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Lookout Mountain, battle on

Gen. W. T. Sherman arrived near Chattanooga

Top of Lookout Mountain, sunrise, November 25, 1863.

late in November, 1863. It was important to get his army over the river without being discovered. To attract the chief attention of the Confederates in another quarter, Hooker was ordered to attack them on the northern face of Lookout Mountain. His entire force consisted of nearly 10,000 men. The main Confederate force was encamped in a hollow half-way up the mountain, and the summit was held by several brigades. Their pickets held a continuous line along Lookout Creek, with reserves in the valley. Hooker moved to the attack on the morning of Nov. 24. Geary, supported by Cruft, marched to Wauhatchie and crossed Lookout Creek there, while the rest of the troops crossed in front of the Confederates on temporary bridges. A heavy mist enveloped mountain and plain. Geary crossed at eight o'clock, seized a picket-guard of forty men, and extended his line to the foot of the mountain. Gross's brigade seized the bridge below the railway crossing, and T. J. Wood's brigade crossed half a mile above. Two [476] batteries had been planted on a hill near, and by eleven o'clock Hooker was endeavoring to drive the Confederates from the mountain. His adversary in immediate

Confederate battery on the top of Lookout Mountain.

command before him was General Walthall. Hooker's guns all opened at once on the breastworks and rifle-pits along the steep wooded acclivity. The brigades just mentioned formed a junction, and, sweeping everything before them, captured the rifle-pits, allowing but few men to escape up the mountain. At the same time the troops scaled the rugged heights, cutting their way through felled trees, and driving the Confederates from the hollow to a plateau well up towards the crest and forcing them around towards the Chattanooga Valley. At the same time Freeland's brigade was rolling them up on the flank. The struggle on the mountain-sides, in a dense fog (or, rather, a cumulus cloud) that hid the combatants from view, was fierce. It was, literally, a “battle in the clouds.” At considerably past noon the plateau was cleared, and the Confederates were flying in confusion down the precipitous ravines and rugged slopes towards the Chattanooga Valley. All the morning, while the battle was raging, so thick was the cloud on the mountain that only at intervals could the straining eyes of spectators at Chattanooga and on Orchard Knob, listening to the thunders of the artillery, catch a glimpse of the lines and banners. Hooker established his line on the easterly face of the mountain; so that, by an enfilading fire, he completely commanded the Confederate defences, stretching across the Chattanooga Valley to Missionary Ridge. A National battery on Moccasin Point, 1,500 feet below the [477] crest of Lookout Mountain, had dismounted a gun in a battery on that crest.

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Thomas Hooker (5)
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William Tecumseh Sherman (1)
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