previous next

[62] 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 entrenchments. 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

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Missionary Ridge, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Preston Smith (2)
McNair (2)
J. B. Hood (2)
Hindman (2)
B. H. Helm (2)
Gregg (2)
James Deshla (2)
John Adams (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: