in the evening, and after considerable fighting. Thus on the night of the 24th our forces maintained an unbroken line, with open communications, from the north end of Lookout Mountain, through Chattanooga Valley, to the north end of Missionary Ridge. On the morning of the 25th, Hooker took possession of the mountain top with a small force, and with the remainder of his command, in pursuance of orders, swept across Chattanooga Valley, now abandoned by the enemy, to Rossville. In this march he was detained four hours building a bridge across Chattanooga Creek. From Rossville he ascended Missionary Ridge and moved northward toward the center of the now shortened line. Sherman's attack upon the enemy's most northern and most vital point was vigorously kept up all day. The assaulting column advanced to the very rifle-pits of the enemy, and held their position firmly and without wavering. The right of the assaulting column being exposed to the danger of being turned, two brigades were sent to its support. These advanced in the most gallant manner over an open field on the mountain side to near the works of the enemy, and lay there partially covered from fire for some time. The right of these two brigades rested near the head of a ravine or gorge in the mountain side, which the enemy took advantage of, and sent troops, covered from view, below them and to their right rear. Being unexpectedly fired into from this direction, they fell back across the open field below them, and reformed in good order in the edge of the timber. The column which attacked them was speedily driven to its intrenchments by the assaulting column proper. Early on the morning of the 25th the remainder of Howard's corps reported to Sherman, and constituted a part of his forces during that day's battle, the pursuit, and subsequent advance for the relief of Knoxville. Sherman's position not only threatened the right flank of the enemy, but, from his occupying a line across the mountain and to the railroad bridge, across Chickamauga Creek, his rear and stores at Chickamauga Station. This caused the enemy to mass heavily against him. This movement of his being plainly seen from the position I occupied on Orchard Knoll, Baird's division, of the Fourteenth Corps, was ordered to Sherman's support, but receiving a note from Sherman informing me that he had all the force necessary, Baird was put in position on Thomas' left. The appearance of Hooker's column was at this time anxiously looked for and momentarily expected, moving north on the ridge with his left in Chattanooga Valley and his right east of the ridge. His approach was intended as the signal for storming the ridge in the center with strong columns, but the time necessarily consumed in the construction of the bridge near Chattanooga Creek detained him to a later hour than was expected. Being satisfied from the latest information from him that he must by this time be on his way from Rossville, though not yet in sight, and discovering that the enemy in his desperation to defeat or resist the progress of Sherman was weakening his center on Missionary Ridge, determined me to order the advance at once. Thomas was accordingly directed to move forward his troops, constituting our center, Baird's division (Fourteenth Corps), Wood's and Sheridan's divisions (Fourth Corps), and Johnson's division (Fourteenth Corps), with a double line of skirmishers thrown out, followed in easy supporting distance by the whole force, and carry the rifle-pits at the foot of Missionary Ridge, and when carried to reform his lines on the rifle-pits with a view to carrying the top of the ridge. These troops moved forward, drove the enemy from the rifle-pits at the base of the ridge like bees-from a hive--stopped but a moment until the whole were in line--and commenced the ascent of the mountain from right to left almost simultaneously, following closely the retreating enemy, without further orders. They encountered a fearful volley of grape and canister from near thirty pieces of artillery and musketry from still well-filled rifle-pits on the summit of the ridge. Not a waver, however, was seen in all that long line of brave men. Their progress was steadily onward until the summit was in their possession. In this charge the casualties were remarkably few for the fire encountered. I can account for this only on the theory that the enemy's surprise at the audacity of such a charge caused confusion and purposeless aiming of their pieces. The nearness of night, and the enemy still resisting the advance of Thomas' left, prevented a general pursuit that night, but Sheridan pushed forward to Mission Mills.
The resistance on Thomas' left being overcome, the enemy abandoned his position near the railroad tunnel in front of Sherman, and by 12 o'clock at night was in full retreat, and the whole of his strong positions on Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga Valley, and Missionary Ridge were in our possession, together with a large number of prisoners, artillery, and small-arms. Thomas was directed to get Granger, with his corps, and detachments enough from other commands, including the force available at Kingston, to make 20,000 men, in readiness to go to the relief of Knoxville, upon the termination of the battle at Chattanooga, these troops to take with them four days' rations, and a steam-boat loaded with rations to follow up the river. On the evening of the 25th November, orders were given to both Thomas and Sherman to pursue the enemy early the next morning, with all their available force, except that under Granger intended for the relief of Knoxville. On the morning of the 26th, Sherman advanced by way of Chickamauga Station, and Thomas' forces, under Hooker and Palmer, moved on the Rossville road toward Graysville and Ringgold. The advance of Thomas' forces reached Ringgold on the morning of the 27th, where they found the enemy in strong position in the gorge and on the crest of Taylor's Ridge, from which they dislodged him, after a severe fight, in which we lost heavily in valuable officers and men, and continued the pursuit that day until near Tunnel Hill, a distance of 20 miles from Chattanooga. Davis' division (Fourteenth Corps), of Sherman's column, reached Ringgold about noon of the same day. Howard's corps was sent by Sherman to Red Clay to destroy the railroad between Dalton and Cleveland, and thus cut off Bragg's communication with Longstreet, which was successfully accomplished. Had it not been for the imperative necessity of relieving Burnside, I would have pursued the broken and demoralized retreating enemy as long as supplies could have been found in the country. But my advices were that Burnside's supplies would only last until about the 3d of December. It was already getting late to afford the necessary relief. I determined, therefore, to pursue no farther. Hooker was directed to hold the position he then occupied until the night of the 30th, but to go no farther south at the expense of a fight. Sherman was directed to march to the railroad crossing of the Hiwassee, to protect Granger's flank until he was across that stream, and to prevent further re-enforcements being sent by that route into East Tennessee. Returning from the front on the 28th, I found that Granger had not yet got off, nor would he have the number of men I had directed. Besides, he moved with reluctance and complaints. I therefore determined, notwithstanding the fact that two divisions of Sherman's forces had marched from Memphis, and had gone into battle immediately on their arrival at Chattanooga, to send him with his command, and orders in accordance therewith were sent him at Calhoun to assume command of the troops with Granger, in addition to those with him, and proceed, with all possible dispatch, to the relief of Burnside. General Elliott had been ordered by Thomas, on the 26th of November, to proceed from Alexandria, Tenn., to Knoxville, with his cavalry division, to aid in the relief of that place. The approach of Sherman caused Longstreet to raise the siege of Knoxville, and retreat eastward on the night of the 4th of December. Sherman succeeded in throwing his cavalry into Knoxville on the night of the 3d. Sherman arrived in person at Knoxville on the 6th, and, after a conference with Burnside in reference to "organizing a pursuing force large enough to either overtake the enemy and beat him or drive him out of the State," Burnside was of the opinion that the corps of Granger, in conjunction with his own command, was sufficient for that purpose, and on the 7th addressed to Sherman the following communication:
KNOXVILLE, December 7, 1863.
I desire to express to you and to your command my most hearty thanks and gratitude for your promptness in coming to our relief during the siege of Knoxville, and I am satisfied that your approach served to raise the siege. The emergency having passed, I do not deem for the present any other portion of your command but the corps of General Granger necessary for operations in this section, and inasmuch as General Grant has weakened the forces immediately with him in order to relieve us, thereby- rendering the position of General Thomas less secure, I deem it advisable that all the troops now here, save those commanded by General Granger, should return at once to within supporting distance of the forces in front of Bragg's army. In behalf of my command, I again desire to thank you and your command for the kindness you have done us.
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Leaving Granger's command at Knoxville, Sherman, with the remainder of his forces, returned by slow marches to Chattanooga. I have not spoken more particularly of the result of the pursuit of the enemy because the more detailed reports accompanying this do the subject justice. For the same reason I have not particularized the part taken by corps and division commanders. To Brig. Gen. W. F. Smith, chief engineer, I feel under more than ordinary obligations for the masterly manner in which he discharged the duties of his position, and desire that his services be fully appreciated by higher authorities.
The members of my staff discharged faithfully their respective duties, for which they have my warmest thanks.
Our losses in these battles were 757 killed, 4,529 wounded, and 330 missing; total, 5,616. The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was probably less than ours, owing to the fact that he was protected by his intrenchments, while our men were without cover. At Knoxville, however, his loss was many times greater than ours, making his entire loss at the two places equal to, if not exceeding, ours. We captured 6,142 prisoners, of whom 239 were commissioned officers, 40 pieces of artillery, 69 artillery carriages and caissons, and 7,000 stand of small-arms.
The Armies of the Cumberland and the Tennessee, for their energy and unsurpassed bravery in the three days' battle of Chattanooga and the pursuit of the enemy, their patient endurance in marching to the relief of Knoxville, and the Army of the Ohio for its masterly defense of Knoxville and repeated repulses of Longstreet's assaults upon that place, are deserving of the gratitude of their country.
I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, U.S. Army.
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