and artillery for a mile, working all night; brigades had also to be repaired on the way.
On the 19th, I was ordered by General Wood, who came up with the remainder of his command, to take three days' rations without baggage and move in the direction of Chattanooga by the Anderson road as far as the eastern edge of Walden's Ridge, which is some 5 miles from Chattanooga, and from which the town and fortifications were in plain view. On the next day, Colonel Wilder, with his mounted infantry, arrived in front of the city, and opened upon it with artillery and was replied to by the enemy. In the evening he fell back near my camp, where he remained until we entered the city. About the same time, General Hazen, with a brigade, had advanced from Dunlap to the Tennessee Valley, at Poe's Tavern, some 12 miles from Chattanooga and about 10 miles above my position and some 6 miles from Harrison, while Colonel Minty, with a brigade of cavalry, was posted at Smith's Cross-Roads. Colonels Wilder and Minty guarded the river from Williams Island to Washington, a distance of about 50 miles, having strong pickets at the fords and crossings, and constantly patrolling the entire distance. The enemy had at Chattanooga a pontoon bridge, ready to swing around, and could have in a short time been ready to cross a column of troops. This made the utmost vigilance necessary; and on one or two occasions it was thought they were about to do so [to cross troops], and I think it was intended and would have been done had they continual changing of our troops, and by making demonstrations at other places so as to entirely mislead them as to our real design. During the time that my command was in front of Chattanooga, the city was frequently shelled, which had little effect except to frighten the citizens.
On the 8th of September, I became convinced that the enemy were evacuating,and dispatched to General Rosecrans the fact. Later in the day I informed him they had left and that I would take possession next morning, and which was done by the Ninety-seventh Ohio Volunteers by crossing the river in boats, which we had prevented the enemy from destroying by posting artillery on the bank of the river supported by sharpshooters.
On the 8th, Colonel Wilder, who was at Friar's Island, 7 miles above, reported that the enemy had withdrawn. I sent him word to throw across the river a light party to reconnoiter and to support them, and if it should prove true that they had gone, to cross his entire force. This there was not time to do. That day he crossed the Seventeenth Indiana Volunteers on to the island, where they remained all night, ready to cross early in the morning, but by daylight the enemy had returned with some artillery, and opened from some works on the opposite side of the river and the right was withdrawn. The crossing was made in the evening, the enemy retiring as we had possession of Chattanooga and General Crittenden's corps had marched in the direction of Rossville. General Hazen was directed to cross at Friar's Island. Colonel Minty was also directed to cross at once and report to General Crittenden.
On the 10th, I took command of Chattanooga.
Your obedient servant,
G. D. WAGNER,