previous next

[223] came near and shells burst about it. Our centre was being driven.

Orders were sent to General Negley to move his division from Crawfish Springs and above, where he had been holding the line of the Chickamauga, to Widow Glenn's, to be held in reserve to give succor wherever it might be required, at halfpast four P. M. He reported with his division, and as the indications that our centre was being driven became clearer he was despatched in that direction, and soon found the enemy had dislodged Van Cleve from the line, and was forming there even while Thomas was driving his right. Orders were promptly given Negley to attack him, which he soon did, and drove him steadily until night closed the combat.

General Brannan, having repulsed the enemy on our extreme left, was sent by General Thomas to support the centre, and at night took a position on the right of Reynolds.

Colonel Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry occupied during the day a position on the La Fayette road, one mile north of Gordon's Mill, where he had taken position on the afternoon previous, when, contesting the ground step by step, he had been driven by the enemy's advance from Alexander's bridge.

Minty's cavalry had been ordered from the same position about noon of the nineteenth to report to Major-General Granger at Rossville, which he did at daylight on the twentieth, and was posted near Mission Mills, to hold in check the enemy's cavalry on their right from the direction of Ringgold and Greysville.

The reserve corps covered the approaches from the Chickamauga toward Rossville, and the extension of our left.

The roar of battle hushed in the darkness of night, and our troops, weary with a night of marching and a day of fighting, rested on their arms, having everywhere maintained their positions, developed the enemy, and gained thorough command of the Rossville and Dry Valley roads to Chattanooga, the great objects of the battle of the nineteenth of September.

The battle had secured us these objects. Our flanks covered the Dry Valley and Rossville roads, while our cavalry covered the Missionary Ridge and the valley of Chattanooga Creek, into which latter place our spare trains had been sent on Friday the eighteenth.

We also had indubitable evidence of the presence of Longstreet's corps, and Johnson's forces, by the capture of prisoners from each.

And the fact that at the close of the day, we had present but two brigades, which had not been opportunely and squarely in action, opposed to superior numbers of the enemy, assured us that we were greatly outnumbered, and that the battle the next day must be for the safety of the army and the possession of Chattanooga.

The battle of the Twentieth.

During the evening of the nineteenth, the corps commanders were assembled at headquarters at Widow Glenn's house, the reports of the positions and condition of their commands heard, and orders given for the disposition of the troops for the following day.

Thomas's corps, with the troops which had reinforced him, was to maintain substantially his present line, with Brannan in reserve.

McCook, maintaining his picket-line till it was driven in, was to close on Thomas, his right refused, and covering the position at Widow Glenn's house, and Crittenden to have two divisions in reserve near the junction of McCook's and Thomas's lines, to be able to succor either.

Plans having been explained, written.orders given to each, and read in the presence of all, the wearied corps commanders returned about midnight to their commands.

No firing took place during the night. The troops had assumed position when day dawned. The sky was red and sultry. The atmosphere and all the woods enveloped in fog and smoke. As soon as it was sufficiently light, I proceeded, accompanied by General Garfield and some aids, to inspect the lines.

I found General McCook's right too far upon the crest, and General Davis in reserve on a wooded hill-side west of and parallel to the Dry Valley road. I mentioned these defects to the General, desiring Davis's division to be brought down at once, moved more to the left and placed in close column by division doubled in the centre in a sheltered position.

I found General Crittenden's two divisions massed at the foot of the same hill, in the valley, and called his attention to it, desiring them to be moved further to the left.

General Thomas's troops were in the position indicated, except Palmer's line was to be closed more compactly.

Satisfied that the enemy's first attempt would be on our left, orders were despatched to General Negley to join General Thomas, and to General McCook to relieve Negley. Returning to the right I found Negley had not moved, nor were McCook's troops coming in to relieve him. Negley was preparing to withdraw his two brigades from the line. He was ordered to send his reserve brigade immediately and follow it with the others, only when relieved on the line of battle. General Crittenden, whose troops were nearest, was ordered to fill General Negley's place at once, and General McCook was notified of this order, growing out of the necessity of promptly sending Negley to Thomas.

Proceeding to the extreme right, I felt the disadvantages of its position, mentioned them to General McCook, and, when I left him, enjoined on him that it was an indispensable necessity that we should keep closed to the left, and that we must do so at all hazards.

On my return to the position of General Negley, I found to my astonishment that General Crittenden had not relieved him, Wood's division having reached the position of Negley's reserves. Peremptory orders were given to repair this, and Wood's troops moved into position, but this delay subsequently proved of serious consequence.

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)
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.
September 19th (1)
20th (1)
19th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: