the enterprise proposed, and it was not until Sept. 9 that the first train came to Louisa C. H. to begin the transportation.
On that day 2000 Confederates under Gen. Frazier
, who had been unwisely held at Cumberland Gap
and allowed to be surrounded by a superior force, surrendered without a fight.
had occupied Knoxville
, leaving us only the long line via Petersburg
, and Atlanta
, about 925 miles, with imperfect connections through some cities and some changes of gauge.
The infantry was given precedence, and my battalion was marched to Petersburg
, where it took trains about 4 P. M., Thursday, Sept. 17.
At 2 A. M., Sunday, the 20th, we reached Wilmington
, 225 miles in 58 hours. Here we changed cars and ferried the river, leaving at 2 P. M. The battle of Chickamauga
was being fought upon the 19th and 20th, only five of our nine brigades having arrived in time to participate.
We reached Kingsville, S. C.
, 192 miles in 28 hours, changed trains in six hours, and got to Augusta
, 140 miles, at 2 P. M. on Tuesday, the 22d.
at 7 P. M., we reached Atlanta
, 171 miles, at 2 P. M., Wednesday.
Leaving at 4 A. M., Thursday, we were carried 115 miles and landed at Ringgold Station, 12 miles from the battle-field, at 2 A. M. on Friday, Sept. 25.
Our journey by rail had been 843 miles and had consumed seven days and 10 hours, or 178 hours. It could scarcely be considered rapid transit, yet under the circumstances it was really a very creditable feat for our railroad service under the attendant circumstances.
We found ourselves restricted to the use of one long roundabout line of single-track road of light construction, much of it of the ‘stringer track’ of those days, a 16-pound rail on stringers, with very moderate equipment and of different gauges, for the entire service at the time of a great battle of the principal armies of the Confederacy
The task would have taxed a double-tracked road with modern equipment.
performance was simply impossible, and the incomplete success we were able to obtain by getting five brigades of Longstreet
's infantry upon the field, without any of his artillery, shows the soundness of our strategy, and is an earnest of what might have been accomplished, had a campaign upon our short interior lines been inaugurated in May, under Lee