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[439] not only deranged our pontoon bridges; it had so swelled Lookout creek that it was unfordable: so he dispatched Geary, supported by Cruft, up the creek to Wauhatchie, there to cross and hold the right bank, while the residue of his command should construct temporary bridges directly in their front, lower down.

A heavy mist favored this movement, which would otherwise have been perilous; as it was, the enemy were so intent on watching Hooker's bridge-builders that they did not observe Geary, who crossed the creek at 8 A. M.,1 capturing a picket of 42 men posted at the bridge, resting here his left, extending his right to the foot of the mountain, on the enemy's side of the valley, facing northward. Gross's brigade now, by Hooker's order, advanced and seized the bridge over the creek just below the railroad crossing, and pushed across there. Now Osterhaus, who had just come up from Brown's ferry, pushed forward Wood's brigade to a point half a mile above Gross, laid a temporary bridge, and crossed there. Meanwhile, our batteries, established on the most available hills, were so planted as to enfilade the Rebel infantry, as they marched down from their camp on the mountain to man their breast-works and rifle-pits. Part of them had taken post behind a railroad embankment, and kept up a deadly fire with little exposure or loss on their part. Still, Hooker's men — they were 9,681, all told, and no two divisions of them had hitherto fought in the same battle-acted from the first as though they were bound to conquer.

By 11 A. M., Wood had his bridge finished; Geary was close at hand, skirmishing smartly; and now all our guns opened in concert; while Wood and Gross, springing across the creek, joined Geary's left, and moved down the valley, sweeping all before them; taking many prisoners in their rifle-pits, and allowing few to escape up the mountain; our men from right to left following at full speed, right under the muzzles of the enemy's guns; climbing over ledges and bowlders, crests and chasms, and driving the Rebels through their camp without allowing them to halt there; hurling them back with little more than a show of fighting; Geary's advance rounding the peak of the mountain about noon, and still pressing on; though Hooker, who knew that Bragg had reinforced th<*> wing, but not to what extent, had given orders that they be halted and reformed on reaching the summit; but the men would not be halted, Out rushed forward, making hundreds of prisoners, and hurling the residue down the precipitous eastern declivity of the mountain.

Darkness, at 2 P. M., arrested our victorious arms; the mountain being now enveloped in a cloud so thick and black as to render farther movement perilous, if not impossible; when Hooker's line was established along the east brink of the precipice, its left near the mouth of Chattanooga creek; where, by 4 P. M., it was so fortified, by whatever means were at hand, that lie sent word to Grant that his position was impregnable.

At 5 1/4, Brig.-Gen. Carlin, of the 14th corps, reported to him, and,

1 Nov. 24.

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