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[196] one brigade of which, with Howard in person, reached Sherman just as he had completed the crossing of the river.

When Hooker emerged in sight of the northern extremity of Lookout Mountain, Carlin's brigade of the Fourteenth corps was ordered to cross Chattanooga Creek and form a junction with him. This was effected late in the evening, and after considerable fighting.

Thus, on the night of the twenty-fourth, our forces maintained an unbroken line, with open communications, from the north end of Lookout Mountain, through Chattanooga valley, to the north end of Missionary Ridge.

On the morning of the twenty-fifth, Hooker took possession of the mountain-top with a small force, and with the remainder of his command, in pursuance of orders, swept across Chattanooga valley, now abandoned by the enemy, to Rossville. In this march he was detained four hours building a bridge across Chattanooga Creek. From Rossville he ascended Missionary Ridge, and moved southward toward the centre of the now shortened line.

Sherman's attack upon the enemy's most northern and most vital point was vigorously kept up all day. The assaulting column advanced to the very rifle-pits of the enemy, and held this position firmly and without wavering. The right of the assaulting column being exposed to the danger of being turned, two brigades were sent to its support. These advanced in the most gallant manner over an open field on the mountain side to near the works of the enemy, and lay there partially covered from the fire for some time. The right of these two brigades rested near the head of a ravine or gorge in the mountain side, which the enemy took advantage of, and sent troops covered from view below them, and to their right rear. Being unexpectedly fired into from this direction, they fell back across the open field below them, and re-formed in good order in the edge of the timber. The column which attacked them were speedily driven to their intrenchments by the. assaulting column proper.

Early in the morning of the twenty-fifth, the remainder of Howard's corps reported to Sherman, and constituted a part of his forces during that day's battle, the pursuit, and subsequent advance for the relief of Knoxville.

Sherman's position not only threatened the right flank of the enemy, but, from his occupying a. line across the mountain and to the railroad bridge across Chickamauga Creek, his rear and stores at Chickamauga Station. This caused the enemy to move heavily against him. This movement of his being plainly seen from the position I occupied on Orchard Knoll, Baird's division of the Fourteenth corps was ordered to Sherman's support; but receiving a note from Sherman, informing me that he had all the force necessary, Baird was put in position on Thomas's left.

The appearance of Hooker's column was at this time anxiously looked for, and momentarily expected, moving north on the ridge, with his left in Chattanooga Valley, and his right east of the ridge. His approach was intended as the signal for storming the ridge in the centre with strong columns, but the time necessarily consumed in the construction of the bridge near Chattanooga Creek detained him to a later hour than was expected. Being satisfied from the latest information from him that he must, by this time, be on his way from Rossville, though not yet in sight, and discovering that the enemy, in his desperation to defeat or resist the progress of Sherman, was weakening his centre on Missionary Ridge, determined me to order the advance at once. Thomas was accordingly directed to move forward his troops constituting our centre — Baird's division, (Fourteenth corps,) Wood's and Sheridan's division, (Fourth corps,) and Johnson's division, (Fourteenth corps,) with a double line of skirmishers thrown out, followed in easy supporting distance by the whole force, and carry the rifle-pits at the foot of Missionary Ridge, and, when carried, to re-form his lines in the rifle-pits, with a view to carrying the top of the ridge.

These troops moved forward, drove the enemy from the rifle-pits at the base of the ridge like bees from a hive, stopped but a moment until the whole were in line, and commenced the ascent of the mountain from right to left almost simultaneously, following closely the retreating enemy without further orders. They encountered a fearful volley *of grape and canister from near thirty pieces of artillery and musketry from still well-filled rifle-pits on the summit of the ridge. Not a waver, however, was seen in all that long line of brave men. Their progress was steadily onward until the summit was in their possession. In this charge the casualties were remarkably few for the fire encountered. I can account for this only on the theory that the enemy's surprise at the audacity of such a charge caused confusion and purposeless aiming of their pieces.

The nearness of night, and the enemy still resisting the advance of Thomas's left, prevented a general pursuit that night, but Sheridan pushed forward to Mission Mills.

The resistance on Thomas's left being overcome, the enemy abandoned his position near the railroad-tunnel in front of Sherman, and by twelve o'clock at night was in full retreat; and the whole of his strong positions on Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga Valley, and Missionary Ridge were in our possession, together with a large number of prisoners, artillery, and small arms.

Thomas was directed to get Granger with his corps, and detachments enough firm other commands, including the force available at Kingston, to make twenty thousand men, in readiness to go to the relief of Knoxville upon the termination of the battle at Chattanooga--these troops to take with them four days rations, and a steamboat loaded with rations to follow up the liver.

On the evening of the twenty-fifth of November orders were given to both Thomas and Sherman to pursue the enemy early next morning, with


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