[from our own Correspondent.]
The enemy has gained important advantages within the last forty-eight hours, which, unless they are counteracted in some way, will place the question of subsisting his army in Chattanooga
this winter beyond all doubt.
But before proceeding further, permit me to correct as error into which I fell in my letter of yesterday.
The point at which the enemy laid the pontoon bridges yesterday morning is Brown's Ferry, four and a half miles below Chattanooga
by the river, or a mile and a half by land.
To reach the ferry by land you cross the river in the rear of the town and the Moccasin
, or neck of land below, which is very narrow, though the distance around it is considerable.
Having constructed their pontoon boats and placed the bridge timber aboard, the pontoneers and the expeditionary forces embarked night before last at Chattanooga
, and under cover of darkness proceeded quietly down the river to the ferry, where the troops landed, leaving the pontoneers in charge of the boats.
Our cavalry along the river bank, according to report, were asleep, and of course were taken in their blankets.
Advancing up the hill, called by some Sand Hill
, overlooking the river, the Federal
came suddenly upon Gen
's infantry pickets — all of whom but one man are reported to have followed the example of the vide, and gone to sleep — captured most of them or drove them in, and gained possession of the hill.
The solitary picket who was awake discharged his piece, and this called up Col. Oates
, of the 15th Alabama, who immediately deployed his regiment as skirmishers, and advanced against the enemy; but finding that their line of battle overlapped his line of skirmishers at both ends, he fell back, leaving the foe in undisputed possession of the ground.
This occurred just before day.
Meanwhile, the pontoneers, as soon as the success of the movement had become assured went to work and laid down the bridge at the ferry, when heavy reinforcements, which had proceeded by the land route, across the Moccasin
or narrow tongue of land in the lower corner of the , passed over the river and commenced throwing up defensive works.
The bridge is in full view of Look out point, and not exceeding two miles distant.
But this is not all. A considerable force reached the scene this afternoon from Bridgeport
, having marched upon the south side of the river, along the railroad route.
The column was preceded by a force of eight hundred or a thousand cavalry and brought with it artillery and a wagon train.
A scout, who hovered along the mountains and watched the movements of the column, informs me that it started from Shell Mound
, five miles this side of Bridgeport
, at noon yesterday, and that a considerable body of troops remained behind.
The enemy was laying a pontoon bridge across the river at Shell Mound
when he left.
The enemy now holds the south bank of the river, and the railroad from Bridgeport
to Brown's Ferry.
From the nearest point on the railroad to the ferry is one mile, and from the ferry across Moccasin Bend to Chattanooga
is a mile and a half.
The distance, then, the enemy will have to haul his supplies in the future, if he is suffered to hold his present position, will be two miles and a half. The distance we have to haul our supplies from Chickamauga Station
, over a horrid road, is seven miles. The enemy has to cross the Tennessee
twice to reach his depot; we have to cross the Chickamauga
once to reach ours.
But will the enemy be allowed to remain where he is?
A vigorous assault yesterday might have dislodged him, but it is doubtful whether it can be done now without a loss altogether disproportionate to the advantages to be gained.
It may be, nevertheless, that an attempt to drive him away will be made.
You will be surprised to hear that the idea prevailed in high quarters yesterday that Thomas
had seized this point to cover his retreat by the river road to Bridgeport
The hallucination that the Federal
would not be able to maintain themselves in Chattanooga
is now dissipated into thin air.
As was intimated in my letter of last night, the artillery duel between our guns on Look-out and the enemy's Moccasin batteries came off to-day, and ended in — smoke.
October 29--7 A. M.
attacked the enemy last night at Brown
's ferry, and drove them back, but was finally compelled to retire himself before largely superior numbers.
Nothing is known as to the casualties on either side.
The fighting continued for some hours, and will probably be renewed.
I hear artillery-firing across Lookout, in the direction of the ferry, as I close this postscript.
Army of Tennessee,
I have but little to add to my postscript of this morning, touching the fight last night in Lookout valley
This valley lies west of the mountain of that name, and between it and Raccoon mountain
, and is drained by Lookout creek
, which empties its waters into the Tennessee
a short distance below Lookout point
The attack was made under orders soon after midnight, by Gen. Jenkins
, commanding Hood
The column which had arrived in the afternoon from Bridgeport
did not proceed to Brown
's ferry, where the new pontoon bridge is laid, but stopped two miles short of it, on the west side of Lookout creek
It was this column that Gen. Jenkins
's, Berming's, and Robertson
's brigades were posted on the right, so as to hold in check the forces at the ferry, should they attempt to go to the relief of their friends; whilst Jenkins
's old brigade, now commanded by Col. Bratton
, moved up the valley to the left, and fell with great violence upon the column encamped in that direction.
The attack was furious and very successful.
's Legion, (infantry,) Col. Gary
, got upon the enemy's left flank, forced it back upon the centre, captured his camps and wagon train, and finally got in rear of the left wing.
In the meantime the forces at Brown
's ferry were put in motion, and were pressing down to the relief of their flying comrades.
They were in such numbers, and the ground was of such a character, that it was found impossible to hold them in check; whereupon Gen. Jenkins
, now pushing the foe back in great confusion.
The order to withdraw was not given any too soon, for the forces from Brown
's ferry were within three hundred yards of the only bridge over Lookout creek
by which the Confederates
could retreat when the last of Bratton
's brigade passed over it. Law, Benning
, and Robertson
did not become hotly engaged, and suffered but slight loss.
's brigade, on the contrary, lost nearly 400 in killed, wounded and missing.
Among the killed was the intrepid Col. Klipatrick
, of the first South Carolina.
A few of our wounded fell into the hands of the enemy; this was inconsiderable in a night affair.
The loss of the enemy must have been heavy.
He was not prepared for the attack; was thrown into confusion, and his lines doubled back upon each other, so that the same ball from a Confederate gun might dispatch two or three men at the same time.
No wagons were brought off, though a number of mules and horses were killed.
's legion captured a flag, which was saved.
Among the twenty or thirty prisoners taken were representatives from two army corps, the 11th and 12th, from the Potomac
An intelligent Texan scout went within a short distance of the enemy's field hospital this morning, and he reports their wounded at from 800 to 1,000.
He thinks it would be quite safe to put their entire casualties at 1,000.
Our guns on Lookout shelled the road to-day along which the enemy's trains and artillery were moving towards Brown
's ferry, and compelled their infantry forces to change their positions more than once.
Unfortunately, not more than one third of the shells, which have just been received from Richmond
The guns engaged in the artillery duel with the Moccasin
batteries yesterday were not Alexander
's fine parrotts as reported; they were taken up to-day, and will render the enemy's position in Lookout valley
unpleasant, if nothing more.
It is but proper to add, in correction of an error in my last letter, that it was only the cavalry videttes, and not Law
's pickets, who were surprised the night of the 26th, when the enemy effected a landing and threw a bridge across the river at Brown
There was but one brigade of infantry (Law
's) on picket at the time, and that was strung along the river from Lookout mountain
to a point five miles below.
It was impossible for so small a force, thus widely distributed, to prevent a landing in the night.
It is reported that the President
has offered Gen. Polk
his choice of three commands, viz: At Richmond, in Mississippi
, (under Johnston
,) and in the tran.
Mississippi Department. It is also reported that Gen. Hardee
is already on his way to join this army.