HDQRS. CHIEF ENGINEER, DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 20, 1863.
To the Officer in Charge of Pontoon Bridge:
You are hereby directed to keep the sharpest lookout for rafts or other drift that may be sent down by the enemy to-night. In case you are warned from the boats up-stream from you of the approach of any such matter you must have the bridge taken up, letting the boatmen ahead of you know the place by lights or otherwise, so they can guide it through. If you are not warned by them, and such rafts are reported by your men, make every exertion to save the bridge. Should any rafts pass through your bridge sent word to the Brown's Ferry Bridge by land at once.
By order of Brigadier-General Smith:
PRESTON C. F. WEST,
Captain, and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Report of Brigadier General Montgomery C. Meigs, Quartermaster-General U. S. Army.
HDQRS. U. S. QUARTERMASTER'S DEPARTMENT,
In the Field, Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 26, 1863.
SIR: On the 23d, at 11.30, General Grant ordered a demonstration against Missionary Ridge, to develop the force holding it. The troops marched out, formed in order, advanced in line of battle, as if on parade. The rebels watched the formation and movement from their picket lines and rifle-pits, and from the summits of Mission Ridge, 500 feet above us, and thought it was a review and drill, so openly, so deliberately, so regularly was it all done.
As the line advanced, preceded by skirmishers, and at 2 p.m. reached our picket lines, they opened a rattling volley upon the rebel pickets, which replied and ran into their advanced line of rifle-pits. After them went our skirmishers, and into them, along the center of the line of 25,000 troops, which General Thomas had so quickly displayed.
Until we opened fire, prisoners assert that they thought the whole movement was a review and general drill, and then it was too late to send to their camps for re-enforcements, and they were overwhelmed by force of numbers. It was a surprise in open daylight. At 3 p.m. the important advanced position of Orchard Knob and the lines right and left were in our possession, and arrangements were ordered for holding them during the night.
The next day at daylight General Sherman had 5,000 men across the Tennessee, established on its south bank, and commenced the construction of a pontoon bridge about 6 miles above Chattanooga. The rebel steamer Dunbar, repaired at the right moment, rendered effective aid in this crossing, ferrying over some 6,000 men. By nightfall General Sherman had seized the extremity of Mission Ridge nearest the river, and was intrenching himself. General Howard, with a brigade, opened communication with him from Chattanooga, on the south side of the river.
Skirmishing and cannonading continued all day on the left and center. General Hooker scaled the slopes of Lookout Mountain from