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[213] brigade, and was assigned to duty on the right of the line, to relieve Geary's command, almost exhausted with the fatigue and excitement incident to their unparalleled march.

To prevent artillery being brought forward, the enemy had undermined the road and covered it with felled timber. This was repaired and placed in serviceable condition before morning. During the day and till after midnight, an irregular fire was kept up along our line, and had the appearance at one time of an effort to break it. This was on the right, and was at once vigorously and handsomely repelled. In this, Carlin's brigade rendered excellent service. His report is herewith forwarded.

Before daylight, anticipating the withdrawal of the rebel force from the summit of the mountain, parties from several regiments were despatched to scale it; but to the Eighth Kentucky must belong the distinction of having been foremost to reach the crest, and at sunrise to display our flag from the peak of Lookout, amid the wild and prolonged cheers of the men whose dauntless valor had borne it to that point.

During the night the enemy had quietly abandoned the mountain, leaving behind twenty thousand rations, the camp and garrison equipage of three brigades, and other materiel.

An impenetrable mist still covered the face of the valley. Prisoners reported that the enemy had abandoned it; but, deeming it imprudent to descend, a reconnoissance was ordered, and soon after nine o'clock a report came in that the rebels had retired, but that their pickets still held the right bank of Chattanooga Creek, in the direction of Rossville. Soon after the fog vanished, and nothing was to be seen in the valley but the deserted and burning camps of the enemy.

Among the fruits of the preceding operations may be enumerated the concentration of the army, the abandonment of the defences, upward of eight miles in extent; the recovery of all the advantages in a position the enemy had gained from our army on the bloody field of Chickamauga, giving to us the undisputed navigation of the river and the control of the railroad; the capture of between two and three thousand prisoners, five stands of colors, two pieces of artillery, upward of five thousand muskets, etc.

Of the troops opposed to us were four brigades of Walker's division, Hardee's corps; a portion of Stewart's division, of Breckinridge's corps; and on the top of the mountain were three brigades of Stevenson's division.

The pursuit — the fight on the Ridge

In conformity with orders, two regiments were despatched to hold the mountain, Carlin's brigade was directed to await orders on the Summertown road, and at ten o'clock my column, Osterhaus's (being nearest the road) leading, marched for Rossville.

On arriving at Chattanooga Creek, it was discovered that the enemy had destroyed the bridge, and, in consequence, our pursuit was delayed nearly three hours. As soon as the stringers were laid, Osterhaus managed to throw over the Twenty-seventh Missouri regiment, and soon after all of his infantry. The former deployed, pushed forward as skirmishers to the gorge in Missionary Ridge, and drew the fire of the artillery and infantry holding it, and also discovered that the enemy was attempting to cover a train of wagons, loading with stores at the Rossville House. As the position was one presenting many advantages for defence, the skirmishers were directed to keep the enemy engaged in front, while Wood's brigade was taking the ridge on the right and four regiments of Williamson's on the left. Two other regiments of this brigade were posted on the road leading to Chattanooga, to prevent surprise. In executing their duties, the troops were necessarily exposed to the enemy's artillery, but as soon as it was discovered that his flanks were being turned, and his retreat threatened, he hastily evacuated the gap, leaving behind large quantities of artillery and small arms, ammunition, wagons, ambulances, and a house full of commissary stores. Pursuit was made as far as consistent with my instructions to clear Missionary Ridge.

Meanwhile, the bridge had been completed, and all the troops over, or crossing. Osterhaus received instructions to move, with his division, parallel with the ridge, on the east; Cruft on the ridge, and Geary in the valley, to the west of it, within easy supporting distance. The batteries accompanied Geary, as it was not known that roads could be found for them with the other divisions, without delaying the movements of the column. General Cruft, with his staff, preceded his column in ascending the ridge, to supervise the formation of his lines, and was at once met by a line of the enemy's skirmishers, advancing. The Ninth and Thirty-sixth Indiana regiment sprang forward, ran into line under their fire, and, instantly charging, drove back the rebels, while the residue of the column formed their lines; Gross's brigade, with the Fifty-first Ohio and Thirty-fifth Indiana, of Whitaker's, in advance, the balance of the latter closely supporting the front line. It was, however, soon found that the ridge on top was too narrow to admit of this formation, and the division was thrown into four lines. By this time the divisions of Geary and Osterhaus were abreast of it, and all advanced at a charging pace.

The enemy had selected, for his advanced line of defence, the breastworks thrown up by our army on its return from Chickamauga; but such was the impetuosity of our advance, that his front line was routed before an opportunity was afforded him to prepare for a determined resistance. Many of the fugitives, to escape, ran down the east slope to the lines of Osterhaus; a few to the west, and were picked up by Geary. The bulk of them, however, sought refuge behind the second line, and they, in their turn, were soon routed, and the fight became almost a running one. Whenever the accidents of the ground enabled the rebels to make an advantageous

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