I was desirous of carrying with us a fair allowance of intrenching tools, to do which the major-general commanding the Army of the Ohio was kind enough to order the facilities, after all the ordinary mode of procedure had failed to get the necessary transportation. Subsequent events will show how important this apparently trifling matter proved to be.
The 13th August was spent at Camp Nelson in preparation for marching. Clothing was issued to the battalion and the intrenching tools, consisting of 800 shovels, 500 axes, and 400 picks, were loaded.
On the 14th, they moved to Danville, and two days afterward to Crab Orchard.
The troops were disposed for the movement upon East Tennessee as follows: Hascall's division of infantry, at Crab Orchard, to march, via Somerset, Ky., Smith's Ford, Chitwood's, to Montgomery, Tenn.: Manson's division of infantry to march, via Columbia, Ky., Burkesville, and Albany, to Montgomery; two brigade of cavalry to march from London, via Williamsburg and Chitwood's, to Montgomery; two brigades of cavalry from Columbia covering the right flank of Manson's column.
So accurately was the march made that, after passing over 100 miles each, the heads of the two infantry columns reached Montgomery at the same time. When the distance marched, the character of the country, and the condition of the roads are taken into account, this may well be considered a most remarkable feat in concentration. The march of the cavalry was equally and well-timed. From Montgomery the entire column, except one brigade of cavalry, was projected upon Kingston, having Loudon for an objective point.
At the Indian tavern, 45 miles from Knoxville and 8 from Montgomery, one brigade of cavalry was detached, and, by a rapid movement, succeeded in occupying Knoxville on September 2.
At the crossing of the Kingston road over the Big Emery the infantry left the route pursued by the cavalry and marched by way of Walker's Ferry, over the Clinch River, to Lackey's, whence, after hearing of the destruction of Loudon Bridge by the enemy, they proceeded to Knoxville, reaching that point on the evening of September 4.
From this point a portion of the troops after but slight respite from their arduous march, proceeded to Cumberland Gap, and after the surrender of the forces of the enemy at that point, the returned to Knoxville. All these operations, brilliant though they were, gave little scope for the display of the science of military engineering. Their success depended more particularly upon the alacrity and endurance of the troops, which qualities were displayed in a wonderful degree.
Meanwhile, the force at my disposal was engaged upon reconnaissances, surveys, &c., until the 15th September, when I was directed by the major-general commanding the Army of the Ohio to erect at Knoxville earth-works for a garrison of 600 men. These works were to be of such a character that they could not be carried by a dash of cavalry. Having made an examination of the ground in anticipation, I at once submitted the plans for two works, one on College Hill and the other on Temperance Hill, which were approved by the major-general commanding, and the Engineer Battalion, together with a small number of contrabands, immediately commenced the