passed over Sand Mountain into Lookout Valley; this movement was attended with but few casualties.
After the passage of the Tennessee River a collision with the enemy was to be looked for any day, and I made every effort to familiarize myself with the topography and resources of the country. As a great struggle was anticipated, food for the wounded and an easy way to the rear were the main points to be kept in view.
During the few days the army lay in Lookout Valley there was comparatively no sickness; it was not considered necessary to make any depot; the few cases of sickness that occurred were sent to Stevenson by the returning supply train. When the heads of our columns penetrated the gaps in Lookout Mountain the enemy hastily evacuated Chattanooga, and on the 9th of September the Twenty-first Army Corps occupied it. As soon as I learned this fact I made immediate disposition to have supplies forwarded and such buildings as were suitable for hospitals prepared for reception of patients. Surg. Israel Moses, U. S. Volunteers, was relieved from duty at Murfreesborough to superintend this work. By reference to his accompanying report a more detailed account of the preparations made will be found.
By the 13th the army had crossed Lookout Mountain, and the advance had felt the enemy in several skirmishes. As the presence of the enemy in force was well established, dispositions to concentrate our army were made; it was soon discovered that the main body of the enemy was moving down the Valley of the Chickamauga toward Rossville.
The ridge that divides the Valley of Chickamauga from that of Chattanooga was traversed in several places by wagon roads; it was by these roads that our wounded must be conveyed to the rear. The wagon road down the Chickamauga Valley was near the base of this ridge on the south side where there are but few springs. As every indication pointed to a conflict on the north side of the creek, our wounded were to be provided for at these springs or taken over Mission Ridge into Chattanooga Valley.
After consultation with the general commanding, I selected Crawfish Spring as the main depot for the wounded. Division hospitals for the Twentieth and Twenty-first Corps, together with two divisions of the Fourteenth Corps, were accordingly established at that point.
On the 19th, as the battle progressed, the army moved down the Valley of the Chickamauga, so that when night closed it was about 4 miles distant from the hospitals, and the only road to the latter was the one spoken of at the south base of Mission Ridge. This movement made the removal of the wounded a task of considerable magnitude, as our loss in wounded on Saturday afternoon was very severe, being, as nearly as I could estimate, about 4,500.
The ambulance trains were worked very steadily until midnight, when almost all of the wounded accessible had been removed and placed in the hospitals or in groups around, adjacent.
Every effort was made to place the men under shelter, but particularly to provide them with covering, as the night was cold. When this could not be done the men were arranged in rows near each other and lines of camp fires built at their feet.
The medical officers continued their attentions to the relief of the immediate wants of the wounded, and to the performance of such operations as admitted of no delay, until exhaustion and the lateness of the hour warned them that a little rest was necessary to prepare them for the next day's work.