our lines could be best formed by moving the troops by the right flank, in column of fours, from the Greeneville road, near the left of our line of skirmishers, immediately in rear of that line, toward the right, until ground enough had been passed over to admit the line of battle, and to form by simply facing to the front; the troops would then be in position to attack. I should have stated that this entire movement could be made under cover of the ridge occupied by our skirmishers and entirely out of sight of the enemy. My recommendations being nearly, if not altogether, in accordance with opinions which had been formed by the general commanding, were at once adopted, and the necessary orders given to carry them into effect. The attack was gallantly made and was eminently successful, the enemy being driven entirely from his position in advance to that occupied by his reserves. It was now quite dark, and everything was prepared to dislodge him from the latter early in the morning, by which time Colonel Foster was expected to be in the main road east of Greeneville and directly in the enemy's rear, a position he did reach before daybreak. The enemy, having had information of this movement, retreated long before daylight from our front, and attacking Foster, succeeded in pushing him from their line of retreat and in making good their escape.
With the subsequent events I had nothing to do, as an engineer officer-the retreat and pursuit being rapid, upon our part being almost exclusively maintained by the cavalry.*
* * * * * * *
ORLANDO M. POE,
Captain, U. S. Engrs. Chief Engineer, Army of the Ohio.
Major General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE,
Commanding Army of the Ohio.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
CHIEF ENGINEER'S OFFICE,
Nashville, Tenn., April 11, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor of reporting as follows concerning the operations of the engineer department during the recent campaign of the Army of the Ohio in East Tennessee, under the command of Major General A. E. Burnside:
On the 12th August, 1863, I was directed by Major General George L. Hartsuff, commanding the Twenty-third Army Corps, to prepare for immediate service in the field. In anticipation of this, the corps commander, at my suggestion, had issued an order organizing an engineer battalion, to be made up by details from the infantry regiments in the Twenty-third Army Corps. This battalion consisted of 2 captains, 2 first lieutenants and 4 second lieutenants, 16 sergeants, 32 corporals, and 250 privates, divided into two companies. I was induced to recommend the formation of this corps by the fact that there was no such organization in the Army of the Ohio, nor any other, which could be made immediately available for engineer purposes. I knew that if an advance was made such an organization, to be under my immediate control, was almost absolutely necessary.
*For continuation of Captain Poe's report, including the engineer operations of the siege of Knoxville, see Series I, Vol. XXXI, Part I, p. 294.