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November, 1863.

November, 11

My new brigade consists of the following regiments:

One Hundred and Thirteenth Ohio Infantry, Colonel John G. Mitchell.

One Hundred and Twenty-first Ohio Infantry, Colonel H. B. Banning.

One Hundred and Eighth Ohio Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Piepho.

Ninety-eighth Ohio Infantry, Major Shane.

Third Ohio Infantry, Captain Leroy S. Bell.

Seventy-eighth Illinois Infantry, Colonel Van Vleck.

Thirty-fourth Illinois Infantry, Colonel Van Tassell.

There has been much suffering among the men. They have for weeks been reduced to quarter rations, and at times so eager for food that the commissary store-rooms would be thronged, and the few crumbs which fell from broken boxes of hard-bread carefully gathered up and eaten. Men have followed the forage wagons and picked up the grains of corn which fell from them, and in some instances they have picked up the grains of corn from the mud where [353] mules have been fed. The suffering among the animals has been intense. Hundreds of mules and horses have died of starvation. Now, however, that we have possession of the river, the men are fully supplied, but the poor horses and mules are still suffering. A day or two more will, I trust, enable us to provide well for them also. Two steamboats are plying between this and Chattanooga, and one immense wagon train is also busy. Supplies are coming forward with a reasonable degree of rapidity. The men appear to be in good health and excellent spirits.

November, 12

We are encamped on Stringer's ridge, on the north side of the Tennessee, immediately opposite Chattanooga. This morning Colonel Mitchell and I rode to the picket line of the brigade. The line runs along the river, opposite and to the north of the point of Lookout mountain. At the time, a heavy fog rising from the water veiled somewhat the gigantic proportions of Lookout point, or the nose of Lookout, as it is sometimes designated. While standing on the bank, at the water's edge, peering through the mist, to get a better view of two Confederate soldiers, on the opposite shore, a heavy sound broke from the summit of Lookout mountain, and a shell went whizzing over into Hooker's camps. Pretty soon a battery opened on what is called Moccasin point, on the north side of the river, and replied to Lookout. Later in the day Moccasin and Lookout got into an angry discussion which lasted two hours. These two batteries have a special spite at each other, and almost every day [354] thunder away in the most terrible manner. Lookout throws his missiles too high and Moccasin too low, so that usually the only loss sustained by either is in ammunition. Moccasin, however, makes the biggest noise. The sound of his guns goes crashing and echoing along the sides of Lookout in a way that must be particularly gratifying to Moccasin's soul. I fear, however, that both these gigantic gentlemen are deaf as adders, or they would not so delight in kicking up such a hellebaloo.

This afternoon I rode over to Chattanooga. Called at the quarters of my division commander, General Jeff. C. Davis, but found him absent; stopped at Department Headquarters and saw General Reynolds, chief of staff; caught sight of Generals Hooker, Howard, and Gordon Granger. Soon General Thomas entered the room and shook hands with me. On my way back to camp I called on General Rousseau; had a long and pleasant conversation with him. He goes to Nashville to-morrow to assume command of the District of Tennessee. He does not like the way in which he has been treated; thinks there is a disposition on the part of those in authority to shelve him, and that his assignment to Nashville is for the purpose of letting him down easily. Palmer, who has been assigned to the command of the Fourteenth Corps, is Rousseau's junior in rank, and this grinds him. He referred very kindly to the old Third Division, and said it won him his stars. I told him I was exceedingly anxious to get home; that it seemed almost impossible for me to remain longer. He said [355] that I must continue until they made me a major-general. I replied that I neither expected nor desired promotion.

At the river I met Father Stanley, of the Eighteenth Ohio. He presides over the swing ferry, in which he takes especial delight. A long rope, fastened to a stake in the middle of the river, is attached to the boat, and the current is made to swing it from one shore to the other.

November, 14

My fleet-footed black horse is dead. Did the new moon, which I saw so squarely over my left shoulder when riding him over Waldron's ridge, augur this?

The rebel journals are expressing great dissatisfaction at Bragg's failure to take Chattanooga, and insist upon his doing so without further delay. On the other hand, the authorities at Washington are probably urging Grant to move, fearing if he does not that Burnside will be overwhelmed. Thus both generals must do something soon in order to satisfy their respective masters. There will be a battle or a footrace within a week or two.

November, 15

Have read Whitelaw Reid's statement of the causes of Rosecrans' removal. He is, I presume, in the main correct. Investigation will show that the army could have gotten into Chattanooga without a battle on the Chickamauga. There would have been a battle here, doubtless, and defeat would have resulted probably in our destruction; yet it seems reasonable to suppose that, if able to hold Chattanooga after defeat, we would have been able to do so before. [356]

Mission Ridge.

November, 20

Orders have been issued, and to morrow a great battle will be fought. May God be with our army and favor us with a substantial victory! My brigade will move at daylight. It is now getting ready.

Order to move countermanded at midnight.

November, 22

The day is delightful. Lookout and Moccasin are furious. The Eleventh Corps (Howard's) is now crossing the pontoon bridge, just below and before us, to take position for to-morrow's engagement. Sherman is also moving up the river on the north side, with a view to getting at the enemy's right flank. My brigade will be under arms at daylight, and ready to move. Our division will operate with Sherman on the left. Hitherto I have gone into battle almost without knowing it; now we ae are about to bring on a terrible conflict, and have abundant time for reflection. I can not affirm that the prospect has a tendency to elevate one's spirits. There are men, doubtless, who enjoy having their legs sawed off, their heads trepanned, and their ribs reset, but I am not one of them. I am disposed to think of home and family — of the great suffering which results from engagements between immense armies. Somebody-Wellington, I guess-said there was nothing worse than a great victory except a great defeat.

Rode with Colonel Mitchell four miles up the river to General Davis' quarters; met there General [357] Morgan, commanding First Brigade of our division; Colonel Dan McCook, commanding Third Brigade, and Mr. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War.

November, 23

It is now half-past 5 o'clock in the morning. The moon has gone down, and it is that darkest hour which is said to precede the dawn. My troops have been up since three o'clock busily engaged making preparation for the day's work. Judging from the almost continuous whistling of the cars off beyond Mission Ridge, the rebels have an intimation of the attack to be made, and are busy either bringing reinforcements or preparing to evacuate.

Noon. There has been a hitch in affairs, and I am still in my tent at the old place.

About 2 P. M. a division or more was sent out to reconnoiter the enemy's front. The movement resulted in a sharp fight, which lasted until after sunset. Both artillery and infantry were engaged. As night grew on we could see the flash of the enemy's guns all along the crest of Mission Ridge, and then hear the report, and the prolonged reverberations as the sound went crashing among ridges, hills, and mountains. Rumor says that our troops captured five hundred prisoners.

November, 24

Moved to Caldwell's, four miles up the river. A pontoon bridge was thrown across the stream; but there were many troops in advance of us, and my brigade did not reach the south side until after one o'clock. Our division was held in reserve; so we stacked arms and lay upon the grass midway between the river and the foot of Mission Ridge, and listened [358] to the preliminary music of the guns as the National line was being adjusted for to-morrow's battle.

November, 25

During the day, as we listened to the roar of the conflict, I thought I detected in the management what I had never discovered before on the battle-field, a little common sense. Dash is handsome, genius glorious; but modest, old-fashioned, practical, everyday sense is the trump, after all, and the only thing one can securely rely upon for permanent success in any line, either civil or military. This element evidently dominated in this battle. The struggle along Mission Ridge seemed more like a series of independent battles than one grand conflict. There were few times during the day when the engagement appeared to be heavy and continuous along the whole line. There certainly was not an extended and unceasing roll, as at Chickamauga and Stone river, but rather a succession of heavy blows. Now it would thunder furiously on the extreme right; then the left would take up the sledge, and finally the center would begin to pound; and so the National giant appeared to skip from point to point along the ridge, striking rapid and thundering blows here and there, as if seeking the weak place in his antagonist's armor. The enemy, thoroughly bewildered, finally became most fearful of Sherman, who was raising a perfect pandemonium on his flank, and so strengthened his right at the expense of other portions of his line, when Thomas struck him in the center, and he abandoned the field. The loss must be comparatively small, but [359] the victory is all the more glorious for this very reason.

November, 26

At one o'clock in the morning we crossed the Chickamauga in pursuit of the retreating enemy. The First Brigade of our division having the lead, I had nothing to do but follow it. At Chickamauga depot we came in sight of the rebels, and formed line of battle to attack; but they retired, leaving the warehouses containing their supplies in flames. At 3 P. M. my brigade was ordered to head the column, and we drove the enemy's rear guard before us without meeting with any serious opposition until night-fall, when, on arriving at Mrs. Sheppard's spring branch, near Graysville, a brigade of Confederate troops, with a battery, under command of Brigadier-General Manny, opened on us with considerable violence. A sharp encounter ensued of about an hour's duration, resulting in the defeat of the enemy and the wounding of the rebel general. My brigade behaved well, did most of the fighting, and, owing to the darkness, probably, sustained but little loss. When General Davis came up I asked permission to make a detour through the woods to the right, for the purpose of overtaking and cutting off the enemy's train; but he thought it not advisable to attempt it. [360]

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