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[184] to Nashville. It was known that these troops could not go immediately to the front.

To send more men to Chattanooga, where those already there could not be fully supplied, would only increase the embarrassment, and probably cause the evacuation of that place.

In other words, Hooker's command was to temporarily perform the duties previously assigned to the reenforcements ordered from Grant's army.

We will now return to General Rosecrans's army, the main body of which we left on the fourteenth in the passes of Pigeon Mountain, with the enemy concentrating his forces, near La Fayette, to dispute its further advance. Bragg's threatened movements to the right and left were merely cavalry raids to cut off Rosecrans's line of supplies, and threaten his communications with Burnside. His main army was probably only awaiting the arrival of Longstreet's corps to give battle in the mountains of Georgia.

Of the movements of this corps, so well known to the enemy, we could get no reliable information. All we knew positively was, that one of Longstreet's divisions had arrived in Charleston to reenforce that place. It was said that other divisions had gone to Mobile, to protect it from an attack by Banks's army, but as there was no real danger of such an attack at that moment, it was more probably on its way to reenforce Bragg's army. But the time of its arrival was uncertain, as we had no reliable information of its departure from Richmond. We knew Bragg had been reenforced, by troops sent by Johnston from Mississippi, and it was afterward ascertained that the rebel authorities had falsely declared as exchanged, and released from parole, the prisoners of war captured by Grant and Banks at Vicksburgh and Port Hudson. This shameless violation of the cartel and of the wellestablished usages of civilized warfare, was resorted to by the enemy in order to swell the numbers of Bragg's army in the approaching conflict.

General Rosecrans's troops were, at this time, scattered along in an extended line from Gordon's Mills to Alpine, a distance of some forty miles. By the seventeenth, they were brought more within supporting distance, and on the morning of the eighteenth a concentration was begun toward Crawfish Spring, but slowly executed.

The battle of Chickamauga commenced on the morning of the nineteenth, McCook's corps forming on the right of our line of battle, and Crittenden's the centre, and Thomas's the left. The enemy first attacked our left, with heavy masses, endeavoring to turn it, so as to occupy the road to Chattanooga. But all their efforts proved abortive. The centre was next assailed, and temporarily driven back, but being promptly reenforced, maintained its ground. As night approached the battle ceased, and the combatants rested on their arms. The attack was furiously renewed on the morning of the twentieth, against our left and centre. Division after division was pushed forward to resist the attacking masses of the enemy, when, according to General Rosecrans's report, General Wood, overlooking the direction β€œto close upon Reynolds,” supposed he was to support him, by withdrawing from the line, and passing in the rear of General Brannan.

By this unfortunate mistake, a gap was opened in the line of battle, of which the enemy took instant advantage, and, striking Davis in the flank and rear, threw his whole division into confusion.

General Wood claims that the orders he received were of such a character as to leave him no option but to obey them in the manner he did.

Pouring in through this break in our line, the enemy cut off our right and right centre, and attacked Sheridan's division, which was advancing to the support of our left. After a gallant but fruitless effort against this rebel torrent, he was compelled to give way, but afterward rallied a considerable portion of his force, and by a circuitous route joined General Thomas, who now had to breast the tide of battle against the whole rebel army.

Our right and part of the centre had been completely broken, and fled in confusion from the field, carrying with them to Chattanooga their commanders, Generals McCook and Crittenden; also, General Rosecrans, who was on that part of the line. His Chief of Staff, General Garfield, however, made his way to the left and joined General Thomas, who still remained immovable in his position. His line had assumed a crescent form with its flanks supported by the lower spurs of the mountain, and here, like a lion at bay, he repulsed the terrible onsets of the enemy. About half-past 3 P. M. the enemy discovered a gap in the hills, in the rear of his right flank, and Longstreet commenced pouring his massive column through the opening. At this critical moment, Major-General Gordon Granger, who had been posted with his reserves to cover our left and rear, arrived upon the field. He knew nothing of the condition of the battle, but, with the true instincts of a soldier, he had marched to the sound of the cannon. General Thomas merely pointed out to him the gap through which the enemy was debouching, when, quick as thought, he threw upon it Steadman's brigade of cavalry.

In the words of General Rosecrans's official report: β€œSwift was the charge and terrible the conflict, but the enemy was broken. A thousand of our brave men, killed and wounded, paid for its possession, but we held the gap. Two of Longstreet's corps confronted the position: determined to take it, they successively came to the assault. A battery of six guns, which played into the gorge, poured death and slaughter into them. They charged to within a few yards of the pieces, but our grape and canister and the leaden hail of musketry, delivered in sparing but terrible volleys, from the cartridges taken, in many instances, from the boxes of their fallen companions, was too much even for Longstreet's ”

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