place, and check the pursuit of the enemy and punish him until the trains and the rear of the army were well advanced.
This brought on the battle of Ringgold Gap
, for which Cleburne
and his heroes received the thanks of Congress.
It was Cleburne
's battle, and though he only had Hooker
to whip, it was a glorious performance, considering that the Union
army had just achieved the greatest victory on their record.
Indeed, it would have been a splendid and memorable achievement for troops in the course of unchecked triumphs.
The following account of it is substantially that given by General Cleburne
, abbreviated somewhat that the more personal references given in the narratives of Arkansas
soldiery engaged may not be unnecessarily repeated here.
The town of Ringgold
stands on a plain between the east Chickamauga creek
's ridge, on the Western & Atlantic railroad, about 200 miles southeast of Chattanooga
's ridge, which rises up immediately back of the town, runs ,in a northerly and southerly direction, parallel to Lookout mountain
about 18 miles west.
Back of the town the ridge is intersected by a narrow gap, which admits the railroad, a wagon road, and a good sized creek, a tributary of the Chickamauga
The creek hugs the southernmost hill, and the wagon road and railroad run close to the creek.
At its western mouth, near Ringgold
, the gap widens out to a breadth of over 100 yards, leaving room for a patch of level wooded land on each side of the roads.
The gap is about a half mile through, but the plain into which it opens to the east is so cut up by the windings of the creek that three bridges or fords have to be crossed in the first half mile out toward Dalton
Consequently it was a dangerous position if the enemy should succeed in turning either flank.
The gap and adjacent hills were thinly wooded, and the only heavy shelter of timber was a young grove running northward 300 or 400 yards at the foot of the hill