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Doc. 19.-the siege of Knoxville, Tenn.

Knoxville, Monday, Nov. 16.
The excitement consequent on the desperate dash of Forrest and Wheeler's cavalry upon General Sanders, on Saturday, and their approach to within two miles of Knoxville, together with the news of Longstreet's advance upon Burnside below, has somewhat subsided. The panic last night among the citizens can only be compared to the celebrated siege of Cincinnati, and, in fact, the gathering of Major McDowell's corps of paymasters, the hurried packing of ambulances and wagons, and preparations for burning a few maiden millions of greenbacks, and the presence [249] of the doughty Major, were all somewhat suggestive of that eventful period in the history of your usually bustling, business city, when some two or three thousand ragged rebels frightened the entire commonwealth of Ohio nearly out of all propriety. The comparison, however, ceases with the suggestion, since our fears were not altogether groundless.

With the exaggerated relations of stragglers and runaways, growing from bad to worse, as passed around among the hosts of anxious and terror-stricken gossips, was joined the sullen boom of artillery, hour after hour, even into the night, ringing in our ears. The consciousness that a desperate foe was in fierce contest with our gallant boys within two miles of us; rumors of disaster below, toward Loudon, where our chief, with his veterans of the Ninth army corps, alone interposed between us and the malignant foe, resolved upon our destruction; and the hourly arrival of dead and wounded, were all circumstances but ill calculated to allay the fears of the timid or encourage the bold. The danger is still imminent, but the first nervous excitement having abated, we are beginning to look at the conditions and their results, probable and possible.

Our situation having at no time since “the occupation” been a bed of roses, we have been gradually attaining a state to look very calmly at the ugliest position which the fates and furies may have assigned us. While thus taking a physiognomical view of the facts, nothing is more apparent than the intention of the rebels to crowd us out of a situation which we have been at a vast trouble and expense to get into, or the alternative of an indefinite residence in some Dixie prison. To accomplish this, the rebels are straining every nerve and exhausting every available means for one last, mighty, decisive effort. If they succeed, they gain vast resources in time and supplies for recuperation. If they fail, they are lost for any other campaign in middle Dixie. The exhaustion and demoralization of the rebellion in this region will be irretrievable. Their plans are excellent, and thus far well executed, but it is the belief of well-informed military people that their means will prove insufficient. Still, our chief reliance is upon Grant. Burnside can probably take care of himself, but Bragg is an insurmountable rock ahead of the profitable occupation of East-Tennessee, and the destinies of Bragg remain with Grant. Our situation just now, though perilous and gloomy enough, is by no means hopeless. Almost surrounded by enemies active and vigilant, if we cannot extricate ourselves in a very few days, our animals will perish of starvation. In this aspect of affairs, it is not the cue of the rebels to precipitate matters, but on the other hand the time required to starve us will bring an issue between Grant and Bragg, which, if favorable to us, will terminate in the utter demolition of the rebels in our front.

The forces which crossed the Little Tennessee on Friday night and attacked our advance at Maysville on Saturday, were the brigades of Wheeler and Forrest, estimated at five thousand cavalry and mounted infantry. Yesterday afternoon they were in line of battle, and skirmishing with Sanders till dark. Colonel Adams, with the First Kentucky and Forty-fifth Ohio, distinguished himself by the most gallant and daring conduct throughout, and to-day followed the retreating rebels five miles.

The punishment and flight of the First Kentucky on Saturday was caused by a mean artifice on the part of the rebels. They had captured the Eleventh Kentucky in the morning, and stripping them completely, were arrayed in their uniform. Seeing them at the edge of a wood, and mistaking them for the Eleventh, Adams pushed a charge quite into the body of the rebel forces, and just as the First Kentucky had raised their caps to cheer their friends, as they supposed, the miscreants opened a terrific fire upon them. Indignant, surprised, and surrounded, there was nothing left but speed, and the wonder is how so many escaped. Adams, who, by the way, has always been the brains and right hand of Woolford's cavalry, declares that he will never believe another rebel, will take no more prisoners, and intends to fight against treason in this war and the next, and the one after that indefinitely. He rallied his boys, made a speech to them, and upon their return to the field nearly monopolized the fighting. Twenty-five men of the First Kentucky were killed and wounded. Among the number are Captain G. W. Drye, wounded; Lieutenant Phil. Roberts, wounded; Captain Kelly, killed; Lieutenant Cann, missing; Lieutenant Peyton, missing. Of the Forty-fifth Ohio, ninety-one were killed, wounded, and missing, among whom are Captain Jennings, wounded; Captain Ayler, wounded; Lieutenant Macbeth, wounded; Lieutenant Wiltshire, wounded; Lieutenant Mears, wounded.

The conduct of the rebels was barbarous in the extreme. All prisoners, dead, and wounded were stripped. Four dead bodies of the Forty-fifth were found quite naked. One wounded officer, while unconscious, was aroused by efforts to cut off his finger, to obtain a gold ring. He was stripped to his shirt and drawers. Such is the venomous malignity of these desperadoes, who term themselves Southern chivalry, that bodies are mutilated, prisoners are outraged, and all are robbed.

In Burnside's front, Longstreet is pressing, and skirmishing has been constant for the last three days. The train of White's division was burned, by order of General Burnside, to-day, and a section of Benjamin's battery was captured, making the third we have lost in the last ten days, namely, Laws's, Phillips's, and Benjamin's. The two armies are seventeen miles from Knoxville, Burnside slowly falling back. If he can hold the rebels without severe loss or decisive action for a few days longer, our reenforcements from Grant will reach Longstreet's rear, and that active rebel leader will take to the mountains, or to Camp Chase. Forrest and Wheeler have fallen back, it is supposed, to make an attempt to cross the river elsewhere, and get in our rear. [250] We shall probably be apprised of his movements, in that event, soon enough. In General Willcox's front above, all appears to be quiet to-day. We have endeavored to telegraph, as the line is open, but have been informed that the General will take charge of that duty, and telegraph what he wishes to be made public. Of course, that proposition admits of no argument, however much we might be inclined to regard with jealous eyes an opposition correspondent with such unusual facilities.

Monday, November 16, P. M..--Rumors reached us last evening that a battle was being fought at Campbell's Station, twelve miles from Knoxville, on the Lenoir road. Longstreet's army, variously estimated to number from ten thousand to twenty thousand strong, after crossing the river, pressed en masse on the slowly retiring columns of General Burnside, who received them in line of battle in a good position at the point named. The enemy, who evidently expected to march without impediment into Knoxville, made a most confident and determined attack. They underestimated the value of the veteran soldiers of the Ninth army corps, and the obstinate courage of White's veteran boys, and were handsomely repulsed, with terrible loss. In vain they manoeuvred, and made charge after charge. They were met at every point.1

Skirmishing was kept up vigorously all day, and night fell upon the hotly contested field, leaving us still in position. General Burnside had gained a day of time, and during the night fell back to Knoxville slowly and in good order. Our loss is three hundred killed, wounded, and missing. The list of wounded is embodied in the hospital report, inclosed.

The behavior of our troops was worthy of all praise. The gallantry of the Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky regiments being especially note-worthy. The Thirteenth Kentucky was at one time surrounded, and cut their way out, suffering fearfully in killed and wounded. The One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois was exposed throughout, and won the admiration of all. Their loss, as was that of the Eighth Michigan, Twentieth Michigan, and Seventeenth Michigan, was severe.

Active preparations are now making for the defence of Knoxville. Retreat is not even thought of. In fact, General Burnside has issued an order to that effect. Captain Poe, Chief Engineer on General Burnside's staff, is at work on the fortifications. Rifle-pits and breastworks are springing up around the soon to be beleaguered city. Forests are being cleared, the sluices and creeks on the north are being damned up, and the plain in front will soon to be breast-deep in water. Captain Poe is every inch the soldier, and there is a general feeling pervading the army and people that our defences could scarce be in abler or wiser hands. His calm deportment, systematic vigor, and quiet earnestness inspire every one with confidence. We miss the practical common-sense of Gilbert, and the soldierly experience of Hartsuff at this crisis; nevertheless, there is no want of confidence or cheerful courage manifest anywhere, unless among the sutlers and timid Union people, who see a rebel in every shadow. The rebel population are jubilant, and are making preparations to receive their friends to-morrow, and have already planned the programme for us when the stars and bars shall float over the city. We shall see.

I rode around the lines to-night, and am impressed with the feeling that, were our numbers only equal to the spirit and courage of our men, no emergency could endanger Knoxville; but alas! our defences are as yet incomplete, and our lines are fearfully thin. If the rebels come on with the much boasted dash of the veterans of the Potomac, and assault, our lines may be broken, and the contemplation of the famous hospitalities, or rather infamous inhospitalities, of Libby, or Castle Thunder, may not be altogether out of order.

Tuesday, November 17.--The storm is upon us. Longstreet's legions are investing Knoxville. Our boys are skirmishing already with their lines on the Lenoir road. General Sanders, with the One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, Forty-fifth Ohio, Eighth Michigan, and Twelfth Kentucky, are in front. The sharp crack of musketry is heard, growing more and more frequent, and the affair is getting serious. The town is filled with rumors of coming rebels. Vaughn, it is said, has crossed the river below, and will attack our positions on the south bank. A. P. Hill is marching with two corps from Virginia, and Pegram, Forrest, and Wheeler are crossing the Watauga toward the Gap, to cut off our retreat and supplies.

In the mean time, as an offset, our forage-trains are bringing in corn and hay from eight miles south of the river, and the telegraph north is still working. We are anxious, of course, to know what Longstreet's intentions are. Doubtless, the cooperation of the Virginia forces was one part of his plans; but in this he will probably be disappointed, as the advance of General Meade will, doubtless, render the assistance of General Hill's, or any other Virginia. troops impossible. General Willcox, at Bull's Gap, reports no such or similar force in his front. Ten, or even twenty thousand rebels cannot take Knoxville, nor is that number sufficient to lay effectual blockade and siege. Many think that Longstreet, having blundered into East-Tennessee after the bait set by Burnside, will, upon discovering his mistake, make a feint upon Knoxville, while endervoring to march into Kentucky, or escape to Virginia. Of course, this is all conjecture. The only sure thing now is, that he is actually in our front, and we are in a state of siege, call it by what name we please. If, as is currently reported and believed, Burnside permitted Longstreet to cross the river, and drove him on to Knoxville by order of General Grant--thus, on the eve of a battle with Bragg, detaching twenty thousand men — we may rest confident that the hero o<*> Vicksburgh will not permit the manoeuvre to go [251] profitless, or fail to follow up the strategy in his usually prompt and effective fashion. We can hold our own until he is ready. This week will decide Longstreet's destiny and ours. We do not permit ourselves to doubt.

Captain Poe is performing prodigies of industry, with marvellous skill. Rifle-pits appear as if by magic. Every house-top of the vast semicircle around Knoxville, from Temperance Hill to Rebel Point and College Hill, is frowning with cannon and bristling with bayonets. It will be difficult for the rebels to gain a position near the city, unless on the right or left. All is quiet to-night. The immense basin formed by the surrounding hills is alive with animal life. Our vast trains, cattle, herds, hogs, and horses cover the valleys and hill-sides in inconceivable numbers. Standing on Temperance Hill, and looking toward the town, the innumerable campfires, like myriads of fiery stars, the piteous shrieks of a thousand famishing mules, the distant murmur of the bands of music, the hum of the camps, intermingled with the occasional sharp crash of musketry in front, make one pause and gaze upon the weird reality as upon some horrible phantasm, some fanciful horror conjured up here in the middle of the nineteenth century, as a terrible reproach to the boasted ages of progress and civilization. One can scarcely realize that those thousands of forms shivering around the scant fires in the chill mist are men, who have left comfortable homes, domestic joys, and useful duties of life, and have exposed themselves to all the vicissitudes and hardships of savages. That, over beyond our furthermost lines of fires, lie other thousands in a similar condition of discomfort, and that these, on the morrow, will use their God-given powers of courage, endurance, and intellect, to slaughter each other. Alas! that new commandment, “that ye love one another,” has not been much practised by man, although professedly the life-guidance of civilized nations for eighteen hundred years. Society is a fearful tyrant, and its decrees are despotic; its differences of opinion are decided by war, revolutions are the rearrangement, renovation, and reorganization of dilapidated social institutions. When we out-grow or tire of them, the old-time irrepressible conflict between servile and free labor could scarce be settled, probably, but by the sword, and we can only hope that, when the tempest has passed over, coming generations may rest in the peaceful atmosphere of justice, and the new command possibly possess some significance to a regenerated race. To-morrow will be an eventful day. We do not desire it; we do not avoid it; we do not seek it; we do not dread it. We await it with strong hopes and determined wills, to do our duty.

Wednesday, November 18.--A busy, glorious, sad day has passed. We are proud of the gallant deeds of our brave boys. To have belonged to the command of Sanders during this day's fight will be fame enough for one short life. The One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, Forty-fifth Ohio, Third Michigan, and Twelfth Kentucky have borne their country's cause alone, and nobly and grievously have they suffered. Early this morning, the angry crash of musketry was heard on our left, in front of Cottage Hill and Rebel Point, on the west side of the town. The pallid faces of women, the anxious looks of non-combatants, and the busy bustle of orderlies riding to and fro, gave token that the conflict was beginning in earnest. Heavy skirmishing commenced along our left. General Sanders, with part of Wolford's brigade of his division, was in front. The fire was unceasing for three hours. The ambulances, about ten o'clock, commenced their unhappy work, and were observed busily plying to and fro on the Lenoir road. Wounded men were seen walking and riding in, their numbers increasing hourly. At eleven o'clock, General Ferrero, in command of the earthworks at Rebel Point, opened his cannon upon Armstrong's house, behind which the enemy were discovered planting a battery. The enemy were baffled. Our boys made a charge, and were repulsed. The conflict raged hotter and more intense. A general officer, said to be General Warfield, headed an impetuous charge upon our line of skirmishers, and riding up to our boys, demanded the instant surrender of the “d — d Yankees,” and fell pierced by a score of balls. Again our boys advanced, and were beaten back by overwhelming odds. Man after man was carried to the rear. The leaden hail poured in increasing torrents upon them. No respect was had to circumstance or condition. The rebel sharp-shooters were untiring and vigilant. Of two men, carrying a wounded comrade, one was killed, the other wounded, and the wounded man again shot by these miscreants. Balls whistled over the fort into the hospital. Nothing was sacred or secure. Sanders was ubiquitous; his gallantry and daring became infectious. Each man of his command emulated his comrade in deeds of bravery. These men, for four days and nights, had stood in the front at Campbell's, and now here, without sleep and almost without food, yet hour after hour unrelieved. They stood up like heroes, every man of them, and amid that hell of shot, gave blow for blow and shout for shout. The old mountain wolf, Colonel Wolford, with his grim and stolid courage, was there. Colonel Bond, at the head of his glorious regiment. the One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, with his smiling, earnest face, was where the conflict raged the fiercest, encouraging his men, if possible, to deeds of still greater daring; and Captain Taylor, with the fragments of the Forty-fifth Ohio, was there with his gallant boys. It was sublime. The skirmish grew almost to the dignity of a battle, Foiled at all points, the enemy vindictively burled upon our wearied and battle-torn lines fresh and overwhelming numbers. And here, at about four P. M., the gallant Sanders fell, it is thought mortally wounded. Courage and physical endurance [252] could do no more, and our brave boys fell back, surrendering the hill in front of our left to the enemy.

It was a sore necessity, but they still held the front. The calm, pitying moon looked down that night on the hostile armies bivouacked within sound of each other's voices. The din of conflict had ceased; the groans of the dying and shrieks of the wounded had died away with the echo of the artillery, reverberating amid the hills surrounding the beleaguered city. Heaven's eyes seemed to gaze through the countless stars in sorrowful reproach alike upon the glory and grief of that sad scene. The pride and pomp of military achievement bowed their heads mournfully before the inhumanity of war. I was at the hospital during the afternoon. Ambulance after ambulance drove up, and deposited its bloody and mangled human contents. Abundant surgical attendance, the sympathies of comrades, and the kindest of colored female nurses were there. Every thing that skill and attention could do was done; but no human sympathy can replace the mother, sister, or wife. No kindness can allay the anguish of a mangled and lost limb. One poor fellow, Captain Lee, of the One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, had his upper jaw shot away, and his legs torn to fragments, yet lived twelve hours. As I carefully cut the pants and boot from another whose leg had been fractured terribly by a Minie ball, he bore the agony manfully. He asked if the leg could be saved. I told him I feared not. “Well,” said he, after a pause, “I can afford one leg for my country — take it off!” During a moment's cessation of torture, his eyes brightened, and he triumphantly exclaimed: “An't the One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois a bully regiment?” In the evening afterward, I recognized his leg amid a pile of amputated limbs. He had subscribed so much for his country.

One, a boy scarce fifteen, was brought in by two men. He was crying piteously. I questioned him as to his hurt, but could get nothing but sobs. I examined him, and found no wound. I learned afterward that a shell had burst close to his head, killing his comrade, but missing him. The concussion had probably ruptured the tympanum, and frightened him.

The female contrabands have proved themselves most excellent and faithful nurses — kind, willing, skilful, and indefatigable. It is note-worthy.

We are still in the dark as to the rebel positions, numbers, or intentions. We are besieged, but by no means blockaded yet. Our forage trains scour on the south of the river. The telegraph is still in operation, and communications are open with Willcox at Bull's Gap. Some dread an assault to-morrow. I do not. The rebels have secured no positions for batteries, and evidently are not in force sufficient to invest the town. Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing would not exceed one hundred. Our dead were, unfortunately, left on the field when we fell back. The enemy must, from the nature of the contest, have suffered more than we. The loss of General Sanders is a sad blow to his new command, who were much attached to him. It is hoped that his wound will not prove fatal, though very severe.

Thursday, November 19.--Alas! poor Sanders is gone. The saddest episode of the campaign was his midnight burial. To-night the pale moon never lighted up a more sorrowful group than surrounded his lone grave. The uncovered heads, the bronzed features, and manly faces of the generals, officers, and comrades, as they gathered around to pay the last tribute to one whom they had loved in life and honored in death, were a painful comment on war. Sad hearts were there, and tender regrets for the untimely fate of the gallant soldier, the genial gentleman, the warm friend, and the glorious fellow; but alas! no woman's tears were there to hallow his martial grave. No mother's prayer, no loving woman's sob, no sister's tears, to soften the pathway of the young General into the great unknown. He died a soldier's death, and found a soldier's grave. The dirge of the military band, the random firing of the enemy, the touching ritual of the Episcopal Church, read by Mr. Hume, there in the pale moonlight, served as the requiem of one who gave himself to his country.

General William P. Sanders was but twenty-eight years of age, a native of Kentucky, and a graduate of West-Point in 1856. When the war broke out he was First Lieutenant of dragoons. He was appointed Captain in the Sixth regulars, and distinguished himself in the Maryland and Peninsula campaigns. In 1863, he was appointed to the colonelcy of the Fifth Kentucky cavalry, but was retained by the Commanding General for special staff duties, and never joined the regiment. All are familiar with his achievements in the Morgan, Cluke, and Scott raids, as well as his own into East-Tennessee. He received his promotion to the rank of Brigadier and immediate assignment to a cavalry division only three weeks ago. He was skilful, daring, and vigilant; an able officer, a true patriot, and an accomplished soldier. As such he will be remembered and regretted by his contemporaries. He was conscious, and contemplated death as fearlessly as he had waged the battle of life. Bidding farewell to his friends, his last words were affectionate remembrances to his mother. He received the rite of baptism, and was buried with the ceremonies of the Episcopal Church. The gallant brigade, who so nobly withstood the brunt of yesterday, was relieved by Gilbert's brigade, which had bivouacked in the streets as a reserve for two days. In the afternoon, they were replaced by the Seventeenth Michigan, and Eighth Michigan cavalry at two o'clock. The enemy suddenly opened fire on our front with a twenty-pounder. One shell passed over General Burnside's headquarters clear into the river. Six shells landed in the town, but did not explode. No damage was done. The rebel sharp-shooters rendered the hills about Fort Sanders, on our left, unsafe for [253] lookers-on. At one thousand yards distance, one man was killed in the lawn of the Asylum Hospital, and another wounded, by these fellows. Skirmishing was light to-day. We are beginning to wonder what the enemy intends to do. During the night they have erected works on our left, and moved skirmishers to the front.

Captain Poe is still indefatigable, and our position is regarded as a very strong one, and impregnable to any force likely to be in our front. Rumors of reenforcements from Grant, under Sherman, reach us to-day, and inspire us with the hope that we may not only escape the toils set for us, but be able in turn to entrap the besiegers whose impudence is sublime. The erection of works and extension of their lines evince an intention to stay with us, and, as usual in such cases, a man on a white horse is seen riding along their lines. This mysterious rider, on a phantom horse, appears to be a favorite dodge of the rebels, since all correspondents east and west always observed it on similar occasions.

Friday, November 20.--Colonel Pleasant, with a battalion of cavalry, scouted the road east to Boyd's Ferry and Conner's Ford, traversing the roads between, and reports no rebels for six miles up the river. Farmers have come in from Marysville, and our forage trains go back and forth unmolested for miles on the south of the river, and no enemy is known to be there.

Skirmishing was light all day again. We wonder what the rebels mean. Some think they are making a feint upon us and are getting out toward Virginia. A train of some hundreds of wagons passed in that direction this morning.

This evening, the Seventeenth Michigan made a charge upon a house whence their sharp-shooters had annoyed them all day, and the rebels fled en masse before them. Our boys removed some half-dozen wounded men from the house, and fired it. Upon returning to their old position, their comrades greeted them with shouts, and the band of the Forty-fourth struck up Yankee Doodle; whereupon the rebels, fancying our entire army was about to advance, opened a storm of shell upon us. Some thirty shell fell harmless into the town, but three or four exploded. Deserters, who have come in to-day, report Longstreet's intention to starve us out. We are believed now to be subsisting on corn and mule, at half-rations, and ten days is thought to be the time required for famine to accomplish its work. If they could see us baking flap-jacks and sipping Lincoln coffee, or take a perspective of our hogs and cattle-herds, they would be disabused of that idea presently. Pork is abundant, and already the more sensitive of us are growing ashamed to look one of these animals in the face.

Seven houses concealing rebels were burned to-day, and the amount of destitution and suffering consequent upon thus increasing the numbers of houseless wretches is appalling. Women and children wander about the city in absolute poverty and despair. The hotels are all in use for hospitals. Stores and vacant rooms are everywhere filled up with people or used by our army as storehouses for forage, etc. We are just beginning to realize the very small amount of humor to be gleaned from a siege when one happens to be on the wrong side of it.

To be sure we have enjoyed it but four days, but even in that short time it has grown tiresome. The suspense adds chiefly to the tedium, for could we only know what the rebels intend, and what they are likely to do with us in case the very worst that we permit ourselves to imagine should occur to us, it would be some relief. But whatever their power or intentions for mischief, they act just as if they intended to capture us by siege, assault, or starvation. We do not contemplate either event as very probable. They will scarcely be able to take us by assault, and their numbers must be first trebled before they can effectually blockade us.

In the mean time, all ears are anxiously turned toward Grant, expecting hourly to hear the sound of friendly cannon. Amid all our anxiety, we never lose our confidence in the ability and will of our Government to save us, and Tennessee with us. Old U. S. Grant, as its exponent in the field, has promised, and we propose to fight to the last man, or starve to the final mule, with our faith unmoved. We believe that the Government recognizes, as well as the rebels, the vast magnitude and importance of this, almost their last desperate stake, the loss of which will be fatal to them and of inestimable importance to us. In a military aspect, the loss of this army will, of course, not be irremediable; but still is by no means a military necessity, and we confidently trust will not be so regarded. We await the issue between Grant and Bragg quite confidently.

Saturday, November 21.--There is nothing to chronicle to-day. Instead of an attack, daylight dawned upon thousands of poor soldiers drenched in the trenches. A heavy rain commenced at two o'clock, and continued, without intermission, all day. The ditches were full, the streets and creeks were full, and the moats in front were overflowing with water. Some blundering booby of an officer, officiously anxious to do something, had observed the mill-race, left open by Captain Poe to waste the water when his ponds should overflow, and ordered it to be dammed up. The consequence was, the washing out of a part of the main dam, and some difficult muddy work for the soldiers to-day in repairing it. An occasional shot from the rebel sharpshooters, and random firing along the lines on the front and left, comprise the military achievements to-day. Rain and mud monopolized the entire interest, and all who from any cause were unable, supposing they knew enough to “come in out of the rain,” must have been very unhappy. If it were possible to add somewhat to the dreary misery and restless monotony of an army besieged within the confined limits of a wretched, unhealthy, unhandsome, uninteresting town, with a confident enemy lying in sight waiting for them to surrender, the fates and furies [254] hit it exactly to-day, when the rain was added to overflow the measure of our discomforts.

Being still alive, however, and as yet practically unacquainted with the traditionary horrors of Libby Prison, we have no right to complain. Nevertheless, we “are not happy.”

Sunday, November 22.--Another quiet day has passed. Prayers were held in one or two of the churches, and, altogether, it has been a solemn day. Certainly the circumstances by which we are surrounded, are sufficiently well calculated to furnish material for serious reflection to any who may be so disposed. The rain has ceased. Slight skirmishing on our front and left has been kept up all day. The mud scarcely permits more important movements, if any were intended. An occasional shot from the twenty-pounders in our front, replied to by Benjamin's battery, sums up the battle news. The enemy's shell seldom burst, and have as yet done no damage. A courier came through this evening from the Gap, bringing to General Burnside news of the safety of General Willcox and his command, and also the welcome intelligence of the advance movement of General Grant. It inspires us with hope of present relief and probable ability to bring condign retribution upon the daring and impudent foe, who have so boldly threatened an inglorious terminus to the grand army of occupation. We await, as we must, with what patience we can. We are somewhat powerless to mould circumstances to such shapes as we would, just now; so we submit to necessity, call it inexorable fate, and are resigned. We retire every night in anticipation of an assault in the morning; and each day drags its weary, monotonous length along, only more dull and dreary than the last. At one time it is reported that Longstreet has gone to Tazewell, on his way to Kentucky, having previously gobbled Willcox and the Gap on his road. Then, that he has built pontoons and is crossing eight miles below town, with the intent to march on to our works on the south bank, and thence shell each individual house in Knoxville seriatim, or until his supposed thirst for Yankee blood is in some degree sated. Anon we learn that his whole force, except a few remaining to scare our pickets, is en route for Virginia, or crossing the river to join Bragg, who, being whipped, is falling back on Dalton. Whatever portion, if any, of these rumors may prove to be true, it is certain that the camps of a division, at least, are visible with a glass from the cupola of the college, situated on our left, other camps on our right, and a certain big gun occasionally warns us of its continued presence in our front. Pickets are easily found by any enterprising individual who may possess a curiosity to explore that peculiarly vigilant arm of the service by showing himself beyond our lines. Their sharp-shooters have not permitted us to doubt their presence for a moment, day or night. A little girl was killed to-day in her garden, and the streets in the west end are not safe a moment during the day from random shots. They are extending their works on our left, and, masked by a wood, are believed to be erecting works and planting batteries. True, all these known things may be done by a comparatively small force, and we are inclined to believe are, but still the doubt and suspense grow eminently disagreeable.

Monday, Nov. 23.--General Shackleford made a reconnoissance in force with cavalry, last night, to Boyd's Ferry and Connor's Ford, on our right, and found no enemy along the river. Hearing that a raft had been prepared to send down the river with a view to break up our pontoon, he sent a party to destroy it, but it had gone. It came down upon the bridge during the night, but Captain Poe, who does nothing by halves, and is never caught napping, had not forgotten the probability of such a contingency, and the chains placed there across the river for the purpose arrested the progress of the raft, which made very good firewood for us to-day. The pontoon was uninjured. Captain Poe completed a fort on the south bank to-day, and Colonel Cameron made quite a jubilee over the raising of a large flag-staff, surmounted by the Stars and Stripes. General Hascall made a patriotic speech. The boys shouted and cheered, and the affair seemed quite a small Fourth of July. Skirmishing to-day along the left was light, and there was more on the right. Toward evening, skirmishing in front became quite sharp, and about six o'clock the rebels made a dash upon our lines and forced our pickets to fall back. The rebels were probably inspired to this sudden emeute by the sight of some twenty of our wagons loading coal near the depot. Our wagoners, true to the instincts of their class, of course, fled as usual and deserted their teams. Our pickets, however, rallied in time to save them, and Hoxie, the Railroad Superintendent, finally got the cowardly mule-drivers back and the teams away. The most disastrous and lamentable result of the temporary panic was the destruction of some fifteen or twenty houses fired by our men. The pickets had received orders to fire the buildings if compelled to fall back, and it became necessary to uncover concealed rebels. In this case the retreat of our pickets was but momentary. Our lines were immediately advanced, and neither real nor prospective necessity was manifest for such an act of wanton and unmitigated vandalism.

Nearly all the buildings on the plain below the city are destroyed. The splendid round-house of the Georgia Railroad, the arsenal, machine-shop, Humphreys' hotel, dwellings, etc., etc., of incalculable mischief to our own interest, and of no possible injury to the enemy. Such conduct can excite no emotion but disgust and indignation. Nothing is sacred; destruction rides on the wind, and pillage and carnage go hand in hand. It is safe to assert that East-Tennessee has been more vitally damaged since the entree of our army, than by the rebel occupation during the war. This is an unpleasant charge to make, but I can prove what I say; and as it is a state of things for which some one is responsible, and not altogether irremediable, it should be ventilated [255] The scene presented by the lurid glare of a score of burning buildings at once, lighting up the whole horizon, was as beautiful as it was horrible, and only lacked a Nero fiddling from the court-house to render the analogy complete of another similar scene of old, equally terrible, wanton, and useless. Of property, a few more thousands destroyed, a few more families cast homeless and destitute upon the world, naked and starving. What of it? Some booby officer misunderstood the order, perhaps. Of course it is to be regretted; but where there is so much suffering, we have no room for minor sympathies. The domestic drama hides its diminished head before the magnificent horrors of military tragedy. It is war; that is all about it. Who has time to think of justice, mercy, right, honor, charity, or even honesty, amid the turmoil of war? All namby-pamby virtues have lost their savor. The attainments of peace become flat before the pungent excitements of war.

Tuesday, Nov. 24.--Skirmishing commenced early and briskly on our left front this morning. The rebs had gained a hill and thrown up rifle-pits near the round-house during the night. The Forty-eighth Pennsylvania and Twenty-first Massachusetts, during the morning, charged the pits, and driving the rebs out at the point of the bayonet, covered the trenches and returned to their own, with a loss of two killed and four wounded. On our left, for some hours, the fire of the sharp-shooters was quite hot from a house above and the rebel trenches. The Second Michigan charged there also in the most gallant manner, and drove the rebs back; a fierce and bloody engagement ensued, with great loss on both sides, our boys remaining in possession of the works, which they obliterated and fell back. The loss of the Second Michigan was ninety killed, wounded, and missing. Deserters and prisoners bring in the most exaggerated accounts of the numbers and intentions of the enemy, which we sift a little, and believe as much as we please of what is left. Rumors reach us, through rebel sources, that Bragg is not succeeding so well as they wish. We devoutly hope their sources of information will prove to be as correct as they usually are. We begin to doubt the rebel intention to attack us here at all. We have at no time doubted our ability to hold our own, however. The starvation business is very slow, and it will be many weeks ere we come to mule diet. Rations of hard bread were issued to the men to-day for the first time since we came in, and I understand there is considerable store on hand. We have also plenty of corn, beef, and pork. Citizens suffer more than the army. No farmers come in, and, of course, no markets. The sutlers closed their stores and packed their goods on the first intimation of danger. We begin almost to wish that the enemy would do something to break the monotony of which we grow weary, and there is talk of going out to find them if they persist much longer in their course of energetic inactivity. Captain Poe's “fortified convaniencies,” as an Irish sergeant denominated them while explaining the rifle-pits to me, this morning inspire us with marvellous confidence; misplaced, however, by the poor sergeant, who received a ball in the face while peering between the logs on the breastworks in search of rebels. The poor fellow recognized me in the hospital, and complained bitterly of a headache. The ball entered at the inner canthus of the left eye, and was lodged somewhere about the ethmoid bone. A headache was not to be wondered at. At night, belligerent activity ceases. Our pickets suspend all animosities, and fraternize in the most cordial manner. In accordance with compacts, they come together and exchange their respective experiences of moving accidents by flood and field. The Ninth corps and Longstreet's men are old opponents of Potomac memory, and have abundant mutual reminiscences of interest to exchange. At daylight, however, returning to their posts, the exhibition of a head or hand of either side is but an invitation to a hostile bullet.

General Manson, in command of the Thirty-fifth corps, and General Hascall, are indefatigable. One cannot ride along the lines any hour, day or night, without meeting one or the other. Manson's excellent bonhomie has an inspiriting influence on the men; while the serious air and confident ways of Hascall invigorate as a tonic would. The Tennesseeans are under command of our sprightly, gallant Colonel Casement, of the One Hundred and Third. Behind breastworks they may be relied upon. The Colonel has faith, and is confident, vigilant, and industrious. The destinies of our left are in the hands of Casement and his new men. On the south bank of the Holston, Colonel Cameron's brigade has charge of our interests, aided by Wolford's brigade. Altogether, we feel quite confident to look after our own safety until Bragg and Grant have arranged their little affairs. I hope every thing from the results of that.

Wednesday, Nov. 25.--Skirmishing in our front very light; it was ascertained that the rebs had crossed in considerable force to the south bank of the river, and threatened to take position on a hill from which they could enfilade our left lines. Cameron sent the Twenty-fourth Kentucky to feel of them, and a sharp contest ensued for the possession of the hill. The Twenty-fourth Kentucky were unable to hold the ground. The One Hundred and Third Ohio and Sixty-fifth Illinois, sent to reenforce them, finally drove the enemy from the coveted position. Our loss in this affair was sixty killed and wounded. Matters are now assuming an interesting outlook. Old scout Reynolds came in this evening from Kingston, bringing confirmation of Bragg's defeat and the assurance of present aid from Grant. Sherman is said to be at Cleveland, Generals Fry and Willcox at Bean's Station, and considerable force at Wytheville — from all of which, if true, Longstreet's position will not prove to be an easy one. His chief care will now be to effect his escape by the North-Carolina mountains as the only road left open to him.



[256]

Orders by General Burnside.

headquarters army of the Ohio, Knoxville, Tenn., Nov. 25, 1863.
General field orders, No. 32.

In accordance with the proclamation of the President of the United States, Thursday, the twenty-sixth instant, will, so far as military operations will permit, be observed by this army as a day of thanksgiving for the countless blessings vouchsafed the country, and the fruitful successes granted to our arms during the past year.

Especially has this army cause for thankfulness for the divine protection which has so signally shielded us; and let us with grateful hearts offer our prayers for its continuance, assured of the purity of our cause, and with a firm reliance on the God of battles.

By command of


headquarters army of the Ohio, in the field, Nov. 24, 1863.
General field orders, No. 31.

The Commanding General has the sad duty of announcing to this army the death of one of the bravest of their number, Brigadier-General W. P. Sanders.

A life rendered illustrious by a long record of gallantry and devotion to his country has closed while in the heroic and unflinching performance of duty.

Distinguished always for his self-possession and daring in the field, and in his private life eminent for his genial and unselfish nature and the sterling qualities of his character, he has left, both as a man and a soldier, an untarnished name.

In memory of the honored dead, the fort, in front of which he received his fatal wound, will be known hereafter as Fort Sanders.

By command of


Monday, November 30.--The long, tedious, and painful suspense is over. We no longer doubt the intentions of Longstreet. After thirteen days of menace and siege, he gathered his forces, and struck the mighty blow that was to have broken our lines, demolished our defences, and captured Knoxville. It was an utter and disastrous failure. In justice to our enemy, it is conceded by all, that more desperate valor, daring gallantry, or obstinate courage has not been recorded during the war. They contended against the impossible. The men who opposed them were as brave, as well trained on the same bloody fields of Virginia as they, and having as large a stake, had the advantages of an impregnable position. The enterprise was a bold one, the play masterly, and the attempt vigorous. Success would have given the enemy possession of the key to all our works on the west side of the town, not the town itself. But Fort Sanders lost, our position in Knoxville would be more precarious. But they failed. We do not know if Longstreet has done his worst; but it is evident that he expected to have exploited a brilliant and decisive coup de guerre. He was thirteen days deciding upon it. He waited until reenforckld by the forces of General Jones, Mudwall Jackson, Carter, and Cerro Gordo Williams. He selected three brigades of picked regiments, and determined upon a night attack, always the most dangerous and bloody, but if successful, the most decisive. It is evident that he played a tremendous odds to insure success, and every man in those doomed brigades advanced to the storming of Fort Sanders with that confident courage that usually commands it.

To resist him, were part of the Seventy-ninth New-York in the front, four companies of the One Hundredth Pennsylvania on the right, and four companies of the Second Michigan on the left. No part of the fort is complete. One bastion on the north-west angle, and parapet on the west side only, are up. Temporary traverses were made by cotton-bales, and also two salients, from which guns could sweep the ditches on the north and west. Spirited skirmishing commenced, on the right of the position, at ten o'clock P. M. Saturday. The vigor and persistence of it evidently foreshadowed something more serious behind, and such became the feeling of all the immense audience within our lines, who listened to the continuous and unceasing crash of musketry hour after hour, to one, two, and three o'clock A. M. Many an anxious heart, that night, beat high with hope and fear for their rebel friends without, and many a tearful and timid prayer went up to the God of battles, for the safety of friends within. All felt that an eventful moment was at hand for weal or woe, in the destinies of East-Tennessee and her brave defenders.

The enemy dashed upon the left of our position several times, as if in confident bravado, and finally drove our skirmishers from the advanced rifle-pits, and occupied them about daylight, Sunday morning. Our men rallied, and as determinedly regained them, driving the rebels back in turn. Suddenly an avalanche of men were hurled upon the disputed rifle-pits, our skirmishers were forced back. covered by our guns from the fort, by our retreating men. Two storming brigades were enabled to approach within one hundred yards of the bastion. It was their intention, probably, to draw out our boys, and then attempt to return with them, and enter the works. In this they were foiled. Our skirmishers fell in on the left, arid the rebel storming-party advanced directly upon the bastion. Then ensued a scene of carnage and horror, which has but few parallels in the annals of warfare. Balaklava was scarcely more terrible. Stunned for a moment by the torrent of canister and lead poured upon them by Buckley's First Rhode Island battery and our line of musketry, on they came. Again and again, the deadly missiles shattered their torn and mangled columns. Their march was over dead and wounded comrades, yet still they faltered not; but onward, still onward. Whole ranks stumbled [257] over wires stretched from stump to stump, and fell among the dead and dying; yet still over their prostrate bodies marched the doomed heroes of that forlorn hope.

At last the ditch was reached, and the slaughter became butchery, as if on a wager of death against mortality. Benjamin's guns on the salient swept the ditch, as the tornado would the corn. The earth was sated with blood. Men waded in blood, and struggled up the scarp, and, slipping in blood, fell back to join their mangled predecessors in the gory mud below. The shouts of the foiled and infuriate rebels, the groans of the dying, and shrieks of the wounded, arose above the din of the cannon. Benjamin lighted shell, and threw them over the parapet, and artillerymen followed his example. One rebel climbed the parapet, and planted the flag of the Thirteenth Mississippi regiment on the summit; but the rebel shout that greeted its appearance had scarce left the lips that framed it, than man and flag were in the ditch together, pierced by a dozen balls. Another rebel repeated the feat, and rejoined his comrade. A third essayed to bear off the flag, and was cloven with an ax. One man entered an embrasure, and was blown to fragments; two more were cut down in another; but not one entered the fort. The three veteran regiments of the Ninth army corps stood up to the work before them unflinching and glorious to a man. The heroes of a dozen campaigns, from the Potomac to Vicksburgh, they found themselves, for the third time, arrayed for trial of courage and endurance with the flower of the Southern army — the picked men of Longstreet's boasted veterans; and saw the sun rise, on that chill Sunday morning in November, on an entire brigade annihilated, and two more severely punished, Even the dead outnumbered us, for not more than three hundred of our force participated in the defence of Fort Sanders. Benjamin, of the Third United States artillery, and Buckley, of the First Rhode battery, were foremost in acts of daring and gallantry. General Ferrero, who has never left the fort since Longstreet's appearance before it, to whose skill and foresight much of the admirable dispositions for defence were due, was in command, and right nobly he has earned his star. His coolness, energy, and skill are subjects of universal encomiums.

The dead and wounded were left on the field, and the ghastly horrors were rendered sickening by the vain cries of hundreds for water and help. In full view from the embrasures, the ground was covered with dead, wounded, and dying. Forty-eight were heaped up in the ditch before the bastion; thirteen in another place, almost within reach of those who, though late their foes, would have willingly heeded their anguished shrieks for water; yet none dare go to their assistance. The humanity of General Burnside was not proof against so direct an appeal, and he at once sent in a flag of truce, offering an armistice until five o'clock P. M., for the purpose of burying their dead, and caring for their wounded.

Our own loss was but four killed, and eleven wounded. Some pickets have been cut off, and skirmishers captured, raising our loss to forty-five in all. Before Fort Sanders, south of the river, however, the Twenty-seventh Kentucky having abandoned the rifle-pits, the enemy, of course, entered them, and enfilading the line, killed, wounded, and captured some fifty. Colonel Cameron pushed forward other troops, and rooccupied the works without further mischief. Our entire loss during the night and day is within one hundred. The rebels removed their dead and wounded, and the occasion was improved to exchange the wounded of other occasions. Among ours, I note the gallant Major Byington, of the Second Michigan, who was wounded in the charge of his regiment upon the rebel works on Tuesday last. His wounds are severe, but not mortal. He speaks highly of the kindness of the rebel surgeons. Among the rebel officers killed was Colonel McElroy, of the Thirteenth Mississippi. His lieutenant, John O'Brian, a brother of Mrs. Parson Brownlow, is our prisoner. The rebels were posted on the fight between Grant and Bragg, and have two stories concerning it. As one of them agrees with ours, we believe that. As Longstreet has now tried the siege plan and the assault, and failed in both, we can conceive no further necessity for his longer residence in East-Tennessee, and if he be not gone to-morrow, we shall be unable to account for it.

November 30--A. M.--It has been comparatively quiet this morning. A few shots have been exchanged between the batteries and an occasional one along the skirmish line.

The enemy exhibits no indication of a renewal of the attack.

The total number of prisoners taken yesterday, is two hundred and thirty-four.

December 1--A. M.--Still quiet. The, enemy show no signs of another attack.

The weather is clear but cold, with severe frosts at night.

The following order, congratulatory to our troops for the victory of Sunday last, was addressed to them this morning, and was received. with enthusiastic cheering all around. the line:

General field orders--no. 33.

headquarters army of the Ohio,; in the field, November 30, 1863.
The brilliant events of the twenty-ninth instant, so successful to our arms, seem to present a fitting occasion for the Commanding General to thank this army for their conduct through the severe experiences of the past seventeen days, to assure them of the important bearing it has bad on the campaign in the West, and to give them the news of the great victory gained by General Grant, toward which their fortitude and their bravery have in a high degree contributed.

In every fight in which they have been engaged, [258] and recently in those near Knoxville, at London, at Campbell's Station, and, finally, around the defences on both sides of the river, while on the march, and in cold and in hunger, they have everywhere shown a spirit which has given to the army of the Ohio a name second to none.

By holding in check a powerful body of the enemy, they have seriously weakened the rebel army under Bragg, which has been completely defeated by General Grant, and, at the latest accounts, was in full retreat for Dalton, closely pursued by him, with the loss of six thousand prisoners, fifty-two pieces of artillery, and twelve stands of colors.

For this great and practical result, toward which the army of the Ohio has done so much, the Commanding General congratulates them, and with the fullest reliance on their patience and courage in the dangers they may yet have to meet, looks forward with confidence, under the blessing of Almighty God, to a successful close of the campaign.

By command of



Captain Montgomery's report.

sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this regiment, under my command, since the fourteenth ultimo:

At that date, my command was stationed at Lenoir's Station, on duty at headquarters Ninth army corps. About eight o'clock A. M., I received orders to strike camp and hold myself in readiness to move at a moment's notice. This order was promptly carried out, and, having formed line and stacked arms, waited for further developments. During the early part of the day, the camp of the corps headquarters was struck, and the wagons packed, numerous other calls made on my men to load forage and other Government property on the cars, besides furnishing several guards. My command was thus occupied till early on the morning of the sixteenth, when, at early dawn, I received orders to move and support a section of the Third United States artillery, under command of Lieutenant Bartlett. The roads impassable, and the horses worn out, great physical exertion was required on the part of the men to keep the section in motion. Beyond this, nothing occurred worthy of notice till reaching Campbell's Station, when I was ordered by General Burnside, in person, to take up position under cover, and support a section of Benjamin's battery. I had a good opportunity for doing so, in a defile, between two fences. While in this position, I was called on by order of General Potter, to detail a commissioned officer and twenty men, to take in charge some prisoners; and a like detail, to cover the road leading to Knoxville, to arrest and detain all stragglers from their commands; and another, of eighteen men, to assist in working the guns of Buckley's battery. I had thus under one hundred men available for fighting duty, should my command have been called into active contact with the enemy. Here I remained till the last gun had passed, and then followed in the march to Knoxville, reaching there about midnight, and encamped on the ground formerly occupied by General Potter's headquarters. On the morning of the seventeenth, I detailed, by order of General Potter, one captain, one lieutenant, and thirty men, to patrol the city, and arrest and turn over to their respective division provost-marshals all stragglers from the Ninth army corps; the balance of the command was under orders to move at any moment. About two o'clock P. M., I reported, with my command, to headquarters Ninth army corps, in Knoxville, and remained there till next morning, when I was ordered to report to the First brigade, First division, which I immediately did, and was assigned to duty in Fort Sanders, since which my command has constituted the major portion of the garrison.

I detailed, daily, two commissioned officers and forty-five men as a grand reserve for the skirmishers in front of the works. This party were posted on the crest of the hill, about five hundred yards in front of the work, with instructions to hold the position at all hazards, should the enemy attempt to carry it. No casualties occurred while on this duty, and the position was maintained till about half-past 11 o'clock on the night of the twenty-eighth, when the enemy advanced and drove in the skirmishers. Such was the impetuosity of his advance, that he had almost gained the crest occupied by the reserve before they could fire a shot, and they were thus compelled to fall back, only, however, for about fifty yards. Having gained the position which the reserve was thus compelled to relinquish, the enemy was contented for the night; and at five o'clock next morning, (the twenty-ninth,) I sent out, as usual, the detail to relieve the reserve, with the instructions, which I received from General Ferrero, that the position lost on the previous night was to be retaken at all hazards. This was accomplished; but no sooner so, than the enemy again made a demonstration, and, from the velocity of his advance, it was evident he meant to storm; nor was this impression incorrect. It is proper here to state, that my command only consisted of one hundred and fortyfour muskets, and, at the time the enemy made the assault, there were not more than fifty men in the fort. The reserve, which had been relieved, together with the party who relieved them, were soon, however, on hand, and in position in the front. The enemy steadily advanced, and quickly crowded on the ramparts and in the ditch. The fire from the artillery was rendered useless, the enemy having got within range, so that it was left to infantry entirely to defend the fort.

Now it was that the often tried mettle of the Highlanders was put to its severest test. Never were men more cool or determined. Officers and men alike were fully alive to the position they were placed in, and how much depended on their action. So fierce was the attack, that no less than three stands of colors were planted on the [259] salient of the north-west bastion, the point assailed. Two of these were blown into the ditch by our fire; the other, that of the Fifty-first Georgia regiment, was heroically captured by First Sergeant Francis W. Judge, company K, who, on seeing it, sprang on the ramparts, and seizing it and its bearer, brought them into the fort. From both flanks of the bastion a terrific and deadly fire was poured into the enemy's ranks, and hundreds fell wounded, others to rise no more. The enemy was repulsed and driven from the work, hundreds of prisoners were taken, and hundreds killed and wounded; the carnage was fearful, and cannot be described; the eye dimmed and the heart sickened at the sight.

Every man had forty rounds of ammunition when the assault was made, and I furnished them with twenty additional rounds each while the action was in progress; there could not have been less than fifty rounds per man consumed. Besides the stands of colors captured on the ramparts, my command is entitled to be credited with a large share of the captured arms and accoutrements, with a large number of prisoners.

The casualties were few, wonderfully few, and must be accounted for by the cool and careful manner in which the officers and men moved themselves. Had the officers been less careful, and allowed the men to expose themselves unnecessarily, the consequences might have been fearful. It is pleasing, and it affords me unmingled gratification to be able to record the gallant conduct of every officer and man in the command; I would be doing myself and them an injustice did I fail to do so.

Numerous instances of individual heroism were noticeable, but it would be invidious to mention names when all behaved with so much bravery.

I cannot close without paying a tribute to the good conduct and cheerful demeanor of the men, all throughout this trying time, on short rations, and continued duty by night and day. They never complained, but, on the contrary, have performed every duty, and suffered the privation and exposure without a murmur.

Subjoined is a list of casualties.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Wm. S. Montgomery, Captain Commanding Regiment.

Twenty-third, private W. J. Coyle, wounded in left forearm. Twenty-fourth, Malcolm Sinclair, head. Twenty-fifth, Lieutenant Charles Watson. Privates Henry Pikel, thigh; Pat. Carlin, thigh. Sergeants Thomas Denham, killed; Robert Atherly, killed; privates, John Burgess, killed; David Schultz, killed. Sergeant Alfred Luce, wounded in the head; privates, Robert Paterson, thigh; Roderick McKenzie, shoulder; James Mitchell, breast; Wm. Smith, head.

Knoxville, Dec. 2.
Seventeen days of siege. We have no butter, chickens, eggs, vegetables, or other luxuries of that kind, and have only one quarter rations of coffee, but so far we have had plenty of pork, beef, flour, and meal. Every one is confident, and the best of spirits exist among all classes, citizens and soldiers. Up to last Saturday, an assault has been a matter of dread by many; but since the terrible storming of Fort Sanders on that memorable morning, and its disastrous and bloody results, even assaults have lost their terrors. The rebels seem still to surround us, and their pickets are quite as strong and vigilant as ever, but no demonstration of a serious nature has been made by them since Sunday. We are in the dark as to the rebel movements altogether, and can but theorize upon the little we know. I confess I am a subscriber to the proposition that places Longstreet in the position of the gentleman who caught the Tartar, having invested, threatened, and besieged Knoxville, in so far as he was able. He is now more anxious concerning a method of escape, and is doubtless straining every nerve to accomplish so desirable a result. Nevertheless, we are told to hold Knoxville at every hazard by a man who seldom gives an order without an object, and thus far we have done so. We could rally from our works and ascertain more of Longstreet, but he might not be so much gone off as we think, and we can afford no unusual risks; so we watch the pickets day and night, and every time we see a rebel head we shoot at it, and they generally return the compliment. As these memoranda of current events may probably never reach you, and might reach the enemy, I make no details. If no attack is made to-night, Longstreet will have irretrievably lost his opportunity, and should he have procrastinated his departure, will probably be lost himself, since we have tolerably sure evidence that we shall be relieved within thirty-six hours from our present predicament.

Dec. 3.,--No attack last night. The rebel pickets are still vigilant, but nothing further can be ascertained. We begin to wonder what he means and why he goes not. No news of our reenforcements. One rumor comes to us that Granger had an engagement with the enemy near Clinton, and captured three guns. A deserter reports a battle near Loudon, between our reenforcements and Longstreet. A party of citizens from Sevierville report no appearance of the enemy in that direction. It is rumored to-day that Lee is advancing with the bulk of his army — having abandoned Richmond and removed the capital to Montgomery. Amid all these rumors we are quietly awaiting orders. The desperate straits to which rebeldom is driven by the summer and fall campaigns, give plausibility to any story, however improbable. Should Lee be able to aid Longstreet by any concatenation of military circumstances, we will, probably, be obliged to make different arrangements. Till then, we feel quite comfortable in the hope of capturing Longstreet.

To offset the rumor, we have another quite as likely, if not more plausible, that Willcox is marching from the Gap along the valley into Virginia, to destroy their salt-works and demolish any scattering rebs that may still infest those regions. [260]

You may judge, from the number and nature of these rumors, what our situation must be, shut up from all outside information, as we are, here within the corporate limits of Knoxville.

In a former letter, speaking of the affair of Sunday, I stated the Twenty-seventh Kentucky “had abandoned the rifle-pits, etc.” This was the information forwarded to division headquarters. I learn since that it was untrue. The regiment was ordered to fall back by the officer in command, and behaved gallantly in the subsequent charge to regain their position.

Saturday, Dec. 5.--I add hastily by sudden courier. It is over. Our long, anxious suspense, the siege, the campaign, and, I devoutly trust and believe, the culminating crisis of the rebellion. The dead point of danger is past; the position of East-Tennessee is assured to the Union. The Smoky Mountains will hereafter become our military front. The advance of our reenforcements, under Sherman, arrived yesterday morning. Granger is on the way. Longstreet's hours in East-Tennessee are numbered. His chief care since that glorious Sunday before Sanders has been, as I suggested, to escape from the trap in which he was involved by that blundering humbug Bragg. Our faith in Grant has not been in vain or misplaced.

A cavalry brigade, in command of Colonel Long, Fourth Ohio volunteer cavalry, is marching across our pontoon while I write. From Major Smith and Dr. Owens, of the Fifth Ohio volunteer cavalry, I learn the particulars of the utter demoralization of Bragg. A reconnoissance of our front is now out. The result will probably be to bring in rebel pickets out of the wet, and ascertain that Longstreet is on his way to Dixie. I will send particulars as soon as obtained. I cannot obtain full lists of killed and wounded of Shackleford's division. Our entire loss in all the engagements, during twenty-two days, will not reach one thousand. The rebel loss, during the same time, is not short of five thousand.

News of reconnaissance just in — enemy gone since Tuesday. Our cavalry are in pursuit to pick up stragglers. Thus endeth the campaign in East-Tennessee. What we will do with the huge army sent here by Grant, is problematical. One does not require the foot of an elephant to kill a gnat, and Grant is not one to overdo.

December 6.--I made a thorough survey of the enemy's position yesterday. The extent and elaborateness of their defensive as well as offensive works is proof positive that they intended to stay in front of Knoxville until it was captured or surrendered. It would be safe to say that four hundred acres of timber were cleared off by Longstreet's army and converted into log breastworks, and protections for rifle-pits. Their line of permanent works extended from the front of Fort Sanders about two and a half miles round to the right, terminating at the line of the Clinton Railroad.

There are eight inclosed works, with embrasures for one gun, situated checkerboard fashion; that is, one in front of a given line, the next, say fifty yards to the rear, and so on. These all, except two, which were evidently the last two built, and which were located two hundred yards to the left of the Clinton Railroad, bore upon the works of Fort Sanders and Temperance Hill forts. These last two works commanded the gorge of the railroad running north from the city.

To the right of this line, eastward, there was chiefly an open plain, three quarters of a mile wide, extending round to our extreme right, which was perfectly honeycombed by our own and the enemy's rifle-pits, in some parts within a few yards of each other. Their camp-fires were still burning in many places, and a considerable quantity of camp debris was scattered about. The enemy had begun to construct log huts, showing that he had intended to stay.

At the small-pox hospital, opposite the Clinton Railroad, a mile from town, a soldier having that loathsome disease had been left, with an attendant two days before the enemy came in. Upon the arrival of the rebel army the nurse ran away, and the poor soldier probably died for want of attention. Yesterday he was found dead in the house, his blankets and clothing having been stripped off and carried away by some greedy rebel in Longstreet's army.

Five miles from town, near the house of a Mr. Bell, one of our men was found hanging by the neck suspended to the limb of a tree, with a paper pinioned upon his breast. The paper contained in pencil the following: “Milon Ferguson, One Hundred and Eighteenth Ohio regiment, sent into our lines by Colonel Byrd in disguise. Hung as a spy, by order of--------.” General Carter sent and had the soldier brought to town and decently interred. The neighbors, who were accused of the hanging, say it was done by rebel General Martin's escort.

The following is General Burnside's congratulatory order to the army:

headquarters army of the Ohio, in the field, December 5, 1863.
General field orders, No. 34.

The Commanding General congratulates the troops on the raising of the siege.

With unsurpassed fortitude and patient watchfulness they have sustained the wearing duties of the defence, and with unyielding courage they have repulsed the most desperate assaults.

The army of the Ohio has nobly guarded the loyal region it redeemed from its oppressors, and rendered the heroic defence of Knoxville memorable in the annals of the war.

Strengthened by the experiences and the successes of the past, they now, with the powerful support of the gallant army which has come to their relief, and with undoubting faith in the Divine protection, enter with the brightest prospects upon the closing scenes of a most brilliant campaign.

By command of




[261]

Honor to the fallen.

headquarters army of the Ohio, Knoxville, Teen., Dec. 11.
General order, No. 37.

In order clearly to designate the positions occupied by our troops during the recent siege, and in token of respect to the gallant officers who fell in defence of Knoxville, the several forts and batteries are named as follows:

Battery Noble--At loop-holed house south of Kingston road, in memory of Lieutenant and Adjutant William Noble, Second Michigan volunteers, who fell in the charge upon the enemy's rifle-pits, in front of Fort Sanders, on the morning of November twenty-fourth.

Fort Byington--At College, after Major Cornelius Byington, Second Michigan volunteers, who fell mortally wounded, while leading the assault upon the enemy's rifle-pits, in front of Fort Sanders, on the morning of November twenty-fourth.

Battery Galpin--East of Second Creek, in memory of Lieutenant Galpin, Second Michigan volunteers, who fell in the assault upon the enemy's rifle-pits, in front of Fort Sanders, on the morning of November twenty-fourth.

Fort Comstock--On Summit Hill, near the railroad depot, in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Comstock, Seventeenth Michigan volunteers, who fell in our lines during the siege.

Battery Wiltsee--West of Gay street, in memory of Captain Wiltsee, Twentieth Michigan volunteers, who was mortally wounded in our lines during the siege.

Fort Huntington Smith--On Temperance Hill, in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Huntington Smith, Twentieth Michigan volunteer infantry, who fell at the battle of Campbell's Station.

Battery Clifton Lee--East of Fort Huntington Smith, in memory of Captain Clifton Lee, One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois mounted infantry, who fell in the fight of November eighteenth, in front of Fort Sanders.

Fort Hill--At the extreme eastern point of our lines, in memory of Captain Hill, of the Twelfth Kentucky cavalry, who fell during the siege.

Battery Fearns--On Flint Hill, in memory of Lieutenant and Adjutant Charles W. Fearns, Forty-fifth Ohio mounted infantry, who fell in the action of November eighteenth, in front of Fort Sanders.

Battery Zoellner--Between Fort Sanders and Second Creek, in memory of Lieutenant Frank Zoellner, Second Michigan volunteers, who fell mortally wounded, in the assault upon the enemy's rifle-pits in front of Fort Sanders, on the morning of November twenty-fourth.

Battery Stearman--In the gorge between Temperance Hill and Mabrey's Hill, in memory of Lieutenant William Stearman, Thirteenth Kentucky volunteers, who fell near Loudon, Tennessee.

Fort Stanley--Comprising all the works upon the central hill on the south side of the river, in memory of Captain C. B. Stanley, Forty-fifth Ohio volunteer mounted infantry, who fell mortally wounded in the action near Philadelphia, Tennessee.

Battery Billingsley--Between Gay street and First Creek, in memory of Lieutenant J. Billingsley, Seventeenth Michigan infantry, who fell in action in front of Fort Sanders, November twentieth.

Fort Higley--Comprising all the works on the hill west of the railroad embankment, south side of the river, in memory of Captain Joel P. Higley, Seventh Ohio cavalry, who fell in action at Blue Springs, Tennessee, October sixteenth, 1863.

Fort Dickerson--Comprising all the works between Fort Stanley and Fort Higley, in memory of Captain Jonathan Dickerson, One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois mounted infantry, who fell in action near Cleveland, Tennessee.

By command of


1 See page 189 ante.

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