the recoiling brigades was promptly checked by a flanking fire from the crest; the enemy taking to the shelter of his crest and his woods.
Still, no decided success had been won by Sherman
's column up to 3 P. M. Meantime, Gen Giles A. Smith
had been disabled at 4 P. M. of the day before; and Gen. Corse
had been severely wounded at 10 A. M. of this day.
had been awaiting advices of Hooker
's successful advance on the right, before giving Thomas
the signal to advance.
Unaware of the long detention of Hooker
in bridging Lookout creek
, he had expected such advices before noon; and was still impatiently awaiting them, when, seeing that Bragg
was weakening his center to support his right, and judging that Hooker
must by this time be at or near Rossville
, he gave Thomas
, at 2 P. M., the order to advance and attack.
At once, Baird
's, and Johnson
's divisions went forward,with double lines of skirmishers in front, followed, at easy supporting distance, by the entire force, right into the enemy's rifle-pits at the base of the ridge; driving out the occupants, and hardly stopping to reform their lines before they charged right up the steep and difficult ascent — slowly, of course, but steadily and in order; following so close to the retreating foe as to embarrass, doubtless, his gunners firing from the crest of the ridge.
Says Gen. Grant
, in his official report:
These troops moved forward, drove the enemy from the rifle-pits at the base of the ridge like bees from a hive, stopped but a moment until the whole were in line, and commenced the ascent of the mountain from right to left almost simultaneously, following closely the retreating enemy without further orders.
They encountered a fearful volley of grape and canister from near 30 pieces of artillery and musketry from still well-filled rifle-pits on the summit of the ridge.
Not a waver, however, was seen in all that long line of brave men. Their progress was steadily onward until the summit was in their possession.
In this charge, the casualties were remarkably few for the fire encountered.
I can account for this only on the theory that the enemy's surprise at the audacity of such a charge caused confusion and purposeless aiming of their pieces.
The nearness of night, and the enemy still resisting the advance of Thomas's left, prevented a general pursuit that night; but Sheridan pushed forward to Mission mills.
The resistance on Thomas's left being overcome, the enemy abandoned his position near the railroad tunnel in front of Sherman, and by midnight was in full retreat; and the whole of his strong position on Lookout mountain, Chattanooga valley, and Mission ridge, was in our possession, together with a large number of prisoners, artillery, and small arms.
Says Gen. Thomas
, in his report:
Our troops advancing steadily in a continuous line, the enemy, seized with panic, abandoned the works at the foot of the hill and retreated precipitately to the crest; whither they were closely followed by our troops, who, apparently inspired by the impulse of victory, carried the hill simultaneously at six different points, and so closely upon the heels of the enemy, that many of them were taken prisoners in the trenches.
We captured all their cannon and ammunition, before they could be removed or destroyed.
After halting a few moments to reorganize the troops, who had become somewhat scattered in the assault of the hill Gen. Sherman pushed forward in pursuit, and drove those in his front, who escaped capture, across Chickamauga creek. Gens. Wood and Baird, being obstinately resisted by reenforcements from the enemy's extreme right, continued fighting, until darkness set in; slowly but steadily driving the enemy before them.
In moving upon Rossville, Gen. Hooker encountered Stewart's division and other troops; finding his left flank threatened, Stewart attempted to escape by retreating toward Greysville; but some of his force, finding their retreat threatened in that quarter, retired in disorder toward their right along the crest of the ridge; where they were met by another portion of Gen. Hooker's command, and were driven by these troops in the face of Johnson's division of Palmer's corps, by whom they were nearly all made prisoners.
As yet, we have looked at this remarkable