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[271] They had been deceived and blinded by some mesmer-magnetic influence of some rebel wizard. But the divinity of the “reliable” confounded the work and trampled the wicked machinations of this latter-day evil spirit, and would, by his power, discover to the deliverers of East-Tennessee the operations of these wily traitors. The troops, therefore, marched back to Loudon, expecting to meet the enemy at that point. Arrived there, they found no bridge, no enemy, nothing. They immediately pushed on in the direction of Huff's Ferry, the Second brigade, Second division, Twenty-third army corps Colonel Chapin commanding, in the advance, the entire command under the personal supervision of the division commander, Brigadier-General White, General Ferrero's division, of the Ninth army corps, in the rear. When three miles from the ferry, General White met General Potter, staff, and escort returning, who stated that they had been fired on a short distance ahead by rebel pickets. At this juncture there was a “crisis” in the market for the sale of stock in “reliable spies.” It was so sudden and so unexpected to the holders, and came with such a crash, that I doubt if a revulsion in nature and the upheaving of the contents of earth would cause it to emerge from its resting-place. Spies and scouts are necessary to the successful prosecution of a war in a country to which they are native, or at least in which they are acquainted with roads and modes of egress and ingress which it is impossible for the commander to know. But how careful should they be of trusting too fully to such information, and how well know the person whom they trust, and how summary and severe should be the punishment of him who violates this confidence and trust and renders insecure the safety of an army, especially one on which so much depends as on that of the army of East-Tennessee. This man either wilfully misrepresented or his coward nature would not allow him to ascertain the facts, and reported by guess, supposing the army would move on to Knoxville, and no harm being done, the facts would never be discovered.

When a short distance from where General Potter and staff had been tired upon, General White sent forward Lieutenant Lowrie, of his staff, with a small party to reconnoitre; who had advanced but a short distance when they were driven back by a strong rebel picket, a regiment being on duty. The rebels followed up the Lieutenant, and soon opened fire on Generals Potter, White, and Ferrero, their staffs and escorts. General White immediately ordered Colonel Chapin forward with his brigade, the One Hundred and Eleventh Ohio in the centre, One Hundred and Seventh Illinois on the right, and the Thirteenth Kentucky on the left, the Twenty-third Michigan supporting the artillery. Then begun the battle of Huff's Ferry. The troops moved forward at a double-quick, cheered to the work before them by their regimental commanders, and a moral influence being given to the charge by the presence of their brigade commander, Colonel Chapin, and an influence incalculable was added by the coolness in the hour of danger of their division commander, General White, who knew the odds against which his gallant brigade had to contend, and the necessity of the exposure which he made of his person upon the field, issuing his orders as the occasion demanded, frequently carrying and attending to the execution of them in person. It was such influence and such cool bravery on the part of their division commanders as I shall ever believe, that enabled this little brigade, all unused to the smell of the “villainous saltpetre,” to drive back two miles a superior force of the veterans of Longstreet, over ground which a lesser number should have held.

The One Hundred and Seventh Illinois was ordered to drive the rebels from a position they had taken on a hill upon the right, while the One Hundred and Eleventh Ohio and Thirteenth Kentucky swung around to inclose the fields and woods through which the rebels must pass, and would expose them to the fire of these two regiments. The One Hundred and Seventh did its work gallantly. Divesting themselves of all superfluous weight, knapsacks, overcoats, etc., as they moved to the charge, they gained the top of the hill, and scattered the troops of Longstreet in an almost perfect rout. Once getting a taste of the fight (it being their first) and exultant with this victory, their battle-cry the balance of the day was: “Forward!” While the One Hundred and Seventh was driving the enemy in such confusion on the right, the Thirteenth Kentucky and One Hundred and Eleventh Ohio were doing their work nobly. Elated by the success of their comrades, it seemed as if they were trying to outdo their achievements. The rebels were thus beaten back two miles, when they formed on a high hill, where they were sheltered by woods, and which they supposed impregnable — aided now as they were by their artillery, which had taken position on the opposite side of the river and had opened on our men. The Second brigade was now in an open field, exposed to the rebel fire from both the positions they had taken.

To clear this hill was the next work. Defended by three regiments of the famous corps, it seemed impossible. But it was to be done. The order had been issued and the men knew their General's meaning when he spoke, and were cheerful in obedience to him who had exposed himself to every danger for their good. The task devolved upon the Thirteenth Kentucky, supported by the One Hundred and Seventh Illinois. Before the charge the General rode along the lines encouraging the men to their duty. The order to charge was given. The Thirteenth Kentucky, led by their gallant young Colonel, Wm. E. Hobson, who seem ed to scorn danger and defy death in the presence of his command, moved to their mission. Fifteen minutes decided the day. The rebels were routed, but the path of the Thirteenth Kentucky was marked by their dead and wounded. In this short time sixty of that brave regiment lay dead or wounded upon the field of their glory. Night had now come on and the fighting ceased, except

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