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[203] burning and broken. Still the enemy kindly left us a good supply of forage for our horses, and meal, beans, etc., for our men.

Pausing but a short while, we passed on, the road lined with broken wagons and abandoned caissons, till night. Just as the head of the column emerged from a dark, miry swamp, we encountered the rear-guard of the retreating army. The fight was sharp, but the night closed in so dark that we could not move. General Grant came up to us there--General Davis still leading.

At daylight we resumed the march, and at Greysville, where a good bridge spanned the Chickamauga, we found the corps of General Palmer, on the south bank. He informed us that General Hooker was on a road still further south, and we could hear his guns near Ringgold.

As the roads were filled with all the troops they could accommodate, I then turned to the east to fulfil another part of the general plan, namely, to break up all communications between Bragg and Longstreet.

We had all sorts of rumors as to the latter, but it was manifest that we should interpose a proper force between these two armies.

I therefore directed General Howard to move to Parker's Gap, and thence send a competent force to Red Clay, or the Council Ground, and there destroy a large section of the railroad which connects with Dalton and Cleveland. This work was most successfully and completely performed that day.

The division of General Jeff. C. Davis was moved up close to Ringgold, to assist General Hooker, if needed, and the Fifteenth corps held at Greysville, for any thing that might turn up.

About noon, I had a message from General Hooker, saying that he had had a pretty hard fight at the mountain pass just beyond Ringgold, and he wanted me to come forward, and turn the position.

He was not aware, at the time, that Howard, by running through Parker's Gap toward Red Clay, had already turned it. So I rode forward to Ringgold, and found the enemy had already fallen back to Tunnel Hill. He was already out of the valley of Chickamauga, and on ground where the waters flow to the Coosa. He was out of Tennessee.

I found General Grant at Ringgold, and, after some explanations as to breaking up the railroad from Ringgold back to the State line, as soon as some cars loaded with wounded could be pushed back to Chickamauga Depot, I was ordered to: move slowly and leisurely back to Chattanooga.

On the following day, the Fifteenth corps destroyed absolutely and effectually the railroad, from a point half-way between Greysville and Ringgold, back to the State line; and General Grant, coming to Greysville, consented that, instead of returning to Chattanooga, I might send back my artillery, wagons, and impediments, and make a circuit by the north as far as the Hiawassee.

Accordingly, on the morning of November twenty-ninth, General Howard moved from Parker's Gap to Cleveland, General Davis by way of McDaniel's Gap, and General Blair, with two divisions of the Fifteenth army corps, by way of Julian's Gap — all meeting at Cleveland that night. Here another good break was made in the Cleveland and Dalton road. On the thirtieth, the army moved to Charleston, General Howard approaching so rapidly that the enemy evacuated in haste, leaving the bridge but partially damaged, and five car-loads of flour and provisions on the north bank of the Hiawassee.

This was to have been the limit of our journey. Officers and men had brought no luggage or provisions, and the weather was bitter cold. I had hardly entered the town of Charleston, when General Wilson arrived with a letter from General Grant, at Chattanooga, informing me that the latest authentic accounts from Knoxville were to the twenty-seventh, at which time General Burnside was completely invested, and had provisions only to include the third December; that General Granger had left Chattanooga for Knoxville by the railroad, with a steamboat following him in the river; but the General feared Granger could not reach Knoxville in time, and ordered me to take command of all troops moving to the relief of Knoxville, and hasten to Burnside.

Seven days before, we had left our camps on the other side of the Tennessee, with two days rations, without a change of clothing, stripped for the fight, with but a single blanket or coat per man — from myself to the private included; of course, we then had no provisions, save what we gathered by the road, and were ill supplied for such a march.

But we learned that twelve thousand of our fellow-soldiers were beleaguered in the mountain town of Knoxville, eighty-four miles distant, that they needed relief, and must have it in three days. This was enough, and it had to be done.

General Howard, that night, repaired and planked the railroad bridge, and at daylight the army passed the Hiawassee, and marched to Athens, fifteen miles. I had supposed rightfully that General Granger was about the mouth of the Hiawassee, and sent him notice of my orders that the General had sent me a copy of his written instructions, which were full and complete, and that he must push for Kingston, near which we would make a junction. By the time I reached Athens, I had time to study the geography, and sent him orders which found him at Decatur; that Kingston was out of our way; that he should send his boat to Kingston, but with his command strike across to Philadelphia, and report to me there. I had but a small force of cavalry, which was, at the time of my receipt of General Grant's orders, scouting over and about Benton and Columbus. I left my aid, Major McCoy, at Charleston, to communicate with the cavalry, and hurry it forward. It overtook me in the night at Athens.

On the second December, the army moved

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