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[306] succeeded in killing twenty-three, (23.) and capturing forty of this same gang. Colonel Stokes ascertained that, when concentrated, the guerrillas in that section of the country will number six hundred men, finely mounted. A scout also brought me information of an attack by Roddy, with a heavy force, upon our troops stationed at Lebanon, De Kalb County, Alabama, on the third instant. The rebels were repulsed, and driven in confusion towards Gadsden, when, learning that Roddy was being reenforced by Wheeler, our troops withdrew to Sand Mountain, taking possession of Saltpetre Cave, near Fort Paine.

About the tenth instant, various reports having been received that the enemy under Johnson had weakened his force by sending reenforcements to Polk, then opposing the advance of our forces under General Sherman; also that he had sent troops to aid Longstreet, in East-Tennessee; and it being the desire of the Commanding General of the military division, effectually to clear out the rebel army directly opposed to our forces at Knoxville, I received orders, on the tenth instant, to prepare to start for Knoxville on the thirteenth, with such force as could safely be spared from the protection of Chattanooga and its communications, to cooperate with the army of the Ohio in driving Longstreet from East-Tennessee. The army at this period had been very much weakened by the absence of many regiments who had gone to their respective States to reorganize as veteran volunteers — a list of which I have the honor to annex hereto — so that in making my preparations, I found but a small force available. My transportation was in a very poor condition, notwithstanding all the efforts made to replace the animals lost by starvation, during the close investment of Chattanooga by the enemy; and for want of horses scarcely any of the artillery could be moved.

On the thirteenth, the East-Tennessee and Georgia Railroad was in running order to Loudon. The same day Matthias's brigade, of the Fifteenth corps, (army of the Tennessee,) arrived at Chattanooga from Huntsville, in pursuance to orders from General Grant, and was immediately placed in position at Cleveland, in reserve.

On the fourteenth, I received a communication from General Grant, countermanding the orders he had given me on the tenth, to proceed with a force from my command, to East-Tennessee, and stating that, from a conversation he had had with General Foster, he (General Grant) was convinced that all that could be accomplished by the proposed campaign, would not compensate for the hardships upon our men, and the disqualifying effects it would have upon them and our war material for a spring campaign. He then went on to say, that as I had been preparing for a move, he deemed it advisable to make one to my immediate front; the object being to gain possession of Dalton, and as far south of that as possible.

In accordance with the above instructions, every thing being in readiness, Johnson's and Baird's divisions moved out from Chattanooga, and occupied Ringgold, Georgia, on the twenty-second, taking up a position on the ridge west of East-Chickamauga Creek, with two regiments of mounted infantry, Colonel Boone's Twenty-eighth Kentucky, and Colonel Harrison's Thirty-ninth Indiana, on the east side of the creek; the former on the right flank, and the latter on the left. Carlin's brigade, of Johnson's division, was stationed about midway between the main line and Taylor's Ridge.

Crufts's division, of the Fourth corps, moved on the twenty-second from Blue Springs, near Cleveland, to Red Clay; Long's brigade of cavalry cooperated with Crufts's column, Long's instructions being to establish communication with Crufts at Red Clay, and then push on as far as possible toward Dalton on the Spring Place road, observing well the movements of the enemy, so as to give timely warning of any attempt to turn Crufts's left flank; and should the enemy retire, to notify Crufts, so that the latter might advance from Red Clay. During the evening of the twenty-second, General Palmer notified me from Ringgold that he had reliable information that Johnston had despatched Cheatham's and Cleburne's divisions to the relief of Polk, in Alabama, who was falling back before General Sherman's column.

On the twenty-third, Davis's division of the Fourteenth corps, closed up on the balance of General Palmer's command at Ringgold; Brigadier-General Matthias, commanding a brigade of the Fifteenth corps, stationed at Cleveland, in reserve, was directed to send six regiments from his command to reinforce General Crufts, at Red Clay; Colonel Long, having established communication with Crufts, the evening before, advanced with his brigade of cavalry along the Spring Place road, driving in the enemy's videttes when within four miles of Dalton; attacking a regiment of rebel infantry which was encamped one mile beyond, driving them from their camp and capturing some prisoners. The enemy then formed, and Long withdrew his command to Russell's Mills, four miles east of Varnell's Station, on the Cleveland and Dalton Railroad, and encamped there for the night. Crufts, by instructions from General Palmer, took position on the twenty-third at Lee's house, situated at the cross-roads, on the road leading from Red Clay to Tunnel Hill. The command being at this time well concentrated in the vicinity of Ringgold, and having renonnoitred thoroughly on both flanks, General Palmer advanced to feel the enemy in his position at Tunnel Hill, skirmished with him three or four miles, and finally drove him from his position entirely, to a point about one mile beyond Tunnel Hill, where he formed line, and opened on us with his battery. The main force then withdrew, and went into camp about three miles north-west of Tunnel Hill, and on the morning of the twenty-fourth the line stood as follows: Baird's division south of Taylor's Ridge, near Ringgold, with Crufts's division at Lee's house; Johnson's and Davis's divisions in advance, toward Tunnel Hill, with


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