A rebel review of General Bragg's campaign.
North--Georgia, October, 1863.The following resume of the late operations of the army of the Tennessee may possess sufficient interest to the country to ask its publication: It may be remembered that, in consequence of a flank movement on the right, and the threatened danger to its communications, toward the last of June, the army of Tennessee was put in retreat from Shelbyville and Tullahoma on or toward Chattanooga. The retreat was effected with slight or inconsiderable loss in men or transportation, and Chattanooga was occupied during the days of the first week of July. Polk's corps, except Anderson's brigade, of Withers's division, which was ordered to Bridgeport, where the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad crosses the Tennessee River, for purposes of observation, was retained in and around Chattanooga, and Hardee's corps was distributed along the line of the Knoxville Railroad, with Tyner's Station as the centre, General Bragg establishing the army headquarters at Chattanooga. The work of fortifying was begun and prosecuted for some weeks, during which the army seemed to await the development of the enemy's plans, and at the end of which we had two guns in position. Beyond reconnoissances in some force at Bridgeport and the mouth of battle Creek, the enemy made no demonstration until he twenty-first of August, when he succeeded in covering the town of Chattanooga with his artillery from the heights overlooking the Tennessee River and the town. This bombardment of our position, which was intended as a demoralizing coup de main, had the more pregnant significance of an inchoate announcement that the enemy's plans were completed, and were about being put in active operation. The effect of the bombardment was the official evacuation of the place to points beyond range outside, and the withdrawal of stores to points of convenience on the railroad to the rear, and the withdrawal of Anderson's brigade from Bridge-port. On the twenty-sixty or twenty-seventh of  August, or some five or six days after the surprise of Chattanooga, Burnside's advance into East-Tennessee was announced by the presence of his cavalry in the vicinity of Knoxville, and Major-General Buckner received orders to evacuate Knoxville, and occupy Loudon. In consequence of a demonstration, it is said, by a portion of Rosecrans's army at Blythe's Ferry, on the Tennessee River, opposite the mouth of the Hiawassee, he was ordered to fall back from Loudon to Charleston, and soon after to the vicinity of Chattanooga. Pending these movements above, which were to give East-Tennessee to the Federals, not only for occupation, but for cooperation with Rosecrans in his designs upon Chattanooga and the Army of Tennessee, Rosecrans was not idle below. On Tuesday morning, September the first, citizens living near Caperton's Ferry reported that the enemy was crossing the Tennessee. River in force at that point, (Caperton's Ferry;) that on Saturday, the twenty-ninth of August, three days before, a Federal cavalry force had forded the river at some shallows above to the south side, had proceeded down the river to Caperton's, and in conjunction with another force, appearing contemporaneously on the opposite shore, had thrown a pontoon bridge across the river; and that the enemy commenced immediately to cross in force, and had been crossing for three days, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and were moving across Sand Mountain, in the direction of Wills's Valley and Trenton. This story, regarded at army headquarters as incredible, was soon after confirmed by reports of the occupation of Trenton by the enemy's cavalry, and its advance up the Wills's Valley railroad, in the direction of Chattanooga, as far as Wauhatchie, within seven miles, as a covering force to the advance of its infantry columns on Trenton. In order to understand this movement of Rosecrans, and subsequent operations, a topographical coup d'oeil is necessary. Chattanooga is situated on the Tennessee River, at the mouth of the Chattanooga Valley — a valley following the course of the Chattanooga Creek, and formed by Lookout Mountain and Mission Ridge. East of Mission Ridge, and running parallel with it, is another valley — Chickamauga Valley-following the course of Chickamauga Creek, which, with the Chattanooga Creek, discharges its waters into the Tennessee River — the first above, and the last below the town of Chattanooga, and has with it a common source in McLemore's Cove — the common head of both valleys, and formed by Lookout Mountain on the west, and Pigeon Mountain to the east. Wills's Valley is a narrow valley lying to the west of Chattanooga, formed by Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain, and traversed by a railroad, which takes its name from the valley, and which, branching from the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, where the latter crosses the valley, has its present terminus at Trenton, and future at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The distance of Bridgeport from Chattanooga is twenty-eight miles, of Caperton's Ferry about forty, and of Trenton something over twenty. Ringgold is eighteen miles from Chattanooga on the Georgia State road, and Dalton some forty, at the point where the Georgia State road connects with the East-Tennessee Railroad. Rome is sixty-five miles south-west of Chattanooga, on the Coosa River, at the point of confluence of the Etawah and Estanalsh. The wagon-road from Chattanooga to Rome, known as the Lafayette Road, crosses Mission Ridge into Chickamauga Valley at Rossville, and, proceeding in a south-westerly direction, crosses Chickamauga Creek, eleven miles from Chattanooga, at Lee and Gordon's Mills, and, passing to the east of Pigeon Mountain, goes through Lafayette, distant some twenty-two miles from Chattanooga, and Summerville within twenty-five miles of Rome. From Caperton's Ferry there is a road leading over Sand Mountain into Wills's Valley at Trenton, and from Trenton to Lafayette and Dalton, over Lookout Mountain, through Coopers's and Stevens's Gaps, into McLemore's Cove, and over Pigeon Mountain by Plug Gap. The road from Trenton, following Wills's Valley, exposed, by easy communications, Rome, and, through it, Western Georgia and Eastern Alabama, with easy access to the important central positions, Atlanta and Selma. The General Commanding, believing a flanking movement to be the purpose of the enemy in his movement on the left, ordered Lieutenant-General Hill, on Monday, September seventh, to move with his corps toward Lafayette, and General Polk to Lee and Gordon's Mills, and Major-General Buckner, with the Army of East-Tennessee, and Major-General Walker, with his division from the Army of Mississippi, to concentrate at Lafayette, and Brigadier-General Pegram to cover the railroad with his cavalry. These dispositions having been made of the confederate forces, Major-General Crittenden, commanding the left wing of Rosecrans's army, which had not moved with the right and centre, but had been left in the Sequatchie Valley, crossed the Tennessee River at the mouth of Battle Creek, and moved upon Chattanooga. Major-General McCook, commanding the right wing, was thrown forward to threaten Rome, and the corps of Major-General Thomas was put in motion over Lookout Mountain, in the direction of Lafayette. It will be perceived, from this distribution of the forces of both armies, that Rosecrans exposed himself in the hands of an adversary of capacity and vigor to the hazard of quick and certain destruction. The centre corps, under Thomas, being in McLemore's Cove, immediately opposite Lafayette, at and near which General Bragg had all his forces concentrated, was completely at the mercy of the latter. It was only necessary that General Bragg should fall upon it with such a mass as would have crushed it; then turn down Chattanooga Valley, thrown himself between the town and Crittenden, and crushed him; then passed back between Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee River into  Wills's Valley, and cut off McCook's retreat to Bridgeport; thence moved along the Cumberland range into the rear of Burnside, and disposed of him. This campaign, which was so obvious to parties engaged in the general movements, and which was so feasible, would have gone far toward ending the war, and have added fresh lustre to our arms. But it was not perceived and acted upon by the mind directing the army. It is true that a force was thrown forward into McLemore's Cove, but the movement was inadequate, and by no means equal to the magnitude or the consequences suspended on its success. Various causes have been assigned for its failure; but among the best informed, it is set down to the score of the limited scale on which it was planned. The movement upon Thomas, in McLemore's Cove, having failed, he having effected his escape up the mountain, the whole of the troops of Bragg were withdrawn to Lafayette. On their withdrawal, Rosecrans, who, by this time, had discovered Bragg's whereabouts, recalled McCook into Will's Valley, and ordered him to follow Thomas, who was again put in motion over the mountain into the cove. The two corps were thus concentrated on the east side of Lookout Mountain, in thirty-six hours after Bragg left it. In the mean time, Crittenden, who reached Chattanooga, and, finding no enemy there, did not stop to occupy and fortify it, but, strong in the general feeling of the Northern army, that the confederates were thoroughly demoralized, and would not fight, moved on toward Ringgold, to cut off Buckner, who was understood to be moving to the support of Bragg. On reaching the point on the Georgia Railroad at which Buckner crossed, he discovered he was too late, and turned toward Lafayette to follow him. He moved up the Chickamauga on its east side, in the direction of Lafayette, and was confronted by the cavalry under Generals Pegram and Armstrong. After skirmishes with them, in which there were some brilliant dashes on the part of our cavalry, the latter retired slowly before the enemy, falling back toward Lafayette. To meet this movement, General Bragg ordered a force of two divisions under Lieutenant-General Polk, to move to the front. These divisions, Cheatham's and Walker's, were put in motion, and were in line of battle before daylight, covering the three roads on which the enemy's three divisions were marching. Hindman came up after daylight, and Buckner was thrown forward as a supporting force to guard Polk's left against Thomas and McCook, in the cove. Crittenden finding himself confronted, declined battle, and retired during the night, falling back on the Chickamauga, which he crossed at Lee and Gordon's Mills. This placed the whole of Rosecrans's three corps on the east side of the Chickamauga and in easy supporting distance. Now was presented once more a magnificent opportunity for the confederate General. There was no longer a doubt as to the position of the forces of the enemy. His whole army, with the exception of Granger, was before him. It was distributed from the head of McLemore's Cove, along and down the west side of the Chickamauga Valley, as far as Lee and Gordon's Mills, Chickamauga Creek separating it from the army of the confederates. A strong demonstration on the creek was all that was necessary to cover the proper movement. That movement was to march his whole army rapidly by the right flank, down as low as Reed's bridge and the contiguous fords, and at that point to throw it across the creek and valley, forming it at right angles to the Lafayette and Chattanooga road, and so covering the exit from the valley in the direction of Chattanooga. This movement would have been met by that of the Virginia troops landing from the railroad at Ringgold, and would have effectually blocked the Yankee army up in McLemore's Cove, cut it off from Chattanooga, and placed it at the mercy of the confederates. But the point was not seen. It was beyond the limited range of the usual strategic combinations of the confederate chief, and while he ordered a demonstration on the enemy's lines at Gordon's Mills, he failed to grasp the whole of the situation. Instead of throwing his whole army in a body across the Chickamauga and far down, he moved it by divisions and crossed it at several fords and bridges north of Gordon's Mills, up to which he ordered the Virginia troops which had crossed many miles below, and near to which he attempted to concentrate about half of his army. This was on Saturday, the nineteenth. While he was engaged in discussing the precise position of the enemy, the latter relieved his embarrassment by an attack on Major-General Walker's corps. This attack was made with great vigor, and was sustained by the gallant men who compose that division in a style in keeping with their former reputation for the highest soldierly qualities. The attack was made simultaneously on front and flank by a part of Thomas's corps and Palmer's division of Crittenden's corps. In meeting the attack, the brigades of Walthall and Govan, under the command of Brigadier-General Liddell, commanding division, eminently distinguished themselves. The division of Major-General Cheatham was moved to the support of Walker, and was taken into the fight most opportunely; for while the greatly superior force by which Walker was attacked was not only held in check, but driven, at the outset — Walker running over several of the enemy's batteries-yet the strong reenforcements that came up caused Walker to hail Cheatham's approach as a seasonable relief. This veteran division, under its well-tried and skilful leader, threw itself upon the enemy's line, with its usual weight and force, capturing many of the enemy's guns, and driving him back, until he was met by heavy reenforcements. The enemy here crowded his troops down upon his left, and the fight became one of great desperation, being sustained by the enemy with the whole of Thomas's corps. The strength of his force being great enough to  outflank Cheatham, he lapped around him on both right and left, and although his advance was met with heroic firmness, yet being so greatly outnumbered, he was compelled to fall back. This was not accomplished, however, until fearful sacrifices had been experienced, and no help was seen to be at hand. His line was maintained until the enemy, by a rapid flank movement on his left, had pushed close upon the battery of the gallant Captain Carness, and slain most of its horses and men. The heavy loss in horses rendered it impossible to withdraw the guns, and they were therefore abandoned to the enemy. The division of Major-General Cleburn, of Lieutenant-General Hill's corps, which had held Lee and Gordon's Mills during the day, now came to Cheatham's support. It moved to the attack with its usual energy, and rolled back the tide of battle which was pressing with such weight on Cheatham's right. The fire with which it opened was terrific, and soon afforded relief to Cheatham, who, with the elasticity which belongs to that veteran division, resumed immediately the forward movement, uniting with Cleburn, and pressing the retiring lines of the enemy. This fight was continued until night, and it was just before the close that the gallant officer, Brigadier-General Preston Smith, with one or more of his Aids-de-Camp, fell under one of the volleys of the enemy's musketry. The division of Major-General Hood and the corps of Major-General Buckner were prominently engaged in the operations of the day, and bore themselves most gallantly. At the close of the day's work, the General Commanding issued an order, dividing the forces of his army into two wings. The right wing was placed under Lieutenant-General Polk, and the left under Lieutenant-General Longstreet. The former was composed of Lieutenant-General Hill's corps, of two divisions, Major-General Cleburn's and Major-General Breckinridge's; of the division of Major-General Cheatham, of Lieutenant-General Polk's corps, and the division of Major-General W. H. T. Walker. The left was composed of the divisions of Major-General Stewart, Brigadier-Generals Preston and Bushrod Johnson, of Major-General Buckner's corps; Major-General Hindman, of Lieutenant-General Polk's corps, and Benning's, Lane's, and Robertson's brigades, of Hood's division, and Kershaw's and Humphries's brigade, of McLaw's division, of his own (lieutenant-General Longstreets') corps. The front line of the right wing consisted of three divisions — Breckinridge and Cleburn, of Hill's corps, and Cheatham, of Polk's corps — which were posted from right to left in the order named. Major-General Walker was here in reserve. The left wing was composed of Major-General Stewart's division on the right, with Hood's on the left. On Hood's left was Hindman's division of Lieutenant-General Polk's corps, with Preston's division of Buckner's corps on the extreme left. Orders were given to the Lieutenant-General commanding the right wing to attack at daylight next morning. These orders were immediately issued by him to his subordinate commanders, but, owing to circumstances beyond his control, the attack was not made until nine o'clock. Prior to giving the order to move forward to the attack, General Polk discovered that, owing to the want of precaution on the part of the proper authority in the formation of the general line of battle, a portion of the line of the left wing had been formed in front of his line, a portion amounting to a whole division, and that had the order to make the attack at daylight been obeyed, this division, from its position, must inevitably have been slaughtered. It was saved by an order to halt Cheatham's division, and by orders to the left of Cleburn, advising it of its whereabouts. The battle then opened by a forward movement of Breckinridge, followed and accompanied by Cleburn. The enemy had, during the night, thrown up breastworks of heavy timber, cut down from the forest, behind which he had intrenched himself. These lay chiefly in Cleburn's front. He moved directly upon them, while Breckinridge swung round to flank them. The assault was a desperate one. General Polk being informed by General Hill that the enemy was threatening his right flank. Polk ordered Walker immediately to move to the right and form an echelon upon Breckinridge, overlapping his right. It was then ascertained that no enemy was there. But the forward movement of the front line had resulted in a severe conflict, desperately contested, which drove the enemy around on the extreme left a mile or more across the Chattanooga road. In this conflict those gallant officers, Brigadier-Generals Deshler and Helm were killed, and Brigadier-General Daniel Adams was severely wounded and taken prisoner. Heavy reenforcements being sent from the enemy's right to support his left, he was enabled to regain a portion of the ground he had lost. Cleburn's division, which had encountered the enemy behind his breastworks, after a firm onset and most gallant assault, was driven back with heavy loss. This veteran division returned slowly and in good order to a position just beyond the range of the guns in the enemy's works, which they occupied and held, Information of this fact having been communicated by General Sill to General Polk, the latter ordered Cheatham to replace Cleburn in the general line, and while this movement was being effected, another message from General Hill was received by General Polk, informing him that his right was again threatened, and he wanted support. General Polk examined the position of Cleburn, and finding he could hold it if he could not advance, moved Cheatham rapidly by the right flank to the extreme right to meet the reported movement of the  enemy, which was ascertained to be one of the divisions of Granger's corps, approaching from Chattanooga, and was moving toward the centre, where Cleburn had made his attack. The whole line was then revised and posted, and a forward movement in all its length ordered. The right swung round with an extended sweep, with its firm supports, and the left rallied once more to the charge of the works, before which it had suffered so severely in the morning. Never did troops move up to their work with more resolution; the daring Breckinridge with his Kentuckians and Louisianians, and Cleburn with his Arkansians and Alabamians, and Walker with his South-Carolinians, Mississippians, and Georgians, and Cheatham with his Tennesseeans, all moved forward in one mighty tide, amidst the thunders of some twenty batteries and the roar of thousands of muskets and rifles. The scene was one of surpassing sublimity and grandeur. Sweeping forward as the flood of a mighty river, it carried every thing before it, nothing being able to stand before it in the resistless line of its path. The enemy's works, which opposed such a stubborn resistance in the morning, succumbed before the onmoving torrent, and the brave men of Cleburn's division, which had been repulsed in the morning, had, by their extraordinary gallantry in the evening, the opportunity of avenging the experiences of the earlier part of the day. The whole field was carried triumphantly, and the enemy driven as chaff before the wind. He withstood as long as human powers of endurance could bear up against such a pressure, then yielded and fell back partly upon and into the hands of the right wing, where several hundred were captured, the residue crossing the Chattanooga road, and retreating in the direction of Mission Ridge. Night interposed, and though it brought with it a magnificent moon, no orders were received to pursue, and the troops were halted, giving expression to their sense of the glorious victory won, and unconquerable desire to pursue it to an absolute success in the enemy's utter annihilation, in such long, loud, and triumphant cheering, as would almost seem to rend the heavens. Such cheering has never been heard at the close of any battle, since the war began. Such were the operations on the right wing. The battle beginning on the right, its tide ran from right to left, and reached Longstreet's extreme left about eleven o'clock, and was availed of and directed by that eminent chief — who very much resembles the Duke of Wellington in the aspects, moral and intellectual, of his character, as he has resembled him in the fortune of a uniform success — in a manner as prompt and energetic as it was wise and skilful. While Hood and others were ordered by him to make a vigorous assault in front, Buckner was made to execute a successful flank movement, the joint effect of which was to force the Federals to abandon that part of the field, and to seek a position on a high ridge. From this position they were driven, with heavy loss in killed, wounded, prisoners, artillery, small-arms, and colors, after a desperate struggle, by the brigades of Kershaw and Humphries, under the command of Brigadier-General Kershaw, in the absence of Major-General McLaws, reenforced by Gracise's, Kelley's, and Trigg's brigades, of Major-General Preston's division, Major-General Hindman completing the general work of the line on the left, by driving the enemy on his front before him, along with those driven from the ridge by Preston and Kershaw. Rosecrans, perceiving what was taking place on his right, ordered up reenforcements from his left, to support his retiring, or, rather, frightened battalions, which, finding a good position, waited for their arrival, turning upon their pursuers with the fierceness of a temporary and desperate energy. Brigadier-General Law, commanding Hood's division, perceiving this movement, ordered a battery of ten guns to a position from which he could enfilade the reenforcing column as it advanced. The battery opened just as it was about wheeling into position, and, at the same time, Stewart's division, posted on the extreme right, was thrown forward on its flank. These movements, made contemporaneously with the movements of Polk's wing, as mentioned above, led to the almost simultaneous rout of the whole Federal army, and ensued in the glorious victory described, one of the most absolute and decisive of the war. From this moment, panic, confusion, disorder became the condition of an army which had never before acknowledged defeat, and which for two days had been contesting every inch of ground with valor the most obstinate. And what did the confederate commander do? Did he pursue an enemy thus demoralized, and furnished, by his not forming his line of battle at right angles with his actual line, with opportunity of retreat upon Chattanooga, whose possession was the object of the campaign — an enemy not only demoralized, but encumbered with heavy trains, and no mode of exit save through two gaps of Mission Ridge, a mountain? No. Night had set in, and he deemed it prudent to halt, notwithstanding his men were eager for pursuit, and a brilliant moon furnished almost the light of day. Three hours were lost in the morning by Polk's failure to attack at daylight; and, therefore, the condition of the troops was such as to forbid the possibility of pursuit. But granting that reasons, substantive reasons, existed for not pursuing on Sunday night, what hindered the Commander-in-Chief from pursuing on Monday morning at daylight? Chattanooga was only ten miles from the battle-field, and, unfortified, our pursuing cavalry could see the head of their column, and urged General Bragg by repeated messages to pursue, that every hour's delay would be equal to the loss of a thousand men. Citizens along the road reported that many of their commands passed their dwellings in the utmost disorder, without arms or accoutrements, and many without hats, as a confused and routed mob, not as troops in column, every thing in Chattanooga and on the  road inviting rather than forbidding attack. Even if they had good defensive works, with the condition as reported above, by a prompt pursuit our army would have gone into Chattanooga with theirs, and thus broken the effect of their fire; and if such would have been the result of good defensive works, what might not the result have been without them, and the enemy panicstricken because of the knowledge that none such existed? What hindered him from pursuing is not known, but it is known that while pursuit seems to have been invited, he did not pursue, and not pursuing, what did he do on Monday morning? He first sent out detachments to the battle-field to gather up the fruits of victory, in arms, large and small, to be secured and sent to the rear, and caused the captured banners to be collected to be sent to Richmond, and prisoners to be counted and sent to the rear. He then ordered the troops under arms, and marched them down the Chattanooga road until they came near to Rossville, where Forrest and Pegram were thundering away with their batteries at the retreating enemy, there had them filed to the right, and thrown down the Chickamauga Creek, that they might rest from their fatigues and be in good position to move upon Burnside or flank Rosecrans, as future contingencies might dictate. There the troops halted from Monday until Wednesday morning; the enemy, in the mean time, working like beavers, and fortifying night and day with all their might. On Tuesday night an order was issued for the whole army to move upon Chattanooga at six o'clock the next morning, Wednesday, twenty-third September. The army moved up to and over Mission Ridge, where it was halted, and where it remains halted to this day, the twenty-eighth October! That the campaign, so far, is a failure, and the battle of Chickamauga, though a victory, is not a success, are propositions too plain for denial. We have not recovered Chattanooga as yet, much less Tennessee, and it may be well for the country to inquire whether the fault lies with a subordinate officer, or is to be traced to the inefficiency and incompetency of one higher in rank, one who is presumed intellectually to direct the operations of the army of Tennessee.
To the Editor of the Whig:
To the Editor of the Whig: