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[220] which they surprised and shelled from across the river, creating no little agitation.

Thus the army passed the first great barrier between it and the objective point, and arrived opposite the enemy on the banks of the Tennessee.

The crossing of the river required that the best points should be chosen, and means provided for the crossing. The river was reconnoitred, the pontoons and trains ordered forward as rapidly as possible, hidden from view in rear of Stevenson, and prepared for use. By the time they were ready, the places of crossing had been selected, and dispositions made to begin the operation.

It was very desirable to conceal to the last moment the points of crossing, but as the mountains on the south side of the Tennessee rise in precipitous rocky bluffs to the height of eight hundred or one thousand feet, completely overlooking the whole valley and its coves, this was next to impossible.

Not having pontoons for two bridges across the river, General Sheridan began trestle-work for parts of one at Bridgeport, while General Reynolds's division seizing Shellmount, captured some boats, and from these and material picked up, prepared the means of crossing at that point, and General Brannan prepared rafts for crossing his troops at the mouth of Battle Creek.

The laying of the pontoon-bridges at Caperton's Ferry was very handsomely done by the troops of General Davis, under the direction of General McCook, who crossed his advance in pontoons at daylight, driving the enemy's cavalry from the opposite side. The bridge was ready for crossing by eleven o'clock A. M. the same day, but in plain view from the rebel signal-stations opposite Bridgeport.

The bridge at Bridgeport was finished on the twenty-ninth of August, but an accident occurred which delayed its final completion till September second.

The movement across the river was commenced on the twenty-ninth, and completed on the fourth of September, leaving the regular brigade in charge of the railroad and depot at Stevenson until relieved by Major Granger, who was directed, as soon as practicable, to relieve it and take charge of the rear.

General Thomas's corps was to cross as follows: One division at Caperton's and one at Bridgeport, Reynolds at Shellmount in boats, and one division at Battle Creek on rafts. All were to use the bridge at Bridgeport for such portions of their trains as they might find necessary, and to concentrate near Trenton, and send an advance to seize Frick or Cooper's and Stevens's Gaps, on the Lookout Mountain, the only practicable routes leading down the mountains into the valley, called McLemore's Cove, which lies at its eastern base, and stretches north-westwardly toward Chattanooga.

General McCook's corps was to cross: Two divisions at Caperton's Ferry, move to Valley Head and seize Winston's Gap, while Sheridan was to cross at Bridgeport, as soon as the bridge was laid, and join the rest of his corps, near Winston's, by way of Trenton.

General Crittenden's corps was ordered down the Sequatchie, leaving the two advanced brigades, under Hazen and Warren, with Minty's cavalry and Wilder's mounted infantry, to watch and annoy the enemy. It was to cross the river, following Thomas's corps, at all three crossings, and to take post on the Murphy's Hollow road, push an advance brigade to reconnoitre the enemy at the foot of Lookout, and take part at Wauhatchie, communicating from his main body with Thomas, on the right, up the Trenton Valley, and threatening Chattanooga by the pass over the point of Lookout.

The cavalry, crossed at Caperton's and a ford near Island Creek, were to unite in Lookout Valley, take post at Rawlingsville, and reconnoitre boldly toward Rome and Alpine.

These movements were completed by McCook's and Crittenden's corps on the sixth, and by Thomas's corps on the eighth of September. The cavalry for some reason was not pushed with the vigor nor to the extent which orders and the necessities of the campaign required. Its continual movement since that period, and the absence of Major-General Stanley, the Chief of Cavalry, have prevented a report which may throw some light on the subject.

The first barrier south of the Tennessee being crossed, the enemy was found firmly holding the Point of Lookout Mountain with infantry and artillery, while our force on the north side of the river reported the movement of the rebel forces from East-Tennessee, and their concentration at Chattanooga. To dislodge him from that place, it was necessary to carry Lookout Mountain, or so to move as to compel him to quit his position, by endangering his line of communication. The latter plan was chosen.

The cavalry was ordered to advance on our extreme right to Summerville in Broomtown Valley, and General McCook was ordered to support the movement by a division of infantry thrown forward to the vicinity of Alpine, which was executed on the eighth and ninth of September.

General Thomas was ordered to cross his corps by Frick's or Cooper's and Stevens's Gaps, and occupy the head of McLemore's Cove.

General Crittenden was ordered to reconnoitre the front of Lookout Mountain, sending a brigade upon an almost impracticable path, called the Nickajack Trace, to Summertown, a hamlet on the summit of the mountain, overlooking Chattanooga, and holding the main body of his corps, either to support these reconnoissances, to prevent a sortie of the enemy over the nose of Lookout, or to enter Chattanooga in case the enemy should evacuate it or make but feeble resistance. Simultaneously with this movement, the cavalry was ordered to push, by way of Alpine and Broomtown Valley, and strike the enemy's railroad communication between Resaca Bridge and Dalton.

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