previous next

[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

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Knoxville (Tennessee, United States) (6)
United States (United States) (1)
Tennessee (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Balaklava (Ukraine) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. E. Burnside (3)
Lewis Richmond (2)
A. B. Longstreet (2)
Cerro Gordo Williams (1)
William P. Sanders (1)
Lewis Jones (1)
Mudwall Jackson (1)
D. T. Carter (1)
Buckley (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November 25th, 1863 AD (1)
November 24th, 1863 AD (1)
November 30th (1)
26th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: