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Chapter 27:

  • General Joseph E. Johnston's prophecy of the fate of Tennessee.
  • -- character and extraordinary foresight of this commander. -- how Tennessee was sacrificed to the attempted defence of Vicksburg. -- Bragg's army flanked at Hoover's Gap. -- it commences a retreat to Chattanooga. -- expedition of John Morgan. -- how it affected the Western campaign and embarrassed Burnside. -- Morgan's circuit through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. -- what he accomplished. -- his anxiety for retreat. -- cut off on the Ohio River. -- terrible scenes in the attempt to swim the River. -- capture of Morgan and the bulk of his command. -- cruel and infamous treatment of the distinguished captive and his officers. -- surrender of Cumberland Gap. -- President Davis' commentary on this event. -- recoil of serious charges upon the Richmond administration. -- Burnside's invasion of East Tennessee. -- Gen. Frazier in command at Cumberland Gap. -- his correspondence with Gen. Buckner. -- the defences of the Gap imperfect. -- insufficiency of the garrison. -- why Gen. Frazier surrendered it. -- two lines of operations now opened against Chattanooga. -- the battle of Chickamauga. -- Topography of the country around Chattanooga. -- movements of Rosecrans.--e threatens a flank movement towards Rome. -- the Confederates evacuate Chattanooga. -- Bragg's new line from Lee's and Gordon's Mills to Lafayette. -- Longstreet's corps on the way from Virginia to reinforce him. -- Rosecrans pursues the Confederates, and exposes himself in detail. -- the lost opportunity in McLenore's Cove. -- lines of Rosecrans' advance. -- Bragg resolves to advance and attack him. -- arrival of Longstreet with five brigades. -- the enemy anticipates a flank movement by Bragg. -- a severe encounter. -- Cleburne's gallant charge. -- the Confederate plan of battle for the next day. -- Gen. Polk to open the action. -- a strange delay. -- a singular breakfast scene. -- Gen. Bragg furious. -- the Confederate right wing beaten back. -- critical condition of the field. -- Longstreet's attack. -- he saves the day. -- the enemy utterly routed. -- Chickamauga a brilliant but unproductive victory

There was no Confederate commander so remarkable for long foresight and for the most exact fulfilment of prophetic words as Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. He was more profound than Lee; his mind could range over larger fields; at all times of the war his cool, sedate judgments were so in opposition to the intoxicated senses of the Confederate people, that he was [440] rather unpopular than otherwise, and rested his reputation on the appreciative and intelligent, who steadily marked him as the military genius of the Confederacy. It remained for the sequel to justify the reputation of this greatest military man in the Confederacy, who, cooler even than Lee himself, without ardour, made up almost exclusively of intellect, saw more clearly than any other single person each approaching shadow of the war, and prophesied, with calm courage, against the madness of the Administration at Richmond and the extravagant vanity of the people.

When the Vicksburg campaign was decided upon at Richmond, Gen. Johnston then warned the authorities there that they should make choice between Mississippi and Tennessee; and in urging the retention of the latter State, he declared, with singular felicity of expression, that it was “the shield of the South.” In six weeks after the battle of Murfreesboro, our army in Tennessee was as strong as when it fought that battle, and, with ordinary generalship, might have driven Rosecrans from the State. But when Stevenson's division was sent to the lines of the Mississippi, Johnston saw the errour; he sent to Richmond a protest against it, which he thought of such historical importance as to duplicate and to copy carefully among his private memoranda; and he then predicted that the Richmond Administration, in trying to hold the Mississippi River and Tennessee, would lose both, and that the enemy, once pressing the northern frontier of Georgia, would obtain a position that would eventually prove the critical one of the war.

With his forces reduced for the defence of Vicksburg, Gen. Bragg insisted upon regarding his army in Tennessee as one merely of observation. Rosecrans was in his front, and Burnside, who commanded what was called the Army of the Cumberland, was in a position, by an advance towards Knoxville, to threaten his rear. In July, Gen. Bragg occupied a ridge extending from Bellbuckle towards Bradyville, very strong by nature on the right and made strong by fortifications on the left, in front of Shelbyville. An injudicious disposition of forces left Hoover's Gap undefended by our army. Rosecrans advanced upon Hoover's Gap. Three brigades of Confederates moved rapidly up, and held them in the Gap over forty hours. This position gained placed Rosecrans on Bragg's flank, who, to save his army, commenced a retreat, which was eventually continued to Chattanooga.

Expedition of John Morgan.

As part of the general plan of action in the West, and an important contribution to the success of Gen. Bragg's retreat, we must notice here a remarkable expedition of the famous cavalier, Gen. John Morgan, the [441] effect of which, although its immediate event was disaster, was to create an important diversion of Burnside's army, large detachments of which were drawn after Morgan into and through Kentucky, and to prevent that Federal commander from getting in rear of Bragg's army at the time it was menaced in front by Rosecrans, at Shelbyville.

In the latter part of the month of June the command of Gen. Morgan, consisting of detachments from two brigades, and numbering nearly three thousand men, approached the banks of the Cumberland. The passage of the river was weakly contested by three Ohio regiments, which had advanced from Somerset, Kentucky. Gen. Morgan was obliged to build a number of boats, and commenced crossing the river on the 1st July. By ten o'clock next morning his whole regiment was over the river; the advance proceeding to Columbia, where, after a brief engagement, the enemy was driven through the town.

Passing through Columbia, Gen. Morgan proceeded towards Green River Bridge, and attacked the enemy's stockade there with two regiments, sending the remainder of his force across at another ford. The place was judiciously chosen and skilfully defended; and the result was that the Confederates were repulsed with severe loss — about twenty-five killed and twenty wounded.

At sunrise on the 4th July, Gen. Morgan moved on Lebanon. The Federal commander here-Col. Hanson-made a desperate resistance; placing his forces in the depot and in various houses, and only surrendering after the Confederates had fired the buildings in which he was posted. About six hundred prisoners were taken here, and a sufficient quantity of guns to arm all of Morgan's men who were without them.

Rapid marches brought Morgan to Bradensburg on the 7th July; and the next day he crossed the Ohio, keeping in check two gunboats, and dispersing a force of militia posted with artillery on the Indiana shore. When the pursuing column of the enemy, which had increased now to seven regiments and two pieces of artillery, reached the banks of the river, it was to find the passenger boat on which Gen. Morgan had effected a crossing in flames, and to see far back on the opposite shore the rear-guard of his force rapidly disappearing in the distance.

On the 9th July Morgan marched on to Corydon, fighting near four thousand State militia, capturing three-fourths of them, and dispersing the remainder. He then moved without a halt through Salisbury and Palmyra to Salem, where he destroyed the railroad bridge and track and a vast amount of public stores. Then taking the road to Lexington, after riding all night, he reached that point at daylight, capturing a number of supplies, and destroying during the night the depot and track at Vienna, on the Jeffersonville and Indianapolis Railroad. Leaving Lexington, he passed on north to the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad near Vernon, where, [442] finding Gen. Manson with a heavy force of infantry, he skirmished with him two hours as a feint, while the main command moved round the town to Dupont, where squads were sent out to cut the roads between Vernon and Seymour on the west, Vernon and Lawrenceburg on the east, Vernon and Madison on the south, and Vernon and Columbus on the north.

From Vernon Gen. Morgan proceeded to Versailles, capturing five hundred militia there and gathering on the road. From Versailles he moved without interruption across to Harrison, Ohio, destroying the track and burning small bridges on the Lawrenceburg and Indianapolis Railroad. At Harrison he burned a fine bridge. Leaving Harrison at dusk, he moved around Cincinnati, passing between that city and Hamilton, destroying the railroad, and a scout running the Federal pickets into the city, the whole command marched within seven miles of it. Daylight of the 14th found him eighteen miles east of Cincinnati.

The adventurous commander had now performed a wonderful circuit; he had traversed two enormous States, destroying property, probably to the extent of ten millions of dollars; he had cut an entire net of railroads; he had paroled nearly six thousand prisoners, and thrown several millions of people into frantic consternation. He had done his work, and the anxiety now was to escape. It was no easy matter. The country had been aroused, and it was reported that twenty-five thousand men were under arms to pursue or to intercept “the bloody invader.”

After passing Cincinnati, the jaded command of Confederates proceeded towards Dennison, and making a feint there, struck out for the Ohio. Daily were they delayed by the annoying cry of “Axes to the front,” a cry that warned them of bushwackers, ambuscades, and blockaded roads. It appeared that every hillside contained an enemy and every ravine a blockade. It was not until the evening of the 19th July, that the command, dispirited and worn down, reached the river at a ford above Pomroy.

At 4 P. M., two companies were thrown across the river, and were instantly opened upon by the enemy. A scout of three hundred men were sent down the river a half mile, who reported back that they had found a small force behind rifle-pits, and asked permission to charge. The riflepits were charged, and one hundred and fifty prisoners captured. A courier, arriving about the same time, reported that a gunboat had approached near our battery, and upon being fired upon had retired precipitately.

Gen. Morgan finding this report correct, and believing that he had sufficient time to cross the command, was using every exertion to accomplish the task, when simultaneously could be heard the discharge of artillery from down the river — a heavy, drumming sound of small arms in the rear and right; and soon front the banks of the river, came up three black [443] columns of infantry, firing upon our men, who were in close column, preparing to cross. Seeing that the enemy had every advantage of position, an overwhelming force of infantry and cavalry, and that his men were becoming completely environed, the command was ordered by Gen. Morgan to move up the river double-quick. Three companies of dismounted men, and perhaps two hundred sick and wounded were left in the enemy's possession. The bulk of the command pressed rapidly to Belleville, about fourteen miles, on a running fight, and commenced fording, or rather swimming, at that point. Three hundred and thirty men had effected a crossing, when again the enemy's gunboats were upon them-one iron-clad and two transports. It was a terrible adventure now to cross the river; but even under the hot fire a party of officers, headed by Col. Adam R. Johnson, plunged into the stream, and commenced the struggle of life and death. Of the fearful scene which ensued, one of the party writes: “The Colonel's noble mare falters, strikes out again, and boldly makes the shore. Woodson follows. My poor mare, being too weak to carry me, turned over, and commenced going down; encumbered by clothing, sabre, and pistols, I made but poor progress in the turbid stream. An inherent love of life actuated me to continue swimming. Behind me I heard the piercing call of young Rogers for help; on my right, Capt. Helm was appealing to me for aid; and in the rear my friend, Capt. McClain, was sinking. Gradually the gunboat was nearing me. Should I be able to hold up until it came; and would I then be saved to again undergo the horrors of a Federal bastile? But I hear something behind me snorting! I feel it passing! Thank God! I am saved! A riderless horse dashes by; I grasp his tail; onward he bears me, and the shore is reached. Col. Johnson, on reaching the shore, seizes a ten-inch piece of board, jumps into a leaky skiff, and starts back to aid the drowning. He reaches Capt. Helm, but Capt. McClain and young Rogers are gone.”

Gen. Morgan was not of the fortunate party that escaped across the river. With two hundred of his men he broke through the enemy's lines on the north side of the Ohio, and continued his flight in the direction of New Lisbon, with the design of reaching the river higher up. Forces were despatched to head him off, and the brave cavalier, who had so often given occasion of surprise and mystery to the enemy, was, at last, brought to bay at a point on the river where there was no escape, except by fighting his way through, or leaping from a lofty and almost perpendicular precipice. Here he surrendered himself and the remnant of his command.

Of the infamous treatment of this distinguished captive and his comrades, the following memorandum was made in the War Department at Richmond, signed by Lieut.-Col. Alston, as a personal witness: “They were carried to Cincinnati, and from thence he [Gen. Morgan] and twenty-eight of his officers were selected and carried to Columbus, Ohio, where [444] they were shaved and their hair cut very close by a negro convict. They were then marched to the bath room, and scrubbed, and from there to their cells where they were locked up. The Federal papers published, with great delight, a minute account of the whole proceedings. Seven days afterwards, forty-two more of Gen. Morgan's officers were conveyed from Johnson's Island to the penitentiary, and subjected to the same indignities.”

But these hardships and outrages did not break the spirit of these brave men. The very officer who made the memorandum quoted above, dared to write in his jail-journal this sentiment of defiance: “There are a hundred thousand men in the South who feel as I do, that they would rather an earthquake should swallow the whole country then yield to our oppressors-men who will retire to the mountains and live on acorns, and crawl on their bellies to shoot an invader wherever they can see one.”

Surrender of Cumberland Gap.

In the month of September occurred the surrender of Cumberland Gap --a misfortune which President Davis declared “laid open Eastern Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia to hostile operations, and broke the line of communication between the seat of Government and Middle Tennessee” --and an event which some of the Richmond papers characterized as “one of the most disgraceful of the war.” These serious charges demand a close investigation of the subject; and it will be seen that Cumberland Gap is but another instance in which such charges, on a detail of facts, recoil upon the Richmond Administration itself.

About the last of August, 1863, the Federal forces under Gen. Burnside, entered Tennessee, and occupied Knoxville on the 2d September. A large part of these forces passed through the Cumberland Mountains from Kentucky into Tennessee at Big Creek Gap, forty miles south of Cumberland Gap, which latter position was held by Gen. Frazier for the Confederates. On the 21st August, Gen. Buckner, who was in command of the Confederate forces in East Tennessee, ordered Gen. Frazier to hold “the Gap,” which was an important protection to that country and to Southwestern Virginia; stating, moreover, that if the enemy broke through between this post and Big Creek Gap — the left and rear of Gen. Frazier-he (Buckner)would check them. This despatch left Gen. Frazier under the impression that he would be protected in his rear. But on the 30th August Gen. Buckner again despatched to Frazier to evacuate the Gap with all speed, to burn and destroy everything that could not be transported, and to report to Gen. S. Jones at Abingdon, Virginia, one hundred and twenty-five miles distant. [445]

Gen. Frazier was not satisfied of the genuineness of this order; he suspected some trick of the enemy; he had been left under the recent and emphatic impression that East Tennessee was to be held; and he telegraphed in cipher to Gen. Buckner, stating that he had about forty days rations, that he believed he could hold the position, and asking to be informed if his superiour insisted upon the order of evacuation. The order was countermanded within twenty-four hours, and Buckner's last instructions were to hold the Gap.

Knoxville had at this time been abandoned; and Gen. Buckner and his forces were at Loudon, about thirty miles southwest of Knoxville, at the crossing of the Holstein or Tennessee River. Gen. Frazier prepared for a vigorous defence of the Gap. It was not the “easily defensible pass” which President Davis declared it to be. There were three public roads uniting in it: the Virginia Road, leading eastward to Powell's Valley; the Kentucky Road, running through the Gap from Knoxville into Kentucky; and the Harlan Road, leading along the north side of the mountain. In consequence of the broken nature of the country, declivities, ravines, etc., the artillery commanded these roads very imperfectly. The Kentucky Road to the south at various points in its windings could be reached within range of the guns; but neither of the other roads could be commanded with artillery for a greater distance than about four hundred yards. Batteries were placed to defend these approaches. But the character of the ground permitted an enemy to approach in many directions over the spaces between the roads. The line of proper outward defences for the force in Gen. Frazier's command was about two miles in circuit, which comprised the various rifle-pits placed at irregular intervals, as the surface indicated proper points for their location on or near the summit of the mountain. An unfinished block-house in an isolated position, about a mile and a half from the Gap, was defended by one gun. This position had a limited command of the space around it, owing to the steep declivity and broken ground; but as it commanded the works of the Gap, it was important to prevent its occupation by the enemy. The rifle-pits and artillery epaulements were very incomplete, owing to the rocky nature of the ground, the want of tools, and blasting powder, and the small force of workmen that could be spared from other necessary duties. There were several approaches to the Gap by ravines and depressions through which an enemy could throw a large force under cover of darkness or heavy fog. The chief defences had been prepared to meet a force on the north side; and these were the reliance of Gen. Frazier when he expressed the opinion that he would be able to hold the position, as he anticipated an attack only from that direction.

Ten thousand men should have been assigned for the permanent defence of this position. The fact was that the force at Gen. Frazier's command [446] amounted to seventeen hundred men, with one hundred rounds of ammunition. Of the situation, Gen. Frazier writes: “I will express the opinion arrived at, after a full knowledge of all the conditions, gained during a month, that an assaulting force, equal to the garrison could carry it as easily as the open field, if guided, or informed of its weak points, by disaffected persons in the vicinity-especially during the prevalence of fogs, which greatly demoralized the men, who were unaccustomed to service and had never been in action.”

On the 4th September, Gen. Frazier was informed that the enemy was in possession of Knoxville, and had started a heavy force towards the Gap, and was running the cars to Morristown, within forty miles of his post. He was also informed that a large force, said to be sixteen regiments and two trains of artillery, were at Barboursville, Kentucky, en route for the Gap. Not believing that so large a force of the enemy would be sent against him from Knoxville until after successful engagement with Gen. Buckner, Gen. Frazier sent a cavalry regiment to meet the force said to be advancing from Knoxville, engage it, and uncover its strength. This force of cavalry, six hundred strong, was cut off, and compelled to retreat to Jonesville, thirty-six miles distant.

On the 7th September, Gen. Shackleford, who had approached the Gap from the south side, demanded its surrender. On the following day, Col. De Coucy, who had come up with a brigade on the Kentucky side, made the same demand on his part.

During the afternoon of the 8th September, Gen. Frazier assembled his regimental commanders, and had an informal conference with them. There was no council of war, and no votes were taken. There was a division of opinion as to the course to be pursued, but the officers separated on the final understanding to make a determined defence and with the expectation that Gen. Buckner would soon relieve the garrison.

On the 9th September reinforcements joined the enemy on the Tennessee side, and Gen. Frazier received a summons to surrender from Gen. Burnside himself. He had also received information about this time that the Confederate forces at London Bridge had burned the bridge, and that Buckner had retreated towards Chattanooga. Gen. Burnside's presence at the Gap, so unexpected, was deemed by the garrison sufficient proof that he had nothing to fear from the Confederate forces further south, and that all hope of succour from Gen. Buckner was at an end. In the afternoon of the preceding day, Gen. Frazier had received a despatch from Gen. S. Jones, commanding at Abingdon, Virginia, to the effect that he should not give up the Gap without a stubborn resistance, and that he would send a force which he thought strong enough to relieve the garrison.

Of what ensued on the reception of this despatch, Gen. Frazier gives the following explanation: “I asked the courier if any troops had arrived [447] at Abingdon, or if it was known there that Gen. Buckner had burned Loudon Bridge and retreated south, and also if they knew that Gen. Burnside had moved north with a large force. He replied, that there were no troops in Abingdon, but some were expected, and that they were ignorant of recent operations in Eastern Tennessee. I thus perceived that Gen. Jones was ignorant of my situation, and of the enemy's late movements, and knowing that the entire force under Gen. Jones could not cope successfully with Gen. Burnside, and that Gen. Lee could not reinforce him to any extent, as Gen. Meade was reported as pressing him, in East Virginia, I concluded, if Gen. Jones should attempt to relieve me, that the relieving force would be destroyed, and the occupation of the Virginia salt works follow, of course. The despatch of Gen. Jones referred to I destroyed, fearing it might fall into the hands of the enemy, show the weakness of Gen. Jones, and lead to an attack upon him to destroy these salt works. I thus perceived that my command could effect nothing by a temporary resistance, and that even could I hope to cut my way out, and attempt an escape up the valley, I should be thwarted in the attempt without artillery or cavalry, as the enemy had a formidable force of these arms, and could cut me up, or capture my forces in detail. I also reflected, that such a step, if partially successful, would draw the enemy towards Abingdon, and probably result in extending their operations to that place; when a surrender of the Gap would probably satisfy his desire for conquest at that time.”

About midday of the 9th September, Gen. Burnside sent in a second demand for surrender, stating that sufficient time for consultation had been allowed, and that he had a force large enough to carry the position by assault, and wished to spare the effusion of blood. After an attempt to make terms, Gen. Frazier surrendered unconditionally.

The occupation of Cumberland Gap gave Burnside an uninterrupted line of communication from Knoxville to Chattanooga, and opened the way to the consummation of the plan of the enemy, which was to move against Chattanooga on a double line of operations, and make there a new and formidable front directly against the heart of the Confederacy.

The battle of Chickamauga.

Chattanooga is one of the great gate-ways through the mountains to the champaign country of Georgia and Alabama. It is situated at the mouth of the valley formed by Lookout Mountain and the Missionary Ridge. The first-named eminence is a vast palisade of rocks, rising twenty-four hundred feet above the level of the sea, in abrupt, rocky cliffs, from a steep, wooded base. East of Missionary Ridge is another valley, [448] following the course of Chickamauga Creek, and having its head in McLemore's Cove.

Immediately after crossing the mountains to the Tennessee River, Rosecrans, who was moving with a force of effective infantry and artillery, amounting to fully seventy thousand men, threw a corps by way of Sequatchie Valley — a canon or deep cut splitting the Cumberland range parallel-hoping to strike the rear of Gen. Buckner's command, whilst Burnside occupied him in front. Buckner, however, was directed by Gen. Bragg to withdraw to the Hiawassee; and the enemy then commenced a movement against the Confederate left and rear, showing plainly that he intended a flank march towards Rome.

To save the State of Georgia, Chattanooga had to be abandoned. Gen. Bragg, having now united with him the forces of Buckner, evacuated Chattanooga on the 7th September, and, after a severe march through the dust, which was ankle deep, took position from Lee and Gordon's Mill to Lafayette, on the road leading south from Chattanooga, and fronting the east slope of Lookout Mountain.

Gen. Bragg's effective force, exclusive of cavalry, was a little over thirty-five thousand men. But in view of the great conflict that was to ensue, Gen. Longstreet's corps was on the way from Virginia to reinforce him, and with this prospect it was determined to meet the enemy in front, whenever he should emerge from the mountain gorges. During the 9th September, it was ascertained that Rosecrans, supposing that Bragg was retreating, had pressed on his columns to intercept him, thus exposing himself in detail, and that a large force of Thomas' corps was moving up McLemore's Cove. Cheatham's division was moved rapidly forward to Lafayette in front; a portion of D. H. Hill's corps occupied Catlett's Gap in Pigeon Mountain (a spur of Lookout, about fifteen miles from Chattanooga), flanking the enemy on his right; while Gen. Hindman, in conjunction with Hill, was ordered to attack the enemy immediately in the Cove.

The attack was delayed; a day was lost, and with it the opportunity of crushing a column of the enemy; and when Hindman, with whom Gen. D. H. Hill had contumaciously refused to co-operate, and who had therefore to await the junction of Buckner's command, was at last ready to move, Thomas had discovered his error, retreated to the mountain passes, and thus rescued the Federal centre from the exposed position in McLemore's Cove.

To understand the advance of Rosecrans' army, it would seem that Thomas' and McCook's corps crossed the Tennessee at Bridgeport, marching over Sand Mountain into Will's Valley, and thence down McLemore's Cove in the direction of Lafayette. Crittenden's corps had crossed above Chattanooga at Harrison's, and was moved in the direction of Ringgold. [449] A portion of Parke's corps of Burnside's army, and a brigade of his cavalry; came down from Knoxville to Loudon and Cleveland.

A council of war was held by Gen. Bragg at Lafayette, on the 15th, and it was resolved to advance towards Chattanooga, and attack the enemy wherever he could be found. By the 19th he had moved his army by divisions, and crossed it at several fords of the Chickamauga, and bridges north of Lee and Gordon's Mills. Longstreet had reached Ringgold in the afternoon of the same day. The reinforcements which he brought were five brigades of his corps, about five thousand effective infantry and no artillery. It was contemplated by Gen. Bragg to make a flank movement, and turn the enemy's left, so as to get his forces between him and Chattanooga, and thus cut off his retreat, believing that the main force of the enemy was at Lee and Gordon's Mills, and upon which he had intended to move. But he was anticipated; and as lie was preparing for the movement the enemy commenced a counter-attack, Thomas' corps making a desperate effort to turn the right wing of the Confederates. The attack was gallantly met by Walker's division, whose troops broke through two lines, and captured two batteries. But the enemy was largely reinforced here, and hurrying forward his multiplied numbers to recover his lost ground, when Cheatham, who had been in reserve, moved forward with his veterans, and met the shock of battle. It was a terrible, doubtful, and long encounter. Our lines wavered before the desperate struggle of the enemy, and for three hours the fight was kept up with varied success.

It was near sunset when Cleburne--“the Stonewall Jackson of the West” --who commanded a division in Hill's corps, passed to the front over the bloody ground that had been so stubbornly contested by Cheatham, charging the enemy up to the very breastworks. A crashing fire of musketry from the enemy made Cleburne's men reel, when forward dashed his batteries, and opened a terrific fire on the enemy's works, while the division charged with such impetuosity that the enemy recoiled, and were driven half a mile from their line of battle.

That night the Confederate troops slept on the field surrounded by the dead. No cheerful fire dispelled the gloom, and profound silence brooded over the field of carnage.

The proper commanders were summoned by Gen. Bragg, and received specific information and instructions touching the disposition of the troops for the grand and decisive action of the next day. The whole force was divided for the next morning into two commands, and assigned to the two senior Lieut.-Generals, Longstreet and Polk: the former on the left, where all his own troops were stationed, the latter continuing his command of the right. Lieut.-Gen. Longstreet reached Gen. Bragg's headquarters about 11 P. M., and immediately received his instructions. After a few hours' rest, he moved at daylight to his line just in front of Bragg's position. [450] Lieut.-Gen. Polk was ordered to assail the enemy on the extreme right at day-dawn on the 20th, and to take up the attack in succession rapidly to the left. The left wing was to await the attack by the right, take it up promptly when made, and the whole line was then to be pushed vigorously and persistently against the enemy throughout its extent.

At dawn, Gen. Bragg was in the saddle, surrounded by his staff, eagerly listening for the sound of Polk's guns. The sun rose, and was mounting the sky, and still there was no note of attack from the right wing. Bragg chafed with impatience, and at last despatched one of his staff-officers, Maj. Lee, to ascertain the cause of Polk's delay, and urge him to a prompt and speedy movement. Gen. Polk, notwithstanding his clerical antecedents, was noted for his fondness of military ostentation, and carried a train of staff officers whose numbers and superb dress were the occasions of singular remark. Maj. Lee found him seated at a comfortable breakfast, surrounded by brilliantly dressed officers, and delivered his message with military bluntness and brevity. Gen. Polk replied that he had ordered Hill to open the action, that he was waiting for him, and he added: “Do tell Gen. Bragg that my heart is overflowing with anxiety for the attack-overflowing with anxiety, sir.” Maj. Lee returned to the commanding-general, and reported the reply literally. Bragg uttered a terrible exclamation, in which Polk, Hill, and all his generals were included. “Maj. Lee,” he cried, “ride along the line, and order every captain to take his men instantly into action.” In fifteen minutes the battle was joined; but three hours of valuable time had been lost, in which Rosecrans was desperately busy in strengthening his position.

It was 10 o'clock when the battle opened on the right wing of the Confederates, and the command “forward” ran down their ranks. Breckinridge moved forward with his division, but, after a severe contest, was pressed back. Had the reserve ordered forward to Breckinridge's support come up in time, the enemy's position might have been carried, and prevented the conflict of the afternoon. As it was, notwithstanding the partial repulse, several pieces of artillery were captured and a large number of prisoners.

At the same time each succeeding division to the left gradually became engaged with the enemy, extending to Longstreet's wing. Walker's division advanced to the relief of Breckinridge, and, after an engagement of half an hour, was also compelled to retire under the severe fire of the enemy. The gallant Tennesseans, under Cheatham, then advanced to the relief of Walker, but even they wavered and fell back under the terrible fire of the enemy. Cleburne's division, which had several times gallantly charged the enemy, had also been checked, and Stuart's division, occupying the centre and left of our line, detached from Buckner's corps, had recoiled before the enemy. [451]

About three o'clock in the afternoon, Gen. Longstreet asked Gen Bragg for some of the troops of the right wing, but was informed by him that they had been beaten back so badly that they could be of no service. Longstreet had but one division that had not been engaged, and hesitated to venture to put it in, as the distress upon the Confederate right seemed to be almost as great as that of the enemy upon his right. He therefore concluded to hold Preston's division for the time, and urge on to renewed efforts the brave men who had already been engaged many hours. The enemy had obtained some heights near the Crawfish Spring Road, and strong ground upon which to rally. Here he gathered most of his broken forces, and reinforced them. After a long and bloody struggle, Johnson and Hindman gained the heights. Kershaw made a handsome attack upon the heights, simultaneously with Johnson and Hindman, but was not strong enough for the work. It was evident that with this position gained Longstreet would be complete master of the field. He therefore ordered Gen. Buckner to move Preston forward. Before this, however, Gen. Buckner had established a battery of twelve guns, raking down the enemy's line which opposed our right wing, and at the same time having fine play upon any force that might attempt to reinforce the hill that he was about to attack. Gen. Stewart, of his corps, was also ordered to move against any such force in flank. The combination was well-timed and arranged. Preston dashed gallantly at the hill. Stewart flanked a reinforcing column, and captured a large portion of it. At the same time, the fire of the battery struck such terrour into a heavy force close under it, that there were taken a large number of prisoners. Preston's assault, though not a complete success at the onset, taken in connection with the other operations, crippled the enemy so badly that his ranks were badly broken, and by a flank movement and another advance the heights were gained. These reinforcements were the enemy's last or reserve corps, and a part also of the line that had been opposing our right wing during the morning. The enemy broke up in great confusion along Longstreet's front, and, about the same time, the right wing made a gallant dash, and gained the line that had been held so long and obstinately against it. A simultaneous and continuous shout from the two wings announced our success complete. The enemy had fought every man that he had, and every one had been in turn beaten. The day had been certainly saved by Longstreet; but. it is but justice to add that his masterly maneuver was followed up, and completed by Gen. Polk, and that it was under their combined attack that the enemy at last gave up the field.

The enemy was totally routed from right, left, and centre, and was in full retreat to Chattanooga, night alone preventing further pursuit. Polk's wing captured twenty-eight pieces of artillery, and Longstreet's twenty-one, making forty-nine pieces of cannon, both wings taking nearly an [452] equal number of prisoners, amounting to over eight thousand, with fifteen thousand stand of arms, and forty stands of regimental colours. The enemy's loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, could not have been less than twenty thousand. Our own loss was heavy, and was computed by Gen. Bragg as “two-fifths of his army.” The enemy was known to have had all his available force on the field, including his reserve, with a portion of Burnside's corps, numbering not less than eighty thousand, while our force was not fifty thousand. Nothing was more brilliant in all of Napoleon's Italian campaigns. Chickamauga was equally as desperate as the battle of Arcola; but it was productive of no decisive results, and we shall see that it was followed, as many another brilliant victory of the

Confederates, by almost immediate consequences of disaster.

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