24 Nov. '63
(The Battle Above The Clouds)
On the other flank , while Sherman was making his initial attack, Hooker had moved out with three divisions. His mission was to get into Chattanooga Valley and occupy Rossville Gap. Grant realized that once the battle started, Hooker's previous mission of protecting the vital line of communication down Lookout Valley had no further importance. Accordingly, Howard's Corps had been withdrawn from Hooker's Command and moved to Chattanooga before the battle started. Grant originally planned to move Hooker's other two divisions to Chattanooga so they could advance on Rossville Gap with having to fight their way past Lookout Mountain. But difficulties the pontoon bridge made this impossible, and resulted in Hooker's having three divisions instead of two. Grant accordingly, ordered to attack around Lookout Mountain.
The Confederates were holding Lookout Mountain to guard against an enemy approach from Trenton. Sherman had, in fact, sent Ewing's division toward that place as a diversion; it rejoined his main body for the attack on Missionary Ridge.
Lookout Mountain drops precipitously several hundred feet from a plateau nearly 1,100 feet above the river. The top was occupied by tow Confederate brigades. Walthall's brigade (Cheatham) blocked the narrow passage around the northern face of the mountain, and Moore's brigade of the same division was posted up the slope from it.
Geary's division, reinforced by one Cruft's brigades, crossed Lookout Creek above the Wauhatchie at about 8 A.M. Osterhaus and the rest of Cruft's division followed. Contact was made at about 10 o'clock, and a sharp fight took place around Craven's Farm ("the White House"). A heavy fog covered the scene as both sides brought up reinforcements. About noon the defenders were driven from Craven's Farm to a new position about 400 yards away. Here they were reinforced by the two brigades from the plateau, and held this position from 2 o'clock until after midnight, when they were ordered to withdraw. The name "Battle above the Clouds" was given to this engagement after the war. The next morning a party from the 8th Ky. scaled the heights to plant the Stars and Stripes at a point where it was dramatically visible to the rest of Grant's forces in the valley below.
Source: "The Civil War Dictionary" by Mark M. Boatner III
This page last updated 02/03/02
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