Cincinnati Gazette account: events of Monday, November twenty-third.
Although no soldiers were seen on Monday morning, scaling the acclivities of Mission Ridge
, those of us who were in Chattanooga
had not many hours to wait before we knew that, ere sundown, the ball was to be inaugurated, and the day made historical.
The big guns, twenty, twenty-four, and thirty-two pounders, upon Fort Wood
, Fort Negley
, and a smaller work, began at an early hour to wake the echoes of the valloy.
From Moccasin Point
, too, the music of Union cannon was frequently heard.
The rebels replied from the top of Lookout, from their formidable line along the summit of Mission Ridge
, and from their batteries at the foot of the same.
A great deal of noise was made, although I could not ascertain that any body on our side was hurt.
From the excellent practice of sole of our own guns, however, I am not sure that the rebels escaped so easily.
The truth is, the rebels had very little heavy artillery, worked inefficiently that which they had, and threw shot and shell from their smaller pieces, which, in almost every instance, fell short.
By eleven A. M., it was generally known that a reconnaissance in force was to be made of the enemy's position, although I feel perfectly certain that all the facts that could be ascertained by the reconnoissance were known to our leaders long ago. But the real object of the contemplated movement was to assail the enemy in the direction of his right centre, drive him from a line of rifle-pits midway between Fort Wood
and Mission Ridge
, and hold the knobs or series of knobs upon which the rifle-pits were dug. In case we did not succeed in effecting this object, it would do very well to call the affair a reconnoissance.
But those who knew the commanders selected for this work, (Wood
,) and the temper of their troops, had little fear with regard to our success.
It is not Wood
's “style” to be defeated in any thing he undertakes, and Sheridan
, who directly supported him, is one of the “men” of our army.
The soldiers whom they command have often heretofore spoken for themselves, by means of their great deeds, but never with a louder voice than in the battle of Chattanooga
's corps was formed in rear of line of battle as a reserve; and, at a given signal, the entire body moved forward into the plain open ground in front and to the right of Fort Wood
The day was bright and beautiful.
The rays of the sun, reflected from ten thousand bayonets, dazzled the beholder's eyes; the men were dressed as if for a holiday; proud steeds, bearing gallant riders, galloped along the lines.
Every eminence about the city was crowded with spectators, and, for the first time in my experience, I saw the soldiers of the Union
marching to battle to the beat of the spirit-stirring drum.
This was, indeed, the “pomp and circumstance” of war; and it is no wonder that the rebels whom we afterward captured, declared they did not think we were going to make an attack upon them, but had our troops out for a review or dress-parade.
I was glad to see this splendid pageant, for I think that, as a general thing, we are apt to under-estimate the moral effect of military display upon our soldiers.
The masses of men are strongly moved by pomp and glittering symbols; and I am sure that even the man of giant intellect feels himself more a hero when in battle if he fights with shining banners waving above his head, and the sounds of martial music ringing in his ears.
On the eventful day of which I write, I saw an exultant and lofty pride, a high and patriotic hope, a firm and deep resolve expressed in the countenance of each soldier, as I had never seen them expressed before; and no one could doubt, as he looked upon them, that they would go that day wherever they were bidden, even should they be compelled to pass through surges of vindictive fire.
After the troops had moved out into position, they remained in full view of the entire rebel army for half an hour before they received orders to advance against the enemy's lines.
Just below the eminence on which stands Fort Wood
is open ground, through which runs the Western and Atlanta Railroad, and just upon the other side of the latter could be plainly seen the rebel pickets.
Singular to say, these last were leaning on their muskets, and quietly watching the spectacle presented by our magnificent battalions.
Thinking it was a review, they did not dream of danger, and were only awakened from their fancied security by the rapid advance of our skirmishers, and the moving forward of our entire line in their support.
It was nearly two o'clock when the advance began, and a dozen shots from our skirmishers served to scatter the enemy's pickets, who fled hastily through a strip of not very dense timber lying between the open ground and some secondary eminences, upon which was the first line of rebel rifle-pits.
The reconnoissance was now fairly begun, and two brigades of General Wood
's division, Hazen
on the right and Willich
on the left, moved rapidly into the woods.
General Samuel Beatty
's brigade marched still further to the left and a little to the rear, forming, with Sheridan
's fine division, a second line of battle, which was at any moment ready to support the first. General Howard
's corps, drawn up in order to the right of Fort Wood
, and in rear of Sheridan
, might be considered a third line.
Upon a knob near the centre of Sheridan
's position, was placed a battery, which, together with the heavy artillery in Fort Wood
, kept up a galling fire upon the enemy, and occasionally called forth replies from his guns on Mission Ridge
, as well as from a battery which he had at the foot of the same.
His missiles, however, did but little damage.
's old division occupied the enemy's first line of rifle-pits, and from these a heavy fire of musketry was poured upon our men, as they