rapidly than the centre, they were found confronting each other in lines nearly parallel and within artillery range. Any advance by them, especially at night, over ground so thickly wooded, might have resulted in the most serious consequences. The enemy, though driven from his lines, still confronted us, and desultory firing was heard until eight P. M. Other noises, indicating movements and dispositions for the morrow, continued until a late hour at night. During the operations by the main forces, on the nineteenth and twentieth, the cavalry, on the flanks, was actively and usefully employed, holding the enemy in observation and threatening or assailing him as occasion offered. From the report of Major-General Wheeler, commanding on the left, it will be seen what important service was rendered, both on the twentieth and twenty-first, by his command, especially in the capture of prisoners and property, and in the dispersion of the enemy's cavalry. Brigadier General Forrest's report will show equally gallant and valuable services by his command on our right. Exhausted by two days battle, with very limited supply of provisions, and almost destitute of water, some time in daylight was absolutely essential for our troops to supply these necessaries and replenish their ammunition before renewing the contest. Availing myself of this necessary delay to inspect and readjust my lines, I moved, as soon as daylight served, on the twenty-first. On my arrival, about sunrise, near Lieutenant-General Polk's bivouac, I met the ever-vigilant General Liddell, commanding a division in our front line, who was awaiting the General, to report that his pickets this morning discovered the enemy had retreated during the night from his immediate front. Instructions were promptly given to push forward our whole line of skirmishers to the front, and I moved to the left and extended these orders. All the cavalry at hand, including my personal guard, were ordered to the front. Members of my staff, in passing through the lines of our left wing with their escort, were warned of danger, and told that they were entering on the neutral ground between us and the enemy. But this proved to be an error, and our cavalry soon came upon the enemy's rear guard, where the main road passes through Missionary Ridge. He had availed himself of the night to withdraw from our front, and his main body was already in position within his lines at Chattanooga. Any immediate pursuit by our infantry and artillery would have been fruitless, as it was not deemed practicable, with our weak and exhausted forces, to assail the enemy, now more than double our numbers, behind his intrenchments. Though we had defeated him and driven him from the field with heavy loss in men, arms, and artillery, it had only been done by heavy sacrifices, in repeated, persistent, and most gallant assaults upon superior numbers strongly posted and protected. The conduct of our troops was excellent throughout the prolonged contest. Often repulsed where success seemed impossible, they never failed to rally and return to the charge, until the last combined and determined effort, in which the spirit of every man seemed to conspire for success, was crowned with the reward due to such gallantry in a just cause. Our loss was in proportion to the prolonged and obstinate struggle. Two-fifths of our gallant troops had fallen, and the number of general and staff officers stricken down will best show how these troops were led. Major-General Hood, the model soldier and inspiring leader, fell after contributing largely to our success, and has suffered the irreparable loss of a leg. That his valuable life should be spared to us is, however, a source of thankfulness and gratitude. Major-General Hindman, highly distinguished for gallantry and good conduct, received a severe contusion, but persisted in keeping the saddle until he witnessed the success in which his command largely participated. Brigadier-Generals B. H. Helm, Preston Smith and James Deshla died upon the field in the heroic discharge of duty. They were true patriots and gallant soldiers, and worthy of the high reputation they enjoyed. Brigadier-Generals Adams, Gregg and McNair fell severely wounded, whilst gallantly leading their commands in the thickest of the fight. It is gratifying to know they are convalescing, and will be again found at the post of duty and danger. Judging from appearances on the field, the enemy's losses must have exceeded our own largely, but we have no means of correctly estimating them. We captured over eight thousand prisoners, fifty-one pieces of artillery, fifteen thousand stand of small arms, and quantities of ammunition, with wagons, ambulances and teams, medicines, and hospital stores in large quantities. The accompanying maps--one, two, three and four--based on accurate surveys, will afford the necessary information for the correct understanding of the movements of both armies. The positions of the troops on the field are given mostly from the sketches of their respective commanders. The times selected for indication were the morning of the nineteenth, when the action commenced; the morning of the twentieth, and the evening of the twentieth, at the close of the operations. There has been much delay in rendering some of the subordinate reports, and none have been received from Lieutenant-Generals Polk and Hill, and only two from brigades in Longstreet's corps. The absence of these has caused a delay in making up my own, and induced me to defer forwarding the others, hoping that all might be submitted together. For the many deeds of daring and acts of heroic devotion exhibited on this field, reference is made to the subordinate reports. It will be remarked that the private soldier is eminently distinguished, as he always will be in an army where the rank and file is made up of the best citizens of the country. The medical officers, both in the field and in
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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