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No. 3.-report of Capt. Jacob T. Foster, First Wisconsin battery, Chief of artillery, of operations June 6-18.

Hdqrs. Artillery, Seventh Div., Army of the Ohio, Cumberland Gap, June 21, 1862.
Dear sir: I have the honor to report that, according to General Orders, No. 39, the line of march was taken up for the attack of Cumberland Gap by the siege battery, consisting of two 20 and two 30 pounder Parrott guns, on Friday, June 6, 1862, under command of Lieutenant Webster, of Foster's First Wisconsin Battery. Preparations were made as extensively as possible in this part of the country, [65] where it is very difficult to find machinery of any kind, and doubly difficult for the movement of a heavy train and ordnance connected with a siege battery of Parrott rifled guns. Machinery for the movement of this battery over steep ascents and descents consisted of about 800 feet of 1-inch, 100 feet of 1-inch rope, three large and two small snatchblocks, one double and one single tackle-block. This was all the tackle of any kind that could be obtained in time to be of any use to move without hinderance to the forces of this division. To move this battery a distance of 40 miles over the Cumberland Mountains and over roads considered impassable by the enemy for light artillery seemed a herculean task, which the heart would almost shrink from undertaking, for many of the ascents would form an angle of 30° with a horizontal plane, and this to be overcome, knowing that we were in many instances to make a corresponding descent.

On the following day Foster's First Wisconsin Battery, under command of Lieut. John D. Anderson, moved forward, and being a light battery, met with but little difficulty the first few miles. The Ninth Ohio Battery, commanded by Lieutenant Barrows, followed upon the succeeding day with similar success. Two hundred men from the infantry were detailed to assist in overcoming the steep ascents and descents, which was to be done by ropes and pulleys. The ropes and pulleys were in constant use or readiness, and the men were obliged to be constantly on the alert, for the ascents were not only steep, but along sideling places, where, were the gun-carriages once overturned, they would have fallen over precipitous rocks varying in height from 100 to 500 feet. In many instances were the turns in the road more than at right-angles, and this up steep sideling ascents, rendering it almost impossible to turn with teams. At many times was the whole force, both of men and horses, used upon the same rope.

On arriving at the top of the Cumberland Mountains the men and horses seemed nearly exhausted, many of the horses being entirely broken down, and will be worthless hereafter. Both men and horses had been upon short rations and forage, and it was impossible for subsistence and forage trains to follow close upon the troops over such terribly rugged roads. Many of my command have been the overland route to California, and all concede there was nothing to compare with these steep ascents and descents on the route.

About 12 m. of June 10 the siege battery commenced the ascent of the mountain on the northern side, via Rogers' Gap road, which had been blockaded by Zollicoffer's troops, and was cut out before us by command of Colonel De Courcy, commanding the Twenty-sixth Brigade. This road was a mere bridle-path, and much credit is due the troops under Colonel De Courcy for their hard labor in removing the blockade and constructing the road.

The Ninth Ohio Battery, Captain Wetmore, followed immediately in rear of the siege battery, and had much difficulty in ascending the steep declivity of this mountain, for it can be considered nothing else, although called a “gap.”

At 6 p. m. the first piece of the siege battery arrived on the top of the mountain, and there halted for the closing up of the remaining pieces. After halting until late in the evening all were closed up, and Wetmore's Ninth Ohio Battery allowed to pass and make the descent in advance. The 30-pounder guns being so heavy, weighing 8,000 pounds, were left at the top of the mountain, as the descent was too difficult to think for one moment of moving them down in the night. [66] The 20-pounders, being more nearly allied to light artillery, were moved down the mountain into Powell's Valley during the night, but not without difficulty, for in many instances would they have been whirled down the rocks but for the constant care and tugging at the ropes by all the men we had.

Foster's First Wisconsin Battery, which had been obliged to wait for an ammunition train to precede it up the mountain, started at 5 p. m., and after working hard through the night, without one moment's rest, and part of the time in almost total darkness (the moon being eclipsed), without rations or forage for the last eighteen hours, arrived in Powell's Valley without serious injury, only overturning a battery wagon and breaking its trail, at 3.30 o'clock a. m. on the 12th of June, 1862. This was the most difficult part of the mountain to overcome that we had encountered. The road was winding, narrow, very stony, and steep, and all the entire descent very sideling, so much so that we were constantly in imminent danger of being precipitated down the almost perpendicular banks over jagged rocks for several hundred feet, in which case it would have been sure death to man or beast.

On the 12th of June we were ordered to countermarch, recross the mountain, and move to Williamsburg, Ky. When this order was made known to the men they desired rather to shed their blood in Tennessee and leave their bones bleaching in Powell's Valley than to retrace their steps over the mountain; but like good soldiers they sadly but resolutely put their shoulders to the wheels literally, and commenced the ascent of the mountain upon the southern side. The 20-pounder Parrott guns were put in the advance and started at 10 o'clock. The road had become much worn and rutted, loose stones fallen into the track and filled it in places, which had to be removed, and which rendered it almost impossible for the horses to get a foothold; but after eleven hours hard labor the task was accomplished, and at 1 o'clock June 13 we camped at the foot of the mountain on the northern side.

At daylight the siege battery started upon its march, and after marching 7 miles was halted for further orders. Foster's battery followed the siege battery up the mountain and arrived at its summit at midnight, and then halted the remainder of the night, and before they had commenced the descent fortunately received orders to remain where they then were. Wetmore's Ninth Ohio Battery on the 12th were ordered to accompany a forage train into Powell's Valley, and did not return in time to begin the ascent of the mountain that night, and on the morning of the 13th were ordered to remain where they were in Powell's Valley, thus saving them the arduous labor of recrossing the mountain.

In the evening of the 13th of June orders were received to march back to Powell's Valley, upon hearing which the soldiers fairly yelled with delight, and seemed so anxious to return that they could hardly wait for morning to come. Foster's battery, being upon the top of the mountain, had only to descend the southern slope, and Wetmore's Ninth Ohio Battery, being in the valley, had only to remain there, whereas the siege battery, 12 miles on its road to Williamsburg, had both to climb and descend the mountain again. This battery reached the foot, on the northern side of the mountain, at 3 o'clock p. m. of the 14th, and remained there the balance of the day for the purpose of shoeing horses.

At 10 o'clock, June 15, the siege battery started up the hill, and at 9.15 p. m. reported all down the mountain safe in Powell's Valley. The [67] men and teams were completely exhausted, and men did not take their supper, being too much fatigued to cook it. Both men and horses lay down to rest, and had they been obliged to have moved 2 miles farther many must have perished by the road-side. Lanphere's Michigan battery took up their line of march, with General Carter's brigade, on June 11, and, following a part of the way the same route, had similar difficulties to overcome.

On June 13, crossed the Pine Mountain, and only had the misfortune to break one caisson trail and two caisson wheels, and camped at night at Boston. On June 15 passed Big Creek Gap with considerable difficulty, being obliged to halt for three hours to repair a caisson trail which was broken in an impassable part of the road and obliged the brigade to rest. On the 16th reached camp near Rogers' Gap. On going into camp an alarm was given upon supposition that the train was attacked, and the column was reversed and position taken in woods, where we remained until 10 p. m., when we moved forward and went into camp.

At 1.30 o'clock a. m., June 18, Foster's battery and the siege battery took up line of march with the Twenty-sixth Brigade, under command of Colonel De Courcy; Wetmore's battery, with the Twenty-seventh Brigade, under command of Brigadier-General Baird, and Lanphere's battery, with the Twenty-fourth Brigade, under command of Brigadier-General Carter, for the purpose of marching on the enemy, who were encamped about 8 miles up Powell's Valley from Rogers' Gap, where they were said to be in considerable force, but upon our arriving there found they had fled with great rapidity. We then marched to Cumberland Gap (which had been evacuated but a few hours previously) with Colonel De Courcy, and there Foster's battery saluted the Stars and Stripes with thirty-four guns.

I cannot close my report without bringing to your favorable notice as officers of special merit Lieutenant Anderson and C. B. Kimball, of Foster's First Wisconsin Battery, and Lieutenant Webster, of same battery commanding the siege battery, Lieutenant Barrows, commanding the Vinth Ohio Battery, and Captain Lanphere, of the Michigan battery, without whose valuable services but little of this arduous march of artillery could have been accomplished. Although we all would have gladly entered an encounter with the enemy, we. as officers of the artillery of this division, believe that more good results will be derived from this bloodless victory than with an encounter, and acknowledge that strategy displays more military skill than fields stained with blood.

Hoping we may always be victorious in the support of our country, I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. T. Foster, Captain, First Wisconsin Battery,Chief of Artillery, Seventh Division, Army of the Ohio. Capt. Charles O. Joline, A. A. G.

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