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[292]

The supply route when the railroads were wrecked When the Army of the Cumberland under Rosecrans retreated from the field of Chickamauga, with 16,000 of its 62,000 effectives killed and wounded, it concentrated at Chattanooga. The Confederates under Bragg held the south bank of the Tennessee, and from the end of the railroad at Bridgeport there was a haul of sixty miles to Chattanooga. Twenty-six miles of railroad, including the long truss bridge across the Tennessee River and the trestle at Whiteside, a quarter of a mile long and one hundred and thirteen feet high, had been destroyed. Rosecrans' only route to supply his army was the river. It was Lieutenant-Colonel (later Brigadier-General) William G. Le Duc who saved from a freshet the first flat-bottomed boat, the Chattanooga, which carried 45,000 rations up to Kelley's Ferry, whence the haul was only eight miles to the Army of the Cumberland-instead of sixty. Later more boats were built, and the railroad repaired, but it was Le Due's ingenuity in rescuing the nondescript craft, built by Captain Edwards, from the oaks along the river and an old boiler as raw material, that saved the army many pangs of hunger, if not general starvation. The sixty-mile haul over the rough mountain-roads from Bridgeport to Chattanooga was no longer whitened with the bones of the suffering draft animals who were being killed by thousands in the desperate effort to bring food to the army. In the photograph opposite the other end of the line-Bridgeport, Alabamais shown as it appeared April 2, 1863. Prince Felix Salm-Salm, a German soldier of fortune, was the Commander of this post. He served on the staff of General Louis Blenker and later was commissioned Colonel of the Eighth New York Volunteers, a German regiment. His final rank was Brigadier-General.

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April 2nd, 1863 AD (1)
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