in mass in front of Geary's regiments. At the same time a regiment from Cruft's had been sent around by the bridge to cross the Chickamauga, and, if possible, to gain the heights of the ridge on the south side of the river, the possession of which would give us a plunging fire upon the enemy in the gorge. Two companies had nearly gained the summit when they were recalled. The artillery had opened with marked effect, the enemy's guns were hauled to the rear, his troops seen moving, and before one o'clock he was in full retreat. Williamson's brigade followed him over the mountain, while skirmishers from the Sixtieth and one Hundred and Second New-York regiments pursued him through the gap. Efforts were made to burn the railroad bridges; but rebels were driven from them, and the fires extinguished. During the artillery firing the Major-General commanding the division of the Mississippi arrived, and gave directions for the pursuit to be discontinued. Later in the day, soon after three o'clock, I received instructions from him to have a reconnoissance made in the direction of Tunnel Hill — the enemy's line of retreat — for purposes of observation, and to convey to the enemy the impression that we were still after him. Gross's brigade was despatched on this service. About two miles out he ran upon a small force of rebel cavalry and infantry, and pursued them about a mile and a half, when he fell upon what he supposed to be a division of troops posted on the hills commanding the road. The brigade returned at eight o'clock, and went into bivouac. Colonel Gross's report in this connection closes by saying that “we found broken caissons, wagons, dead and dying men of the enemy strewn along the way to a horrible extent.” As some misapprehension appears to exist with regard to our losses in this battle, it is proper to observe that the reports of my division commanders exhibit a loss of sixty-five killed and three hundred and seventy-seven wounded, about one half of the latter so severely that it was necessary to have them conveyed to the hospital for proper treatment. They also show of the enemy killed and left on the field one hundred and thirty. Of his wounded we had no means of ascertaining, as only those severely hurt remained behind, and they filled every house by the wayside as far as our troops penetrated. A few of our wounded men fell into the enemy's hands, but were soon retaken. We captured two hundred and thirty prisoners and two flags, to make no mention of the vast amount of property and materiel that fell into our hands. Adding to the number of prisoners and killed as above stated the lowest estimated proportion of wounded to killed usual in battle, would make the losses of the enemy at least three to our one. From this time the operations of the right wing, as it was now called, became subordinate to those of the column marching to the relief of the garrison at Knoxville. Instructions reached me from the headquarters of the military division to remain at Ringgold during the twenty-ninth and thirtieth, unless it should be found practicable to advance toward Dalton without fighting a battle, the object of my remaining, as stated, being to protect Sherman's flank, with authority to attack or move on Dalton should the enemy move up the Dalton and Cleveland road. In retreating, the enemy had halted a portion of his force at Tunnel Hill, midway between Ringgold and Dalton, and, as he evinced no disposition to molest Sherman, my command rested at Ringgold. I was kept fully advised of the rebel movements, through the activity and daring of the Second Kentucky cavalry, which had joined me on the twenty-eighth. In obedience to verbal directions given me by the commander of the division, the railroad was thoroughly destroyed for two miles, including the bridges on each side of Ringgold, by Palmer's and Cruft's commands; also the depot, tannery, all the mills, and all materiel that could be used in the support of an army. We found on our arrival large quantities of forage and flour. What was not required by the wants of the service was either sent to the rear or burned. Our wounded were as promptly and as well cared for as circumstances would permit. Surgeon Moore, Medical Director of the army of the Tennessee, voluntarily left his chief to devote himself to their relief, and under his active, skilful, and humane auspices, and those of the medical directors with the divisions, they were comfortably removed to Chattanooga on the twenty-eighth. My sincere thanks are tendered to all the officers of the medical staff for their zealous and careful attentions to the wounded on this as well as on former fields. Especially are they due to Surgeon Ball, Medical Director of Geary's division, and to Surgeon Menzies, Medical Director of Cruft's division. On the twenty-ninth, Major-General Palmer returned to Chattanooga with his command, having in charge such prisoners as remained in Ringgold. On the thirtieth, the enemy, being reassured by the cessation of our pursuit, sent a flag of truce to our advanced lines at Catoosa, by Major Calhoun Benham, requesting permission to bury his dead and care for his wounded abandoned on the field of his last disaster at Ringgold. Copies of this correspondence have heretofore been forwarded. Also on the thirtieth, under instructions from department headquarters, Gross's brigade, Cruft's division, marched for the old battle-field at Chickamauga to bury our dead; and on the first of December, the infantry and cavalry remaining left Ringgold — Geary and Cruft to return to their old camps, and Osterhaus to encamp in Chattanooga valley. The reports of the commanders exhibit a loss in the campaign, including all the engagements herein reported, in killed, wounded, and missing, of nine hundred and sixty. Inconsiderable in comparison with my apprehension, or the ends accomplished, nevertheless, there is cause for the deepest regret and sorrow. Among the fallen are some of the brightest names of the army. Creighton and
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.