previous next

[588] and the troops under your command at the brilliant success you gained over your old adversary (Longstreet) on the night of the twentyeighth ultimo. The bayonet charge of Howard's troops made up the side of a steep and difficult hill over two hundred feet high, completely routing the enemy from his barricades on its top, and the repulse by Geary's division of greatly superior numbers, who attempted to surprise him, will rank among the most distinguished feats of arms of this war.

Very respectfully, etc.,

(Signed) George H. Thomas, Major-General Commanding. By command of Major-General Hooker.

(Signed) H. W. Perkins, A. A. G. Official. (Signed) F. A. Meysenbery, A. A. G. Official. Fred. W. Stone, Capt. and A. A. G. headquarters Second brigade, November 5, 1863.
Official. Benj, F. Stone, Capt. and A. A. A. G.

Cincinnati Gazette account.

Chattanooga, October 29.
Last night, a little before one o'clock, we were startled, though not surprised, to hear volleys of musketry, interspersed with the booming of cannon at short intervals, off to the right of Chattanooga, seemingly about five miles. The sound came up from what is called Lookout Valley, which lies between that mountain and the Raccoon Ridge. It was known that troops had been sent across the new pontoon at Brown's Ferry, but had not gone as far down as the place whence the sound proceeded, and so the great secret, so long and faithfully guarded, must out. Hooker is there!

And this was the fact. “Fighting Joe” had come, even at the eleventh hour, to the help of the army not yet rested of Chickamauga.

We rejoiced, and yet shuddered, when the deep-mouthed cannon belched forth from Lookout, and the waves of musketry, the more terrible by night, crashed up through the valley and reechoed from the mountain sides; for we could not believe that General Hooker had chosen this midnight hour for his attack.

It is not proper to state the various movements that brought about the battle, much less to give a full catalogue of the troops engaged. Sufficient that the afternoon of the twenty-eighth instant found Hooker in the Lookout Valley, with his forces present, arranged as follows:

General Geary, with a portion of the Twelfth corps, was at Wauhatchie Junction on the Memphis, Charleston, and Trenton Railroad, while certain portions of the Eleventh corps, under General Howard, marched further up the valley toward Brown's Ferry, where it was expected to unite with our troops that had been thrown across the river, thus making navigation safe, as the rebels would be entirely driven from it. They were permitted to march quietly up the valley and pitch their tents at leisure. The night wore silently till near twelve o'clock, when, like an eagle swooping on its prey, the rebels rushed down from Lookout Mountain and the plateau below, with the evident intention of wedging themselves into the space between our two corps, and thus cut them off by piecemeal. As they came they fired a deadly volley into Geary's ranks, and at the same time their batteries on Lookout opened and sent their shells crashing among the tree-tops above the heads of our men. Hooker was not long in seeing the necessities of the hour. Geary's men were fighting with that desperation which made brave men braver; but the rebels were three to their one, and it was evident they could not long hold out against such fearful odds. “Forward to their relief, boys! charge the devils double-quick!” shouted fighting Joe, and his words flew like magic through the camp. “Fall in line!” and down they rushed through the valley, seemingly “into the jaws of death.” But their danger, as it appeared, was not all, nor even half, in front; for as they passed along the foot of a ridge, some two hundred feet high, lying on their left, which, as it seems, they thought to be occupied by our forces, a furious volley of musketry was poured into them from its brow. This force must be dislodged, or here would be a second danger of being flanked. Estimating from the firing, it was thought that one brigade would be sufficient to do the work, the strength of the position occupied by the enemy being as yet entirely unknown. Accordingly, the Seventy-third Ohio and Thirtythird Massachusetts, to be supported, if necessary, by the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth New-York, the whole under command of Colonel Smith, of the Seventy-third, which was commanded by Captain Thomas W. Higgins, Acting-Major. Colonel Underwood led the Thirty-third Massachusetts till he was wounded, mortally, it is feared.

At the word “Charge!” the two regiments, in all not more than five hundred men, rushed up the hill with fixed bayonets — rushed madly, it would seem, when it is remembered that they knew not how many reapers of death were on the top, waiting to mow them down.

But on they went; through the underbrush and trees, up a hill so steep, that even by daylight, when one can pick his way, nor fear a wily enemy, it is found very difficult to climb. The rebels held their fire till we had approached near the top, and then, accompanied by that demoniacal yell which only a rebel can utter, they poured a most deadly volley into our ranks.

Taken aback by the immensely superior numbers which the firing proved the enemy to have, staggered by the unexpected appearance of heavy rifle-pits which frowned like death itself, in the flash of the guns, many fallen, among whom was a large proportion of officers, it was not strange, nay, it could not but be, that our men should fall back to the foot of the hill to rally and arrange their broken lines.

It was now known that the enemy was four times their own number, that he had strong riflepits, and was elated and encouraged by the success

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Joseph Hooker (5)
Geary (4)
Melvin F. Howard (2)
Underwood (1)
George H. Thomas (1)
Frederick W. Stone (1)
F. Stone (1)
O. Smith (1)
H. W. Perkins (1)
F. A. Meysenbery (1)
Longstreet (1)
Thomas W. Higgins (1)
Benj (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November 5th, 1863 AD (1)
October 29th (1)
28th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: