War of the Rebellion: Serial 055 Page 0034 KY., SW. VA., Tennessee, MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA.

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[CHAP. XLIII.

Valley, to the north end of Missionary Ridge. On the morning of the 25th, Hooker took possession of the mountain top with a small force, and with the remainder of his command, in pursuance of orders, swept across Chattanooga Valley, now abandoned by the enemy, to Rossville. In this march he was detained four hours building a bridge across Chattanooga Creek. From Rossville he ascended Missionary Ridge and moved northward toward the center of the now shortened line. Sherman's attack upon the enemy's most northern and most vital point was vigorously kept up all day. The assaulting column advanced to the very rifle-pits of the enemy, and held their position firmly and without wavering. The right of the assaulting column being exposed to the danger of being turned, two brigades were sent to its support. These advanced in the most gallant manner over an open field on the mountain side to near the works of the enemy, and lay there partially covered from fire for some time. The right of these two brigades rested near the head of a ravine or gorge in the mountain side, which the enemy took advantage of, and sent troops, covered from view, below them and to their right rear. Being unexpectedly fired into from this direction, they fell back across the open field below them, and reformed in good order in the edge of the timber. The column which attacked them was speedily driven to its intrenchments by the assaulting column proper. Early on the morning of the 25th the remainder of Howard's corps reported to Sherman, and constituted a part of his forces during that day's battle, the pursuit, and subsequent advance for the relief of Knoxville. Sherman's position not only threatened the right flank of the enemy, but, from his occupying a line across the mountain and to the railroad bridge, across Chickamauga Creek, his rear and stores at Chickamauga Station. This caused the enemy to mass heavily against him. This movement of his being plainly seen from the position I occupied on Orchard Knoll, Baird's division, of the Fourteenth Corps, was ordered to Sherman's support, but receiving a note from Sherman informing me that he had all the force necessary, Baird was put in position on Thomas' left. The appearance of Hooker's column was at this time anxiously looked for and momentarily expected, moving north on the ridge with his left in Chattanooga Valley and his right east of the ridge. His approach was intended as the signal for storming the ridge in the center strong columns, but the time necessarily consumed in the construction of the bridge near Chattanooga Creek detained him to a later hour than was expected. Being satisfied from the latest information from his that he must by this time be on his way from Rossville, though not yet in sight, and discovering that the enemy in his desperation to defeat or resist the progress of Sherman was weakening his center on Missionary Ridge, determined me to order the advance at once. Thomas was accordingly directed to move forward his troops, constituting out center, Baird's division (Fourteenth Corps), Wood's and Sheridan's divisions (Fourth Corps), and Johnson's division (Fourteenth Corps), with a double line of skirmishers thrown out, followed in easy supporting distance by the whole force, and carry the rifle-pits at the foot of Missionary Ridge, and when carried to reform his lines on the rifle-pits with a view to carrying the top of the ridge. These troops moved forward, drove the enemy from the rifle-pits at the base of the ridge like bees from a hive-stopped but a moment until the whole were in line-and commenced the ascent of the mountain from right to left almost simu-