Horace Greeley.

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

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vance had occupied on the 1st — ^n.
Bumside was welcomed** with such
an outpouring of enthusiastic loyalty
and gratitude as had rarely been
equaled. But East Tennessee had
b^n overwhelmingly and invin^bly
loyal throughout, while the sufferings
of her Unionists, from Bebel conscrip-
tion, persecution, and spoliation, had
been terrible. Every able-bodied man
having been conscripted into the Con-
federate armies, those who refused to
serve were accounted deserters, wor-
thy of death ; and the penalty was
freely enforced. But the dungeon,
the bullet, and the rope, whereby it



■• Gillmore first reports their loss at " over
SOO;" and again says it " will not fall short of
600 men.*^ But the only account (by a newspa-
per oorrespondent) that gives precise detiJIs^



makes the numbers " IS killed, S wmmded, and

67 prisoners.*'
"June 23. •'Aug. 16. "Aug.SA,

•»Aug.27-a ••Sdptl. "Septs.



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BUCKNER ABANDONS EAST TENNESSEE.



429



was mainly hoped to stifle the loy-
alty of this heroic people, had only
served to intensify it ; and the long-
hidden National flags that now waved
from almost every house and fluttered
in so many hands, the bounteous food
and refrediment proffered from every
side and pressed upon our soldiers
without price, by people whose stores
were scanty indeed ; the cheers, and
fond greetings, and happy tears, of
the assembled thousands, attested
Aeir fervent hope and trust that the
National authority and protection,
for which they had prayed and pined
through two long, weary years, would
never again be expelled from their
dty. And it has not been.

The flight of the Bebel forces from
all the points reached by our army
in its advance was unexpected, and
was misconstrued. So many passes,
wherein a r^ment and a battery
might temporarily repel a corps, had
been precipitately abandoned with-
out a shot, as Kingston and Knoxville
were, that it was fondly fancied that
the Rebellion ha^ collapsed — at least,
in this quarter — ^that the recent and
signal triumphs of the National arms
at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Port Hud-
son, Aciy had taken the heart out of
the remaining disunionists ; that we
had only thenceforth to advance and
bloodlessly reclaim all that had been
ruthlessly torn away.

It was a great mistake. Buckner
•was simply withdrawing the Rebel
forces froxn East Tennessee to reen-
force Bragg and enable him to over-
"whelm Bosecrans; and this facility
of recovery should have aroused sus-
picion, and incited the quickest pos-
sible transfer of all but a brigade of
Bumside's army to Chattanooga. In
£bm^ he should have been under Bose-



KA8T TXKKBB8ES.



crans's orders from the outset, and all
his movements should have been
subordinate to those of the Army of
the Cumberland. When the enemy
were found to be retreating soutli-
ward, they should have been closely
pursued; but Burnside had no su-
perior but Halleck, who had no
conviction of Bosecrans's peril till
it was too late to avert it. And
Burnside himself had no idea of look-



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430-



THE AMERICAN CONFLICT.



ing to BoeecranB^s safety — ^in &ct,
this was not in the line of his pre-
scribed dnty — ^bnt proceeded prompt-
ly and vigorously to complete the re-
covery of East Tennessee. To this
end, he impelled ** Gen. Shackleford
directly on the rear of Cumberland
gap; on which Gen. De Conrcy
simultaneously advanced from Lon-
don on the north ; Bumside follow-
ing in person two days behind
Shackleford, who made a forced
march of 60 miles in 62 hours, and
thus closed in Gen. Frazier, who
with four regiments held the gap,
and had refused to quit it while he
could, supposing himself able to hold
it. But his men were in good part
disaffected or discouraged, while the
mill whereon he depended for flour
was burned "by two companies of
Shackleford's men, who crept through
his lines and fired it unperceived.
When Bumside arrived,** Frazi.er
had refused our sunmions; but he
found, soon afterward, good reason to
change his mind, and surrendered
his 2,000 men and 14 guns. Our
cavalry moved thence rapidly east-
ward; chasing off a small Eebel
force under Sam Jones into Vir-
ginia, destroying the principal rail-
road bridges, and completing the
recovery of East Tennessee, with the
direct loss, in Bumside's command,
of barely one man.

Halleck says he now ordered
Bumside to concentrate his army
on the Tennessee river westward
from Loudon, so as to connect with
Kosecrans, who had just reached
Chattanooga, and that ^^it was
hoped that there would be no further
delay in effecting a junction between
the two armies, as had been previ-



ously ordered.*' The military read-
ing of the General-in-Chief having
been very extensive, he can probably
cite numerous instances wherein the
leader of a small army has made
haste to unite that army with a large
one, which would necessarily absorb
it, without having been placed under
the orders of its commander; but,
in the recollection of this writer, such
instances are rare. At all events,
Bumside did not add another, but
continued to diffuse his command
throughout East Tennessee, until it
had been beaten out very thin, and
was thus exposed to be cut up in de-
tail. CoL Foster, in the far east,
after one skirmish ** near Bristol, waa
sharply assailed'* at Blue Springs by
Sam Jones, whom he defeated, after
two days' desultory fighting; taking
150 prisoners and disabling at least
that number, with a loss to our side
of barely 100.

Shackleford now took post at
Jonesboro', with a part of his com-
mand, under Wilcox, at Greenville,
with two regiments and a battery,
under CoL Israel Garrard, 7th Ohio
cavaby, at Rogersville, where they
were attacked" by 1,200 mounted
men under Brig.-Gen. W. E. Jones,
acting under the orders of Maj.-Gen.
Sam Jones, who stmck them at day-
light, surprising and easily routing
them with a loss of 4 guns, 36 wag-
ons, and 750 prisoners, and creating
such a panic at Jonesborough. and
Greenville that Shackleford's men
raced back to Bull's gap, 18 miles,
while Jones and his party were mak-
ing equally good time in the opposite
direction, fearing that Shackleford
would be upon them in overwheln>-
ing force if they did not This badc-



« Sept. 5.



'Sept 7.



•Sept 9.



•Sept 21.



'•Oct 10.



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' jriGHTS AT PHILADELPHIA AND OAMPBBLL»S STATION. 481



to-back race was one of the most
ludicrous incidents of the war, though
the laugh was rather the heartier on
i^e wrong side.

The Army of the Cumberland re-
^maining quiet at Chattanooga, Bragg
(or his superiors) conceived the idea
of itnproving his leisure by a move-
ment on Bumside, which Longstreet
was assigned to lead. Bumside had
by this time spread his force very
widely, holding innumerable points
and places southward and eastward
of Enornlle by brigades and detach-
ments; and Longstreet, advancing
silently and rapidly, was enabled to
strike " heavily at the little outpost
of Philadelphia, held by Col. F. T.
Wolford, with the 1st, 11th, and 12th
Kentucky cavalry and 46th Ohio
mounted infantry — in all about 2;000
men. Wolford had dispatched the
1st and 11th Kentucky to protect his
trains moving on his right, which a
Kebel advance was reported as men-
acing, when he found himself sud-
denly assailed in front and on both
flanks by an overwhelming Rebel
force, estimated at 7,000, whom he
withstood severdl hours, hoping that
the soimd of guns woxdd bring him
assistance from l4>udon in his rear ;
but none arrived; and he was at
length obliged to cut his way out ;
losing his battery and 82 wagons, but
bringing off most of his command,
with 51 prisoners. Major Dellbsse,
leading the 12th Ky., was killed.
The 1st and 11th Kentucky, under
Maj. Graham, having proceeded four
miles westward from Philadelphia,
found their train already in the
hands of the enemy, and recaptured
it ; chasing its assailants for some dis-
tance, and capturing quite a number



of them ; when our men in turn en-
countered a superior force, and were
chased nearly to Loudon, losing
heavily. We took 111 prisoners this
day, and lost 324, with 6 guns ; the
killed and wounded on either side
being about 100. Our total loss in
prisoners to Longstreet southward of
Loudon is stated by Halleck at 650.
The enemy advancing resolutely
yet cautiously, our troops were with-
drawn before them from Lenoir and
from Loudon, concentrating at Camp-
bell's Station — Gen. Bumside, whcf
had hastened from Knoxville at the
tidings of danger, being personally
in command. Having been joined
by his old (9th) corps, he was now
probably as strong as Longstreet; but
a large portion of his force was still
dispersed far to the eastward, and he
apprehended being flanked by an ad-
vance from Kingston on his left. He
found himself so closely pressed, how-
ever, that he must either fight or
sacrifice his trains; so he chose an
advantageous position and suddenly
faced " the foe : his batteries being
all at hand, while those of his pursu-
ers were behind ; so that he had de-
cidedly the advantage in the fighting
till late in the afternoon, when they
brought up three batteries and open-
ed, while their infantry were extend-
ed on either hand, as if to outflank
him. He then fell back to the next
ridge, and again faced about ; holding
his position firmly till after night-
fall ; when — his trains having mean-
time obtained a fair start — ^he re-
sumed his retreat, and continued it
unmolested until safe within the
sheltering intrenchments of Knox-
ville. Our loss in this affair was
about 300 ; that of the enemy was



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483



THE AMBRIOAN OOlirPLIOl?.



probably greater. Though not a
sanguinary nor decisive struggle, few
occurred during the war that were
more creditable to the generalship or
the soldierly qualities of either army.
Longstreet continued his pursuit,
and in due time beleaguered the
city,'* though he can hardly be said
to have invested it That he intend-
ed, and expected, and tried, to carry
it, is true ; and there was very spirit-
ed and pretty constant fighting
around it, mainly on its west side ;
but the day of rushing naked infantry
in masses on formidable earthworks
covering heavy batteries was nearly
over with either side. The defenses
were engineered by Capt. Poe, and
were signally effective. Directly on
getting into position, a smart assault
was delivered on our right, held by
the 112th Illinois, 45th Ohio, 3d
Michigan, and 12th E!entucky, and a
hill carried ; but it was not essential
to the defenses. Our loss this day
was about 100; among them was
Gen. W. P. Sanders, of Kentucky,
killed. Shelling and skirmishing
barely served to break the monotony
for ten weary days, when — ^having
been reenforced by Sam Jones, and
one or two other small commands
from Virginia — Longstreet delivered
an assault," by a picked storming
party of three brigades, on an un-
finished but important work known
as Fort Sanders, on our left, but was
bloodily repelled by Gten. Ferrero,
who held it — the loss of the assailants
being some 800, including Col. Mc-
Elroy, 13th Mississippi, and Col.
Thomas, 16th Georgia, killed; while
on our side the entire loss that night
was about 100 ; only 15 of these in
the fort.



And now — ^Bragg having been de-
feated by Grant before Chatt^inooga,
and a relieving force under Sherman
being close at hand — ^Longstreet ne-
cessarily abandoned the siege, and
moved rapidly eastward unassailed
to Eussellville, Virginia : our entire
loss in the defense having been less
than 1,000 ; while his must have been
twice or thrice that number. Sher-
man's advance reached the city, and
Bumside officially announced the
raising of the siege, Dec. 5th.



Qen. Halleck had been thoroughly
aroused to the peril of Bosecrans at
Chattanooga just too late to do any
good. On his first advice that Long-
street had been dispatched south;
ward from Virginia — ^it was said, to
Charleston — ^he had telegraphed " to
Bumside at Knoxville, to Hurlbut at
Memphis, and to Grant at Vicksburg,
to move troops to the support of
Rosecrans ; and the orders to Bumside
and Hurlbut were rditerated next
day. Schofield at St. Louis and Pope
in the north-west were likewise in-
structed respectively to forward to
Tennessee every man they could
spare. And it now occurred to Hal-
leck— or did the day after Chicka-
mauga — that two independent com-
mands on the Tennessee would not
be so likely to insure effective coope-
ration as if one mind directed the
movements of both armies ; so — Rose-
crans being made the necessary scape-
goat of others' mistakes as well as
his own — Gen. Grant was selected
for chief command ; Rosecrans being
relieved, and instructed to turn over
his army to Gen. Thomas. But
Grant was now sick in New Orleanfl,
out of reach by telegraph ; and She^



• Not. 17.



'•Not. 28-9.



•Sept 13.



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WHBBLBB'S BAID IN ICIDDLB TBNNBSSBB.



438



man, who represeiited him at Yicks-
burg, did not receive the dispatch till
it was several days old. Hurlbut
promptly put his "West Tennessee
corps in motion eastward ; but this
was not enough; and Halleck, on
learning of the reverse on the Ohick-
amauga — hearing nothing from Grant
or Sherman — detached" the 11th
and 12th corps from the Army of
the Potomac, and ordered them, un-
der Gen. Hooker, to Middle Tennes-
see, to hold, till further orders, Rose-
crans's line of communications from
Nashville to Bridgeport. This trans-
fer of 20,000 men, with all their ar-
tillery, munitions, and baggage, was
made with remarkable celerity,
through the. extraordinary exertions
of Gen. D. 0. McCallxmi, govern-
ment superintendent of railroads, M.
C. Meigs, Quartermaster General, and
W. Prescott Smith, master of trans-
portation on the Baltimore and Ohio
road : the two corps marching from
, the Bapidan to Washington, taking
cars, and being transported by Cum-
berland, Wheeling, Cincinnati, Lou-
isville, and Nash^le, to the Tennes-
see, and there debarked in fighting
array, within eight days.

Meantime, Bragg had sent a large
portion of his cavalry, under Wheel-
er and Wharton, across ^' the Ten-
nessee at Pottonport, between Chat-
tano<^ and Bridgeport, instructed to
cut our communications and destroy
our supplies so floras possible. Wheel-
er, doubtless thoroughly informed,
made directly for a large portion of
Gen. Thomas's train of 700 to 1,000
wagons, laden with supplies, then in
Sequatchie valley, near Anderson's
Cross-roads, which he captured" and
burned ; being attacked, directly af-



terward, by Col. E. M. McCook, who,
with three regiments of cavalry, had
been ordered from Bridgeport to pur-
sue him. McCook had the better of
the fight ; but darkness closed it ; and
the enemy moved off during the night,
while McCook had no orders to pur-
sue him.

Wheeler next struck McMinnville,
in the heart of Tennessee, which, with
600 men, a train of wagons, and one
of cars, was surrendered to him with-
out a struggle, and where he burned
a large quantity of supplies. But
here he was overhauled by Gen. G^o.
Crook, who, with another cavalry
division, 2,000 strong, had started
from Washington, Tenn., and had for
some hours been pursuing and fight-
ing Wharton, and by whose order
Col. Long, with the 2d Kentucky,
charged lie rear of the now flying foe
with spirit and effect. Wheeler's
force being superior, he halted and
fought dismounted till dark, and then
struck out for Murfreesboro' ; but that
post was firmly held, and he could
not wait to carry it; so he swept
doiwn to Warren and Shelbyville,
burning bridges, breaking the rail-
road, and capturing trains and stores^
taking thence a south-west course
across Duck river to Farmington,
where another fight'* was had, and
the Bebels worsted by the fire of
Capt. Stokes's battery, followed by a
charge of infantry, and lost 4 guns,
captured by Crook, though he Wf^s
in inferior force. Wheeler got away
during the night to Pulaski, and
thence into Korth Alabama; making
his escape across the Tennessee riv^,
near the mouth of Elk ; losing 2 moi^
guns and his rear-guard of 70 men
in getting over. Gens. Thomas and



"Sept. 23.

VOL. n. — 2



^* Sept 30.



'•Oct a.



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434



THE AMBRICAN CONFLICT.



Crook estimate his loss during this
raid at 2,000 men, mostly prisoners
or deserters. Ours, mainly in pris-
oners, must have exceeded that num-
ber; while the Government property
destroyed must have been worth mil-
lions of dollars. Eoddy, who crossed **
the Tennessee at Guntersville, threat-
ening Decherd, retreated on learning
that Wheejer had done so, and escaped
without loss.



G^n. Grant, having assumed'' at
Louisville command of his new de-
partment, telegraphed, next day, to
Gen. Thomas at Chattanooga to hold
that place at all hazards, and was
promptly answered, " I will hold on
till we starve." Famine, not fire, was
the foe most dreaded by the Army
of the Cumberland, though it had
a pretty rough experience of both.
Proceeding forthwith to Chattanoo-
ga, the new commander found" Gen.
Hooker's force concentrated at Bridge-
port, preparing to argue with Bragg
our claim to supply our forces at
Chattanooga by means of the river
and the highway along its bank, in-
stead of sending every thing by wag-
ons across the mountains on either
side of the Sequatchie valley — a
most laborious and difficult under-
taking, which left our men on short
rations and starved many of our
horses. It is computed that no less
than 10,000 horses were used up in
thife service, and that it would have
been impossible, by reason of their
exhaustion and the increasing bad-
ness of the roads caused by the Au-
tumn rains, to have supplied our army
a week longer.

Grant proceeded, the day after his
arrival, accompanied by Thomas and



Brig.-(Jen. W. F. Smith, chief engi-
neer, to examine the river below Chat-
tanooga with reference to crossing. It
was decided that Hooker should croes
at Bridgeport with all the force he
could muster, advancing directly to
Wauhatchie in Lookout vaUey, mena-
cing Bragg with a flank attack. So
much was to be observed and unde^
stood by the enemy. But, while his
attention waa fixed on this move-
ment, and on the march of a divis-
ion, under G^n. Palmer, down the
north bank of the river from a point
opposite Chattanooga to Whiteside,
where he was to cross and support
Hooker, a force was to be got ready,
under die direction of Smith, and,
at the right moment, thrown across
the river at Brown's ferry, three or
four miles below Chattanooga, and
pushed forward at once to seize the
range of hills skirting the river at
the mouth of Lookout valley, cove^
ing the Brown's ferry road and a
pontoon bridge to be qtdckly thrown,
across the ferry ; thus opening a line
of communication between our forces
in Chattanooga and Hooker's in Wau-
hatchie, shorter and better than that
held by Bragg around the foot of
Lookout mountain.

Hooker crossed, unimpeded, on
the 26th; pushing straight on to
Wauhatchie, which he reached on
the 28th. Meantime, 4,000 men had
been detailed to Smith; of whom
1,800, under Brig.-Gen. Hazen, were
embarked on 60 pontoon-boats at
Chattanooga, and, at the word,
floated quietly down .the river during
the night of the 27th, past the Eebd
pickets watching along the left bank,
and, landing on the south side, at
Brown's ferry, seized the hills ove^



"Oct. 11.



"Oct 18.



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GEARY ATTACKED AT WAUHATCHIE.



485



looking it, without further loss than
4 or 5 wounded. The residue of Gen.
Smith's men, with further materials
for the bridges, had simultaneously
moved across Moccasin point on
our side, to the ferry, unperceived by
the enemy j and, before dawn, they
had been fenced across, and the diffi-
cult heights rising sharply from the
Tennessee and from Lookout valley
on the south-west were firmly se-
cured. By 10 A. M., a capital pon-
toon-bridge had been completed at
the ferry ; and now, if Bragg chose
to concentrate on Hooker or on
Chattanooga, we had the shorter line
of concentration, and were ready.
Before night. Hooker's lefk rested on
Smith's force and bridge; while
Palmer had pushed across to White-
side in his rear; and now the wagon
route of supply for Chattanooga, no
longer infested by Kebel sharp-
shooters, was reduced to the 28 miles
of relatively tolerable road from
Bridgeport, or, by using the river
from Bridgeport to Kelly's ferry, to
barely 8 miles. Grant's fightiiig had
not yet begun ; but Chattanooga was
safe, and Bragg virtually beaten.

Hooker had found no enemy to re-
pel, save pickets and perhaps a few
sharp-shooters, until — ^having passed
through a gorge of Raccoon moun-
tain into Lookout valley, some two
miles wide, which is commanded and
observed throughout by the crests of
Kaccoon mountain on the one hand
and of Lookout mountain on the
other, while a low range of five or
six hills, 200 to 300 feet high, divides
it nearly in the center — ^he reached
TVauhatchie, a petty station on the
railroad, some 12 or 15 miles from



Chattanooga, directly under the
guns of the Rebel batteries on Look-
out moimtain. Of course, every
movement on our side was watched
by the enemy, who might almost
count the men in our ranks as they
marched. Through another gorge
on Hooker's left, a road led down
to Kelly's ferry, three milep distant.
Howard's (11th) corps, in oar ad-
vance, had passed Wauhatchie, and
had lost a few men by shells thrown
from Lookout mountain, and as
many by an irregular musketry fire
from the wooded hills in its front*,
whence the enemy was speedily,
dislodged by a fianking advance;
burning the railroad, bridge over
Lookout creek as he fied. At 6
p. M.," our column was halted for the
night, but little over a mile from
Brown's ferry, toward which three
companies were thrown out; while
Geary's weak division of the 12th
corps bivouacked at Wauhatchie,
three miles back, holding the road
from Kelly's ferry that leads up Look-
out valley.

Law's division of Longstreet's
corps held Lookout mountain, and
were deeply interested but quiet
spectators of Hooker's arrangements
for the night. They were not strong
enough to fight his entire force by
daylight ; but it was calculated that
they would suffice " to strike Geary
by surprise in that strange, woodfed
region ; routing him before he should
be fairly awake, stampeding his men,
running off his animals, and burning
his trains. Accordingly, about 1
A. M.," they attacked him with Rebel
impetuosity and the unearthly yells
wherein they stood confessedly xmri-



sions: Pollard saja thej were but six regi*

monf.a "rVt 9Q . "



"Oct 28



" UCU 3S0.

"Uooker says they were two strong divi-



ments.



Oct 29.



1



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436



THE AMERICAN CONFLICT.



valed, driviiig in his pickets on a
run, and following tjiem into his
lines; but they found him wide
awake, and no wise inclined to panic
or running. Charged at once on
three sides, he met the enemy with
a fire as deadly as theirs, and with
ranks steadier and firmer than those
of a charging column could be, and
was fully holding his own against
them, when Carl Schurz's division of
Howard's corps came rushing from
Hooker to his aid; Tyndale's brig-
ade assaulting and carrying the hill
whence they were enfiladed on their
left, while a thin brigade of Stein-
wehr's division, which closely fol-
lowed, was led by Col. Orlan Smith,
73d Ohio, on a charge up a very
steep, difficult hill farther behind;
carrying it without a shot, and tak-
ing some prisoners. It was now
time for the Rebels to be o% and
they left — all save 153 who lay dead
in Geary's front, and over 100 pris^
oners. Their reports admit a loss
of 361. Darkness prevented any ef-
fective pursuit. Hooker's total loss
here was 41 6,'^ including Gen. Green
severely, and Col. Underwood, 33d



Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 61 of 113)