Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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they were confined in cells ; whence
seven of them, Morgan included, dug
out and escaped;" changing their
clothes in the sentry-box on the outer
wall, and separating so soon as they
were free. Morgan and a Capt.
Hines proceeded at once to the Cin-
cinnati d^pdt, got upon the train,
which they Imew would start at 1
A. M., and were carried by it very
near to Cincinnati,- when they pot on
the brakes at the rear of the train,
checked its speed, jumped off, and
ran to the Ohio, across which they
were ferried to Kentucky, and went
at once to a house where shelter and
refreshment awaited them. Thence,
Morgan made his way through Ken-
tucky and Tennessee to northern
Georgia ; losing his companion by the
way, but finding himself at last
among those who did not fear to
avow their sympathy with his cause,
and their a<hniration for his charac-
ter. Thence, he proceeded to Bich-
mond, where he was greeted with
an ovation, and made a speech, re*



"July 28.



"Nov. 16,



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408



THB AICBEIOAK OONFLIOT.



oounting his adyentnres, and proiest-
ing that the telegraphic blazon which
appeared at the nick of time of hifa
having just arrived at Toronto, was
"purely fortuitous,^' and that "his
escape was made entirely without
assistance from any one outside'' the
prison — an assertion not needed to
incite and justify a strong presump-
tion that the fact was otherwise.
Thence, he returned to service in
East Tennessee ; where he was killed
the next year.

Gen. Bosecrans's remaining inac-
tive at Murfreesboro' till late in the
Summer of 1863 was dictated by
imperative necessity. His supplies
were mainly drawn from Louisville,
far distant, over a single railroad,
traversing a semi-hostile country, and
requiring heavy guards at every dd-
pdt, bridge, and trestle, to save it
from destruction by Rebel raiders or
incendiaries. Though his army was
stronger than that which confronted
him under Bragg, its cavalry was
weaker;" as had been proved at
Stone river, and in other collisions.
Though his best eflforts were given to
strengthening it, he could hardly ob-
tain horses so fast as they were worn
out or lost through the superior ac-
tivity, vigor, or audacity, of the Bebel
partisans, Forrest, Wheeler, and Mor-
gan. But, at length — ^Morgan hav-
ing departed on his great raid into
the Free States, and Bosecrans hav-
ing obtained, since Winter, about
6,000 beasts of burden, partly by im-
pressment — ^he felt justified in giving
the order to advance.

Of Bragg's infantry, 18,000, under



Bishop Polk, held a very strong po-
sition, formidably intrenched, at Shet
byville, where over five miles of earth-
works had been constructed, mainly
by the labor of 8,000 slaves, drawn
from Alabama and Georgia. Behind
this, 18 miles distant, and behind a
difficult mountain r^ion, traversed
by bad roads, carried for miles
through gorges so narrow that two
wagons could scarcely pass, was an^
other intrenched camp at TuUahoma:
BEardee^s corps, 12,000 strong, at
Wartrace, on the right of Shelby vilk,
covering the railroad and holding
the mountain gaps in its fr^nt. B^
side these, Bragg had a division un-
der Buckner, at or near Knoxvilb
and Chattanooga. Perhaps 40,000
was the extent of t}^e force he would
be able to concentrate for a battle ;
while .Bosecrans had not less than
60,000; but then, if the former fell
back, destroying the railroads and
bridges, he would naturally be
strengthened; while Bosecrans, pro-
tecting his conmiunications, would
be steadily becoming weaker.

Bosecrans advanced" with intent
to fiank the enemy's right, concentrar
ting on Manchester, and thence men-
acing his communications below Tut
lahoma in such manner as to compel
him to come out of his strongholdB
and fight a battle on ground which
gave him no advantage. To do thifl)
it was necessary to deceive Bragg by
a feint of assaulting him in his works
at ShelbyviUe ; thus compelling him
to concentrate and uncover the diffi-
cult mountain passes on his rights
through which otlr main advance
must be made. And, on the day



* HaUeck, in his report, says he lent Bose-
craiifl no more horses, because he could not ob-
tain forage for those he already had. Rosecrans
responds that there was forage enough in the



country ; jet his horses suffered for it, becauM
his cavaky was not strong enough to go out and
get it It is not neoessary to add that his Ib tba
better reason. " Jime 24



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EOSBCBAKS ADYAN0B8 TO SHBLBTYILLE.



409



our movement commenced, it b^an
to Btorm, and continued to rain for
seventeen Buccessive days, swelling
the mountain rills to torrents, and
gullying the roads so badly that one
division wag three days in marching
21 miles, though unopposed and mak-
ing the utmost exertions.

Our army moved on three main
roads : the 14th corps, Qen. Thomas,
in the center, toward Mai^chester;
the 21st, Gen. Crittenden, on our
left, toward McMinnville ; the 20th,
Gen. A. D. McCook, directly on
Shelby viDe; Gen. Gordon Granger's
reserve division supporting both the
14th and 20th. CWttenden's move-
ment was to be made last, with one
brigade of cavalry under Turchin;
all the rest, under Stanley, was
tiirown out on our right.

Every movement directed, though
Impeded and somewhat delayed by
the nearly impassable state of the
roads, was successfully made. Lib-
erty gap, in McCook's front, was car-
ried by a vigorous advance of John-
son's division; while Hoover's gap,
in Thomas's front, was surprised by
Wilder's mounted brigade of Rey-
nolds's division, ai^d held against
heavy odds till Beynolds could bring
up his entire division and secure it.
On the 27th, Bosecrans had his head-
quarters in Manchester, with Thom-
as's corps around him; Sheridan,
with the right division of McCook's
corps, arriving next morning, and
the rest of that corps during the 29th.
The enemy, deceived and overpow-
ered, had been forced back, with lit-
tle more than smart, persistent skir-
mishing, to Fairfield. Manchester
itself had been surprised by Wilder
on the morning of that day.



Granger had started ** from Triune,
on our extreme right, moving by Ro-
ver and Middleton, pushing back the
enemy, by lively skirmishes at either
place, to Christiana, on the road from
Murfreesboro' to Shelbyville, where
he was joined by Stanley; advan-
cing'* thence on Guy's gap,, covering
Shelbyville, which was at first firmly
held by the enemy; but, after two
hours' skirmishing, they suddenly fell
back, as though Ihey had been cover-
ing a retreat. Granger at once di-
rected Stanley to advance his cavalry
and clear the gap, which was quickly
done; the Rebels making all speed
for seven miles to their rifle-pits,
barely three miles north of Shelby-
ville, where two welP-posted guns
checked the pursuit. But Granger,
now satisfied that the enemy must
be evacuating, ordered a fresh cav-
alry charge, before which the foe
again gave way, and were chased to
within a short mile of the town,
where three gtms were planted so as
to sweep all the approaches, formida-
bly backed by infantry. It was now
6 p. M., and. Granger having his in-
fantry well up, Stanley again charged,
and in half an hour Shelbyville was
ours, with three excellent brass guns,
more than 600 prisoners, 8,000 sacks
of com, &c., &c. Wheeler escaped
by swimming Duck river; but the
1st Confederate cavalry, which had
formed to stop our charge to enable
him to do so, were mainly killed or
taken.

Our army now rested a litde, while
recoimoissances were made to ascer-
tain the position of the enemy, and
Wilder waa sent to strike the railroad
in Bragg's rear near Decherd, bum
Elk river bridge, and do whatever



*Jane 23, 2 p. v.



*^ June 27.



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410



THB AMBBIOAN CONFLICT.



Other ezeeution he might. He failed
in this — the bridge being too strongly
held — ^but damaged the railroad a
little, and thoroughly alarmed the
enemy; so that, on a renewal of
Bosecrans's manenyers to flank Tul-
lahoma as he had flanked Shelby-
yille, Bragg decamped/* and three
divisions of onr infantry entered it
at noon next day.

Gens. Sheridan, Thomas, and Tur^
diin, severally struck the Bebel roar-
guard on Elk river the day after;
but found that stream so swollen by
the incessant rains as to be scarcely
fordable. When they did cross," the
enemy had wholly disf^pearod, and
wero beyond the reach of present
pursuit.

Thus, in nine days, Bosecrans had,
without a serious engagement, cleared
Middle Tennessee oi the Bebel army,
at a cost of baroly 560 men; disa-
bliug at least as many, and taking
1,634 prisoners, 3 guns, and much
other spoiL And only the celerity
of Bragg's flight, with the lack of
suspicion on our side that he would
abandon the State and his stroi^ po-
sitions without a struggle, saved him
from still grei^r disasters.

Bragg, having obtained a Mr start,
by running while Bosecrans was in-
tent on fighting, and having the use
of a railroad wh^reou to transport his
heavy guns and supplies, destroying
it behind him, easily made good his
flight over the Gumberiand mount-
ains and the Tennessee ; crossijag the
latt^ at and neur Bridgeport, wbero
he destroyed the railroad bridge be-
hind him. Boeeerans was expected
at Washington to fl^ow him up
sharply 2 but how eould he) His
army must ]ire ; and it could by no



means subsist on what was left it by
Bragg^s devouring host in that rug*
ged, sterile region ; while the wagon*
iDg of food, much moro of fbrage,
ov^ the steep, often wattless mount*
ains that abound thero, was utterly
impracticable. . While, therefore, his
light troops followed the flying enemy
to the river, and his advanced poets
stretched from Stevenson on the right
to Pelham on the left, the Gena^
kept hia main body behind the Gnm«
berland mountains, on a line from^
Winchester to McMinnville, while
his engineers repaired the railroad-
down to Stevenson; when the East
Teimessee road was in like manner
repaired thence to Bridgeport,*^ and
Sheridan's division of McCook's corp«
thrown forward to hold it. Even by
the help of such a railroad line, Bose**
crans felt that forage could not be
had in that rugged, wooded, scantily
grassed region, until the Indian com
was far enough matured to afibrd it
At length, having already accumulsr
ted eoQsidi^pable supplies at Steveor
B(», our wrmy moved on :" Thomas's
corps following the general direo-
tion of the railroad to Stevenson
and thence to Bridgeport ; McCook's
corps moving on its right, with Stan-
ley's cavalry thrown far out on tha^
flank; while Crittenden's corps, on
our left, advanced in three columns,
under Wood, Van Cleve, and Pahur
er, from Manchester and McMinn-
ville, across the Sequatchie valley ai
different points, moved directly on
Chattanooga, the remaining Bebel
stronghold in Tennessee, the key of
East T^messee and of all practicable
northem approaches to Gleorgia.
• These mov^nents wero so tho^
oughly prq>ared and judiciously



" Night of Junasa



» July 8.



Mjq)ji^



""Aug. 16.



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BBAGG ABAKDOKS OHATTAVOOaA.



411



timed tliat but four or five days
were employed in their execution,
despite the ruggedness of the country
— the Sequatchie valley cleaving the
heart of the Cumberlwd mountains
for 50 miles, and of course doubling
tiie labor of crossing them — and
Chattanoc^a was wakened** by shells
thrown across the river from the
eminences north of it by Wilder's
mounted brigade^simultaneoufily with
Van elevens division emerging from
the mountains at Foe's crossing, con-
siderably to our left ; while Thomas's
corps and part of McCook's prepared
to pass the Tennessee at several
points below.

The Tennessee is here a very consid-
erable river, with its sources 200 miles
distant, while the mountains that
dosely imprison it increase the diffi-
culties of approach and passage. But
some pontoons were at hand ; while
other material was quietly collected
at points concealed from hostile ob-
servation; and a few days sufficed
for the construction of bridges by
Sheridan at Bridgeport, Beynolds at
Shell Mound, some 10 or 16 miles
above, and by McOook at Oaperton's
ferry, opposite Stevenson, below;
while G^n. Brannan prepared to cross
on rafts at Battle creek, between
Bridgeport and Shell Mound. The
passage was commenced*' by Mc-
Oook, and completed ** at all points
within ten days: the several corps
pushing forward, across h%h, steep
mountains, to concentrate at Tren-
ton, Georgia, in the valley of Look-
out creek, which runs north-easterly
into the Tennessee just below Ohat-
tanooga.

But it was not the plan to approadii
that stronghold in force down this



•Aug. 21, * Aug. 99.



narrow valley, but only with a
brigade of Crittend^s corps, which
should dimb thence, by a path known
as th^ Kickajaek trace, the lofty
ridge known as Lookout mountain,
looking down, from a fashionable re-
sort known as Summertovm, into tiie
streets of Chattanooga; while Tho-
mas, with his corps, supported by^
McCook, should pudi boldly forward,
through Frick's or Stevens's gap,
across ]\(Gs8ion ridge, into the far
broader valley known as McLamore'a
cove, which is traversed by the
OmoxAMAUQA creek to the Tennes-
see just above Chattanoc^a.

Bra^ was in a quandary. Chat-
tanooga was strong, and he could
hold it against an assault by Bose-
crans's laiger army ; but yAai use in
this, and how long could he defy
starvation, if that army, having
crossed the river below him, should
cut his oommunications.and estsft>lish
itself across the railroad in his rear?
To abandon Chattanooga was to
provoke clamor; but to divide hig
forces, or allow them to be cooped
up here, was to court destruction.
He did what Johnston tried, when
too late, to have done with r^ard to
Vicksburg-^he relinquished Chatta-
nooga and saved his army ; retiring **
southward into Georgia, and post^
nis divisions along the highway from
Gt)rdon's mill to Lafityette, feeing
Pigeon mountain, through whose
passes our army was expected to
emerge from McLamore's cove.

Bosecranswas evidently mided—
though he does not fairly admit it —
into believing the enemy absorbingly
intent on escaping to Bome. Crit-
t^iden, having taken ** peacefrd pos*
session of Chattanooga, was directed



'Septs.



■Septt-a.



8«pt9.



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412



THE AICBBIOAN COKFLIOT.



to leave one brigade as a ganiBOiiy
and, bringing all his corps across the
Tennessee, porsne the enemy up the
East Chickamauga creek and railroad
to Rin^old and Dalton ; while Tho-
mas, -backed by McCook, emerging
fix)m McLamore^s cove through Dug
gap of Pigeon mountain, * should
swoop down on Lafayette, driving or
smashing all before him.

Bosecrans was too fast entirely.
Bragg was not fleeing to Home, and
had no idea of going thither at pres-
ent. On the contrary, he was silently
concentrating around Lafayette the
most numerous and effective army
which had ever yet upheld the Rebel
standard westward of the Allegha-
nies. To render it such, Buckner
had been summoned from Knoxville,
abandoning East Tennessee to Bum-
side without a struggle ; Johnson had
been drawn upon for a strong division
under Walker on one hand — matters
being now quiescent in and about
Mississippi — ^while Lee, having satis-
fied himself that Richmond was in no
danger from Meade, had dispatched
Longstreet's heavy corps of veterans
from the Rapidan ; and every thing
in the shape of militia , &c., that
could be gleaned from Georgia, had
been set to guarding bridges, dep6ts,
&c., so as to send every good soldier
to the front. Rosecrans estimates
Bragg's entire force, when he had
thus been strengthened, at 92,000 —
an enormous excess over ours — ^and
there is no reasonable doubt that he
had at length more men under his



command than composed the army
which was blindly, eagerly rushing
upon him, as if intent on a deer-hunt
rather than a life-and-death struggle
with a wary and formidable foe.

Crittenden advanced" to Ring-
gold, throwing forward Wildert
mounted men to Tunnel hill, where
they had a heavy skirmish, while
Hazen, with Crittenden's rear divis-
ion, closed up on the advance ; but,
by this time, N^ley's division, of
Thomas's corps, advancing to Dug
gap," had found it decidedly held by
the enemy, who coidd not be persua- .
ded to leave. Baird's division came
up next morning ; but both together
were far too light, and wisely fell
back, after a smart skirmish, retreat-
ing down the cove. And now Crit-
tenden, justly alarmed for. his com-
munications, made** a rapid flank
march to Gordon's mill — Wilder, cov-
ering his rear, having to fight smartly
at Sill's tan-yard by the way; while
McCook, having completely flanked
Bragg's- position by a southward ad-
vance nearly to Alpine, far on Bragg'8
left, became satisfied that the Rebel
army was not retreating, and that he
was in very deep water : so he con>-
menced,** by order, a very rapid
movement to connect with Thomas,
away on his left. In doing this, he
was carried down into Lookout valley,
thence up the mountain and down
again ; so that he only closed up to
Thomas on the 17th.

Bragg had sprung his trap too
soon.** Had he permitted Thomas



"Sej^ll. "SeptlO. "8eptl2. ••Sept 13.

" PoUard sees the matter in a different light;
and his view seems worth considering. He says :

** During the 9th, it was ascertained that a
column of the enemy had crossed Lookout mount-
ain faito the coye, hj the way of SteveBs's and
Oooper»s gaps. Thrown off his guard by our
rapid movement^ apparently in retreat, when in



reality we had concentrated opposite his oeDter,
and deceived by information from deserters and
others sent into his Unes, the enemy pressed on
his columns to hitercept us, and thus exposed
himself in detail

"A splendid opportunity was now presented
to Bragg. The detached force in MoLamoi«*B
cove was Thomases corps. Being immediately
opposite Lafayette, at and near which Gen. Bragg



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BBAGQ ADVAMTCBS— BOSBOBANS OONCBNTBATBS. 4ia



to force hifl way tliroiigh Dug gap,
with barely a decent show of resist-
ance, he might have crashed this first
and onr other corps in rapid sncces-
sion ;' or he might, disregarding Tho-
mas, have hurled his whole army
npon Crittenden at Ringgold, crush-
ed him, and then interposed between
Thomas and Chattanooga. But when
N^ley and Baird were forced back
from Dug gap, the game was too
plain. Instead of a keen chase after
a flying enemy, it was at once com-
prehended by our Generals tiiat ihey
must concentrate and fight for their
liyes.

Liyfayette lies some 25 miles south
by east of Chattanooga, on the main
highway leading thence into Georgia,
behind Pigeon mountain, in a valley
whence P^a Vine creek flows north-
ward into the Chickamauga. Eight
or ten miles north of Lafayette, the
highway aforesaid passes liirough a



gap in Pigeon mountain into Mo-
Lamore^s cove, crossing the West
Chickamauga at Gordon's miH As
Bragg was well aware that Thomas
was in the upper part of that cove-
or valley, he moved down this road
by his right, with intent to flank the
left of our army — or so much of it as
he might find in the cove — ^meaning
thus to interpose between it and
Chattanooga, and, if possible, be-
tween Thomas's corps and Critten-
den's. But Crittenden, as we have
seen, had seasonably taken the alarm,
and moved hastily across from Ring-
gold to the Chickamauga ; while Mo-
Cook, zigzagging down and up Mis-
sion ridge, had likewise made his way
into the cove, and was in position,
with most of our army, along the
Lafayette and Chattanooga road, from
above Gordon's mill on our right a
full third of the distance to Bossville,
a small hamlet situated in a gap of



had all his forces concentitkted, it was oompletelj
at the mercy of the latter. It was only neoes-
sary that G^n. Bragg should fall upon it with
Budi a mass as would have crushed it; then
tamed down Chattanooga valley, thrown him-
self in between the town and Orittenden, and
crushed him j then passed back between Look-
out mountam and the Tennessee river into
Wills's vallej, and cut off McOook's retreat to
Bridgeport; liienoe moved along the Cumber-
land range into the rear of Bumsi&, and disposed
oihim.

**No time was to be lost in taking advantage
of a blunder of the enemy, into which he had
fallen in his stupid conceit that the Confederates
were retreating. Instant orders were given to
]C^i.-Gen. Hindman to prepare his division to
move against Thomas ; and he was informed that
anotiier division from Lt-Gen. D. H. Hill's com-
mand, at Lafayette, would move up to him and
cooperate in the attack.

" Gton. Hill received his orders on the night of
the 9th. He replied that he could not undertake
the movement; that the orders were impractica-
ble ; that Clebume, who commanded one of his
divisions, was sick ; and that both the gaps. Dug
and Oatlett*s, through which they were required
to move, were impassable, having been blocked
by felled timber.

''Barly the next morning, Hindman was
promptly in position to execute his part of the
ontlcal movement Disappointed at Hill's refb-
Ml to move^ Qen. Bragg, with desperate haste,



dispatched an order to Msj.-G^en. Buckner to
move from his present position at Anderson,
and execute, without delay, the orders issued to
HilL

'* It was not until the afternoon of the 10th,
that Buckner joined Hindmant the two com-
mands being united near Davis's cross-roads in
the oova The enemy was stil lin flagrant error:
moving his three columns with an apparent dis-
position to form a junction at or near Lafayette.
To strike in detail these isolated commands, and
to fall upon Thomas, who had got the enemy's
center into McLamore's oove, such rapidity was
necessary as to surprise the enemy before he
discovered his mistake.

'* Lt-G^en. Polk waa ordered to Anderson'^
to cover Hindman's rear; who, at midnight of
the 10th, again received orders at all hazards to
crush the enemy's center, and cut his way through
to Lafayette. The indomitable Cleburne, despile
the obstructions in the road, had moved up to
Dug gap; was in position at daylight, and only
wait^ the sound of Hindman's guns to move on
the enemy's flank and rear.

" Oourfer after courier sped fWnn Dng gap to
urge ^ndman on. Bui it teas too lai6. The ene-
my had discovered the mistake that had weQ-
nlgh proved his ruin. He had, taking advantage
of our delay, retreated to the mountain passes;
and so the movement upon Thomas, which prom-
ised such brilliant results, was lost by an anadi-
ronism by which the best-laid militaxy Bohemas
are so firequently de f eated*"



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4M,



THB AKSBIOAK OOVPLIOT.



Mission ridge, four miles south of
Chattanooga and six or eight north
of Gordcm^B mill. Bnt Negl^'s di-
vision watched Owen's ford, a mile
.or so to onr right, where another and
inferior road over Pigeon mountain
crossed the oreek near Crawfish
spring; while Sherman's and Jeff.
C. Davis's divisions of MeCook's
coiips were posted intermediately on
the right of, bnt far nearer, onr main
line, holding the road which, striking
off from the main Lafayette road a
little north of Gkmlon's mill, keeps
straight np the cove on the west side
of the Chickamanga. Gordon Gran-
ger, with his reserved corps, was
pod;ed two or three miles in the rear
of onr left, covering all the roads
leading from the east and sonth-east
into Rossville, and thus to Chatta-
nooga.

Bosecrans had been deceived, and
was taken at disadvantage, as man j
a good General had been before him.
Instead of being warned, as he should
have been, by Meade and Halleck,
had their spies been worth a rush,
that a heavy corps had been detached
from Lee's army and probably sent
against him, he had very recently re-
ceived advices of an opposite tenor. •*

Minty, commanding our cavalry
on the left, had been scouting nearly
to Dalton, and had Jiad several smart
skirmishes" with the enemy's horse
near that place,.Kinggold, Lett's, and
Kockspring church. As he still held



the left, after our (Soneaitratioii, bang
thrown across the La&yette road, he
was here attacked** in fioroe, and
oompdled to give ground ; diowing
that Bragg was massing heavily on
his right, and crossing the Ghicka-
maoga below (north of) Gi>rdon'B milL
Bosecrans was by this time aware
that the matter threatened to be Be- *
rious. The stubborn attack on Minty



Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 58 of 113)