War of the Rebellion: Serial 010 Page 0065 Chapter XXII. CUMBERLAND GAP CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

where it is very difficult to find machinery of any kind, and doubly difficult for the movement of a heavy train and ordnance connected with a siege battery of Parrott rifled guns. Machinery for the movement of this battery over steep ascents and descents consisted of about 800 feet of 1-inch, 100 feet of 1 1/2-inch rope, three large and two small snatch-blocks, one double and one single tackle-block. This was all the tackle of any kind that could be obtained in time to be of any use to move without hinderance to the forces of this division. To move this battery a distance of 40 miles over the Cumberland Mountains and over roads considered impassable by the enemy for light artillery seemed a herculean task, which the heart would almost shrink from undertaking, for many of the ascents would from an angle of 30 with a horizontal plane, and this to be overcome, knowing that we were in many instances to make a corresponding descent.

On the following day Foster's First Wisconsin Battery, under command of Lieutenant John D. Anderson, moved forward, and being a light battery, met with but little difficulty the first few miles. The Ninth Ohio Battery, commanded by Lieutenant Barrows, followed upon the succeeding day with similar success. Two hundred men from the infantry were detailed to assist in overcoming the steep ascent and descents, which was to be done by ropes and pulleys. The ropes and pulleys were in constant use or readiness, and the men were obliged to be constantly on the alert, for the ascent were not only steep, but along sideling places, where, were the gun-carriages once overturned, they would have fallen over precipitous rocks varying in height from 100 to 500 feet. In many instances were the turns in the road more than at right-angles,and this up steep sideling ascents, rendering it almost impossible to turn with teams. At many times was the whole force, both of men and horses, used the same rope.

On arriving at the top of the Cumberland Mountains the men and horses seemed nearly be worthless hereafter. Both men and horses had been upon short rations and forage, and it was impossible for subsistence and forage trains to follow close upon the troops over such terribly rugged roads. Many of my command have been the overland route to California, and all concede there was nothing to compare with these steep ascents and descents on the route.

About 12 m. of June 10 the siege battery commenced the ascent of the mountain on the northern side, via Rogers' Gap road, which had been blockaded by Zollicoffer's troops, and was cut out before us by command of Colonel De Courcy, commanding the Twenty-sixth Brigade. Third road was a mere bridle-path, and much credit is due the troops under Colonel De Courcy for their hard labor in removing the blockade and constructing the road.

The Ninth Ohio Battery, Captain Wetmore, followed immediately in rear of the siege battery, and had much difficulty in ascending the steep declivity of this mountain, for it can be considered nothing else, although called a "gap."

At 6 p.m. the first piece of the siege battery arrived on the top of the mountain, and there halted for the closing up of the remaining pieces. After halting until late in the evening all were closed up, and Wetmore's Ninth Ohio Battery allowed to pass and make the descent in advance. The 30-pounder guns being so heavy, weighing 8,000 pounds, were left at the top of the mountain, as the descent was too difficult to think for one moment of moving them down in the night.