entire picket of forty-two men posted to defend it, marched directly up the mountain till his right rested on the palisades, and headed down the valley. At the same time Gross's brigade advanced resolutely, with brisk skirmishing, drove the enemy from the bridge, and at once proceeded to put it in repair. The firing at this point alarmed the rebels, and immediately their columns were seen filing down the mountains from their camps, and moving into their rifle-pits and breastworks. At the same time numbers established themselves behind the embankment of the railroad, which enabled them, without exposure, to sweep with a fire of musketry the field over which our troops would be compelled to march for a distance of three or four hundred yards. These dispositions were distinctly visiible, and, as facilities for avoiding them were close at hand, Osterhaus was directed to send a brigade, under cover of the hills and trees, about eight hundred yards higher up the creek, and prepare a crossing at that point. This was Brigadier-General Wood's brigade. Soon after this, Cruft was ordered to leave a sufficient force at the bridge to engage the attention of the enemy, and for the balance of Gross's brigade to follow Wood's. Meanwhile a section of howitzers was planted to enfilade the position the enemy had taken, and Osterhaus established a section of twenty-pounder Parrotts to enfilade the route by which the enemy had left his camp. The battery on Bald Hill enfiladed the railroad and high-way leading to Chattanooga, and all the batteries and sections of batteries had a direct or enfilading fire, within easy range, on all the positions taken by the rebels. Besides, the twenty-pounder Plarrotts could be used with good effect on the rebel camp on the side of the mountain. With this disposition of the artillery, it was believed we would be able to prevent the enemy from despatching relief to oppose Geary, and also keep him from running away. At eleven o'clock, Wood had completed his bridge; Geary appeared close by, his skirmishers smartly engaged, and all the guns opened. Wood's and Gross's then sprang across the river, joined Geary's left, and moved down the valley. A few of the enemy escaped from the artillery fire, and those who did ran upon our own infantry and were captured. The balance of the rebel forces were killed or taken prisoners, many of them remaining in the bottom of their pits for safety until forced out by our men. Simultaneously with these operations the troops on the mountain rushed on in their advance, the right passing directly under the muzzles of the enemy's guns on the summit, climbing over ledges and boulders, up hill and down, furiously driving the enemy from his camp and from position after position. This lasted until twelve o'clock, when Geary's advance heroically rounded the peak of the mountain. Not knowing to what extent the enemy might be reenforced, and fearing, from the rough character of the field of operations, that our lines might be disordered, directions had been given for the troops to halt on reaching this high ground; but, fired by success, with a flying, panic-stricken force before them, they pressed impetuously forward. Cobham's brigade, occupying the high ground on the right, between the enemy's main line of defence on the plateau and the palisades, incessantly plied them with fire from above and behind, while Freeland's brigade was vigorously rolling them up on the flank, and both being closely supported by the brigades of Whitaker and Creighton. Our success was uninterrupted and irresistible. Before losing the advantages the ground presented us, (the enemy had been reenforced meantime,) after having secured the prisoners, two of Osterhaus's regiments had been sent forward on the Chattanooga road, and the balance of his and Cruft's divisions had joined Geary. All the rebel efforts to resist us only resulted in rendering our success more thorough. After two or three short but sharp conflicts the plateau was cleared. The enemy, with his reenforcements, driven from the walls and pits around Craven's house, (the last point at which he could make a stand in force,) all broken and destroyed, were hurled in great numbers over the rocks and precipices into the valley. It was now near two o'clock, and our operations were arrested by the darkness. The clouds, which had hovered over and enveloped the summit of the mountain during the morning, and to some extent favored our movements, gradually settled into the valley and completely veiled it from our view. Indeed, from the moment we rounded the peak of the mountain, it was only from the roar of battle, and the occasional glimpse our comrades in the valley could catch of our lines and standards, that they knew of the strife in its progress, and when, from these evidences, our true condition was revealed to them, their painful anxiety yielded to transports of joy, which only soldiers can feel in the earliest movements of dawning victory. Deeming a descent into the valley imprudent, without more accurate information of its topography, and also of the position and strength of the enemy, our line was established on the east side of the mountain, the right resting on the palisades, and the left near the mouth of Chattanooga Creek, and this we strengthened by all the means at hand, working until four o'clock, when the commander of the department was informed that our position was impregnable. During all of these operations the batteries on Moccasin Point, under Captain Naylor, had been busily at work from the north bank of the Tennessee River, and had contributed as much to our assistance as the irregularities of the ground and the state of the atmosphere would admit of. From our position we commanded the enemy's line of defence, stretching across Chattanooga valley, by an enfilading fire, and also, by a direct fire, many of his camps, some of which were in our immediate vicinity; also, direct communication had been opened with Chattanooga, and at a quarter-past five o'clock Brigadier-General Carlin, Fourteenth corps, reported to me, with his
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 3 .-attack on the defences of Mobile .
Surrender of Fort Powell .
Battle of Olustee .
Battle of Pleasant Hill .
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.