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Doc. 43.-operations in Tennessee Valley.

Major-General Hazen's report.1

headquarters Second brigade, Second division, Twenty-First army corps, Chattanooga, Oct. 8, 1863.
Lieutenant-Colonel C. Goddard, A. A. General, Headquarters Dept. Cumb.:
In obedience to orders received at Poe's Tavern, September third, 1863, from Headquarters of the Department, I assumed command of all the troops in the Tennessee Valley, embracing Wagner's and my own brigade of infantry, Minty's brigade of cavalry, and Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry — in all between six and seven thousand men — with orders to keep these forces well in hand, to closely watch the movements of the enemy at all the crossings of the Tennessee River, make such dispositions of the force as should lead the enemy to believe that the valley was occupied by a large force, and to cross ourselves and occupy Chattanooga at the earliest opportunity.

The forces were scattered from Kingston to William's Island, a distance of seventy miles, watching the entire line of the river for this distance, and guarding at least at twenty ferries and fords.

I at once visited, in person, the entire length of the line, making such dispositions as I thought best for carrying out the design of the command, withdrawing as much as possible the left of the line, and giving orders for the construction of boats in the North Chickamauga, to be floated down and used for crossing, when needed, at the mouth of that stream.

Troops were made to appear simultaneously at three or four different crossings, and, by ingeniously arranging their camp-fires and beating their calls, and the dexterous use of artillery, were made to represent a division of troops at each place.

The object desired was fully obtained.

I also placed all heavy stores on Waldon's Ridge, and, as the enemy threatened to cross his cavalry in heavy force, made preparations to receive him, and, failing to destroy him, to drive him up the valley beyond Pikeville, where he could be met by General Burnside.

A battery and two regiments of infantry were placed opposite Chattanooga, and the enemy at that point annoyed and two of his boats disabled. I also established communication, by signal, between all the crossings near me and my headquarters.

On the second, the enemy burned the Loudon Bridge, and Buckner's corps commenced moving slowly down the river, making strong demonstration upon its banks, as if to cross, at several places. They moved on Tyner's Station, reaching that point on the sixth and seventh, followed by a heavy cavalry force, that took the place of the infantry on the river as they were relieved, and, from their numbers, Colonel Minty reported that indication made it pretty certain that a crossing was about to be attempted.

At the same time, the pontoon bridge of the enemy was moored at Chattanooga, as if to cross over troops at that point.

All the crossings were closely watched, and the troops held in readiness for any movement. On the eighth, the river was cleared of all rebel troops above Chickamauga, and I directed Minty to cross over at the mouth of Sale Creek, reconnoitring the country well in his front, and move cautiously down to Harrison, always controlling one of the fords neat him, so as to cross back if it should be found necessary.

Before the order could be obeyed, a heavy cavalry force confronted him on the opposite side of the river, and the crossing was not attempted. On that night, however, they all retired from above Frior's Island, and at eleven A. M., on the ninth, from their works opposite that island.

The city of Chattanooga was also evacuated the same morning, and the troops of General [517] Wagner crossed over and occupied the city, a portion of Wilder's force crossing at Frior's Island, reconnoitring thoroughly the country opposite and towards Chattanooga.

Colonel Minty was at once ordered down to cross and report to Colonel Wilder, while all the troops not already over were, on the night of the ninth, concentrated at Frior's Island, and on the morning of the tenth crossed by fording, which was accomplished within the space of six hours, without loss of life or material.

The boats, although completed, were not required. I found in the Tennessee Valley an abundance of subsistence for my troops, and brought out of it seventy beeves for the army.

The casualties in all these operations were, two killed, one drowned,and five or six wounded. Several hundred prisoners and deserters were sent to the rear.

I have earnestly to commend to the attention of the Government the services of Colonels Wilder and Minty, commanding cavalry brigades.

I am, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

W. B. Hazen, Brigadier-General.

1 see Brown's Ferry, Georgia.

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