climbing to get a view of the cliffs and of the enemy's position, an excellent brass band, attached to General Beatty's brigade, strikes up a stirring national air. The rebels on the mountain, as if lacerated and provoked beyond sufferance by the melody that filled the forest, stirred the sweetest echoes of the caverns, and, when an inequality in their rocky battlement softened and flushed it again, sending up in the blue expanse trilling as sweetly as an angel choir, and thrilling the hearts of the loyal and true, answered back the enchanting strains with a volley of bullets that crashed through the treetops and fell as harmless as pebbles around. Failing in that, they threw against the freighted air curses that could not but have been fresh coined in hell. The skirmishing grew brisker, and as I toiled along I could not but mark that as distance mellowed the strains of music the vicious crackle of the musketry lent, after all, an accompaniment that smacked of the musical. Colonel La Grange, whose short experience has already won for him in the army a distinction that few enjoy, for cool calculating judgment in the hour of danger, and brilliant dashing valor in the hour of battle, I regret very much to say encountered an overwhelming force to-day near Poplar Spring, on the main road from Cleveland to Dalton, and was captured. His officers and men in referring to his personal intrepidity as displayed in the effort to-day to retrieve his fortunes after others had almost ceased to hope, pay the highest tribute to his character that could be tendered. The Colonel has for a long time been commanding a brigade of cavalry in Colonel Ed. McCook's division, which I have referred to before as operating on Schofield's left. The particulars are not fully given as yet, and perhaps will not be accurately known until the official report is forwarded. From what I can gather, however, it seems that Colonel La Grange, isolated and acting somewhat independently of the main force, encountered a force of rebel skirmishers near Poplar Spring, and drove them to the shelter of a little fort. From all appearances and from such information as he could obtain from the citizens, the rebels had no force of consequence at the fort, and he determined to charge and take it. The enemy, it appears, had concealed two regiments of infantry, that rose and poured in such a destructive fire that the line was forced to withdraw. In this encounter Colonel La Grange's horse was shot under him, and he received some painful bruises. On either flank, in addition to the infantry that lay in ambuscade, a force of cavalry, much superior in numbers to the brigade under La Grange, had been concealed up to this time, and now bore down upon his little force to crush it at a blow. Equal to any emergency where personal bravery is required, the Colonel prepared to resist, and did fight manfully until overpowered. His horse falling caused his capture. He lost, I am informed, over a hundred men, killed, wounded, and missing. Leaving the left for the time to visit the right and centre, we leave Schofield in his old position, Newton on the mountain, Wood and Stanley on the slope, and Davis confronting the Gap from the sentinel hills at its entrance. Rocky Face Ridge suffers an abrupt depression at Buzzard Roost, and, curving to the east in the shape of a horse-shoe, rises again to the same lofty altitude and courses toward the south. The railroad that crosses the ridge to Dalton, just here passes between the two hills Davis carried, touching the one on the right. Between the road and hill on the left, which is bisected by a gorge, runs a tortuous little water course, which, at every crossing between our lines and the rebel works, was so firmly dammed with logs, stones, and earth, that the valley around was flooded to such a depth as to make an assault impracticable. Along the slope of the continuation of Rocky Face, on the right of the gap looking eastward along the road, and on the slope to the left, it was determined to make a simultaneous advance this afternoon, and Colonel Scribner's brigade of Johnson's division, and Morgan's brigade of Davis' division, were the attacking forces. It was late in the afternoon when the fighting began. The rebels on the loftiest pinnacle of the Chattanooga Range had planted a battery of four or five guns, and they used them with good effect. Colonel Scribner's charge was characterized, as far as the troops are concerned, by the same tireless energy and fearless will to accomplish whatever task is set before them that has ever earned for them the confidence of commanders and the gratitude of the people. To say that Colonel Scribner himself bore his part unflinchingly, and evinced a clearness of judgment that fits him for the command of even more than a brigade, would be saying that which is so well known that it might be censured as a superfluity. I did not learn his loss. I saw the fighting, and when I commend him and his brigade I speak “that which I do know” he well deserves. Colonel Hambright accompanied the brigade while charging, under command of Colonel Scribner, and was struck by a piece of shell in the head. There was universal regret in the army over his misfortune, for few men are more highly esteemed for his multitude of shining qualities of heart and head than Colonel Hambright. The mill on the left slope was a kind of partnership affair; and, as in matters so amicably conducted by the Generals, where one of the party steps in and gets pummelled awhile and kindly retires, to let his neighbor at his elbow feel a few stunning counters, no one with prudence will interfere without common consent, I prefer not to dispense the honors, according to my judgment, least I should drop the wreath
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.