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[234] half-way up, a storm of musket-balls was flung into their very faces.

In reply to the rebel cannon upon the Ridge, Fort Wood, Fort Negley, and all our batteries that could be placed in position, opened their sublime music.

The storm of war was now abroad with supernatural power, and as each successive volley burst from the cloud of smoke which overspread the contending hosts, it seemed that ten thousand mighty echoes wakened from their slumbers, went groaning and growling around the mountains, as if resolved to shake them from their bases, then rolled away down the valleys, growing fainter and fainter, until extinguished by echoes of succeeding volleys, as the distant roar of the cataract is drowned in the nearer thunders of the cloud.

And still the Union troops pressed on, scaling unwaveringly the sides of Mission Ridge. The blood of their comrades renders their footsteps slippery; the toil of the ascent almost takes away their breath; the rebel musketry and artillery mow down their thinned ranks — but still they press on! Not once do they even seem to waver. The color-bearers press ahead, and plant their flags far in advance of the troops; and at last, O moment of supremest triumph! they reach the crest, and rush like an avalanche upon the astonished foe. Whole regiments throw down their arms and surrender, the rebel artillerists are bayoneted by their guns, and the cannon which had a moment before been thundering on the Union ranks, are now turned about, pouring death and terror into the midst of the mass of Miserable fugitives who are rushing down the eastern slope of the ridge.

Almost simultaneously with this immortal charge, Hooker threw his forces through a gap in the ridge upon the Rossville road, and hurled them upon the left flank of the enemy, while Johnson charged this portion of their line in front. Already demoralized by the spectacle upon their right, they offered but a feeble resistance, were captured by hundreds, or ran away like frightened sheep.

One fierce effort was made by the rebel leaders to retrieve the day. The left wing of General J. B. Turchin's brigade of Baird's division, had taken possession of a small work constructed by the enemy on that portion of Mission Ridge nearly opposite Fort Wood. Before he could arrange his regiments inside, the rebels, gathering up all the yet unrouted fragments of such force as they had upon the centre, charged Turchin with a determined fury excelling any thing they had displayed upon that part of the field during the day. But the heroic old Russian who had for two long years overthrown both rebels and their sympathizers, in every field where he had met them, was not to be conquered now, while flushed with his crowning victory. His left wing stood firm as a rock against the overwhelming numbers assailing it. The remainder of the brigade was hurried to the rescue upon the double-quick; the rebel fortifications, manned by Union soldiers, blazed like a volcano in the face of the foe. In vain the enemy's officers bravely stepped in front of their men, waved their swords, and urged them to the charge. With their comrades falling by scores around them, they could not be induced to advance one foot nearer that citadel of death; and at length, seeing the day irretrievably lost, they wavered, staggered, yielded slowly, and drew off sullenly in the direction of Tunnel Hill. With the exception of this last position, the whole of Mission Ridge was now in our hands.

It was near sundown when General T. J. Wood, whose conduct all through the three days battle, marked him as one of the ablest leaders of the national armies, rode along the lines of his superb division. Loud shouts of enthusiasm everywhere greeted his appearance, until at last his feelings, no longer controllable, broke forth in a speech!

“Brave men!” said he, “you were ordered to go forward and take the rebel rifle-pits at the foot of these hills; you did so; and then, by the Eternal! without orders, you pushed forward and took all the enemy's works on top! Here is a fine chance for having you all court-martialled! and I myself will appear as the principal witness against you, unless you promise me one thing.”

“What is it? What is it?” laughingly inquired his men.

“It is,” resumed the General, “that as you are now in possession of these works, you will continue, against all opposition of Bragg, Johnston, Jeff Davis, and the devil, steadfastly to hold them!”

At the conclusion of this speech, the enthusiasm of the soldiers knew no bounds; they left the ranks and crowded around their General: “We promise! We promise!” they cried, and amid such exclamations as “Of course we'll hold them!” “Let any one try to take them from us!” “Bully for you!” “Three cheers for old Wood!” the gallant officer rode off the field.

As the reports from the different portions of the army came in, it is impossible to conceive the joy that filled the hearts of all. Shout answered shout from every hill-top; cheer echoed cheer; until at last, the whole basin of Chattanooga, with the surrounding mountains, seemed filled with one mighty throb of exultation; and the sun went down, gilding with his last beams the scene of as grand a triumph as had ever yet blessed the Union arms.


Events of Thursday, November twenty-sixth.

Chattanooga, Nov. 27.
Early yesterday morning, I mounted my horse, and rode out to Mission Ridge. The joy of victory still lighted up the countenances of those I met, and officers and soldiers of the different corps were congratulating each other upon the brilliant success of the previous day.

But it was not all triumph now. A mournful procession of ambulances and men on foot with stretchers, bore back toward Chattanooga the bleeding forms of the wounded, as well as the remains of those who had heard their last call to


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