The two armies are now confronting each other in the immediate vicinity of the town of Chattanooga
After the two days battle of the nineteenth and twentieth, the line of the Federal
army occupied a position eight miles from the town — the left, with General Thomas
, maintaining its former front, while the right and centre had fallen back some two miles from its former position.
From the superior force of the rebels in our front, and the great extent of line which the Federals
were necessarily forced to defend, after holding the enemy at bay for forty-eight hours, our lines were withdrawn within the support of the works which had been thrown up by the enemy previous to their evacuation of this place.
The enemy having been so severely punished in the late conflict, were slow in following us to our present established line.
They held back as if to give us full opportunity for a successful recrossing of the Tennessee River
But General Rosecrans
did not see proper to take advantage of these favorable designs of the enemy.
On retiring to Chattanooga
, instead of placing the Tennessee
between his forces and those of the rebels, he immediately called around him his generals, and in a few words explained to them his future intended plans.
“ This place is to be held at all hazards; we here make the big fight, be the strength of the enemy what it may. Beyond this point the army of the Cumberland will not retire while there is a foe to menace it!”
General St. Clair Morton
of Engineers, immediately set about to put the place in a defensible condition for the warm welcome of the enemy.
at present occupy the works previously constructed by the rebels to prevent the approach of the Yankees
The former strength of these works the enemy know full well.
But they have now been made more complete, enlarged and improved upon by those whose approach they were first intended to resist.
The enemy have been constantly moving around us since our retirement to this place.
Large bodies of cavalry, infantry, and artillery are to be seen moving along the heights and through the valleys and plains beyond our present limits.
They have been trying the range of their guns upon our position, but have not as yet succeeded in the accomplishment of any advantage to themselves or injury to the Nationals.
Their shot and shell have all fallen harmless to the earth.
They are distinctly to be seen in very strong force, in successive lines of battle, on the hillsides and in the bottoms.
The dense woods in our immediate front are also swarming with them, but they thus far have shown but little disposition to advance and again try their strength and fortune with the little army of despised menials
with which they are at present confronted.
For the purpose of a more perfect range in our immediate front, it has been our painful duty to burn all the dwellings between the Federal
lines and those of the enemy.
More than fifty buildings have thus been levelled to the ground, some of which were quite valuable, and the premises most beautifully ornamented with all the surroundings of comfort and pleasure.
But all is now a complete waste; every thing has been levelled and destroyed.
Houses, trees, shrubbery, fences, and all are gone — made to give way to the result of rebellion and the curse of war. Over this now desert waste the guns of the Federals
have complete control.
On the twenty-third, the enemy were observed in the attempt of getting into position with their batteries.
From this the Federals
opened upon them with a few of the guns of General Negley
's command, from their powerful and commanding “Star Fort,” the design and partial erection of the rebels, which work has been fully completed and improved upon by the Nationals.
This introductory soon had the desired effect, the enemy withdrawing with their pieces to a more secure position.
As the enemy had been observed in taking up their position in line of battle, a few shells were thrown in among them to notify them of the Yankee
objection to their close proximity.
From these pesky annoyances they hastily retired.
Large bodies of the enemy were seen moving to our right, but feeling fully prepared for them at all points, no diversion was made from our lines to counteract the rebel movements.
On the right some picket-firing occurred with the enemy's skirmishers, but no further aggressive movements were indulged in. During the day considerable enthusiasm was manifested along the rebel lines.
Great cheering at the remarks of orators was indulged in. At the outpost pickets they were heard to exclaim, while haranguing the soldiers, “that the fate and success of the Southern Confederacy now depending upon the crushing of the present army of the Cumberland.”
But that they have found to be a game that more than themselves can indulge in. The day of the twenty-third closed with nothing of particular importance transpiring along the lines.
Toward evening the Star-Spangled Banner was raised to the top of a long staff erected on the Star Fort
, in honor of its completion, and expression of thanks to the enemy for their unintended favors in the planning and labor bestowed upon this strong work.
The flag now floats where the enemies of their country can have a plain and distinct view of its stars and stripes, waving over the battlements of their former possessions.
Some picket-firing was indulged in during the night of the twenty third.
The enemy seemed quite desirous of advancing their lines under cover of darkness, but they found the Unionists in sufficient force and strength to successfully dispute any encroachments upon their established lines.
From some hostile demonstration on our centre, a battery was opened upon the enemy, which soon made all quiet again in that quarter.
Rockets were to be seen in the air during the night, with which the Federal
pickets had been furnished for the conveyance of information, should the enemy make any demonstrations of advance or other movements.
Toward morning a heavy fog hung over the ground in our front, completely screening the position of the enemy from view.
In anticipation of the rebels taking advantage of this circumstance to advance and post their batteries, a fire was opened upon their lines, and continued until all was known to be safe.
The enemy have not replied to our batteries for the last two days. What may be their present or future intentions cannot be well conjectured.
During the day of the twenty-third, the enemy were known to be moving cavalry, infantry, and wagon-trains along the south side of the Tennessee
, toward Knoxville
Whether they are intending another invasion of Kentucky
is more than your correspondent can correctly determine.
But it is to be presumed that our military authorities here are fully aware of all the demonstrative movements of the foe, and will make all the necessary changes consequent to the occasion.
The rebels will, no doubt, make great efforts to interrupt our line of communication with the North
, and thus cut off our army supplies; but in this they will be mistaken, as there is now a large supply of provisions here for future consumption, sufficient to prevent any inconvenience that might occur from the designs of the enemy.
Nearly all of the sick and wounded of our army have been removed from this place to Stephenson
, from which point they will be taken farther north as rapidly as the facilities of the railroad will admit.