Hooker to be ready to advance on the morning of the 25th from his position on the point of Lookout Mountain to the Summertown road, and endeavor to intercept the enemy's retreat, if he had not already withdrawn, which he was to ascertain by pushing a reconnaissance to the top of Lookout Mountain.
The reconnaissance was made as directed, and having ascertained that the enemy had evacuated during the night General Hooker was then directed to move on the Rossville road with the troops under his command (except Carlin's brigade, which was to rejoin its division), carry the pass at Rossville, and operate upon the enemy's left and rear. Palmer's and Granger's troops were held in readiness to advance directly on the rifle-pits in their front as soon as Hooker could get into position at Rossville. In retiring on the night of the 24th, the enemy had destroyed the bridges over Chattanooga Creek, on the road leading from Lookout Mountain to Rossville, and, in consequence, General Hooker was delayed until after 2 p.m. in effecting the crossing of the creek. About noon, General Sherman becoming heavily engaged by the enemy, they having massed a strong force in his front, orders were given for General Baird to march his division within supporting distance of General Sherman. Moving his command promptly in the direction indicated, he was placed in position to the left of Wood's division of Granger's corps.
Owing to the difficulties of the ground, his troops did not get in line with Granger's until about 2.30 p.m. Orders were then given him, however, to move forward on Granger's left, and within supporting distance, against the enemy's rifle-pits on the slope and at the foot of Missionary Ridge. The whole line then advanced against the breastworks, and soon became warmly engaged with the enemy's skirmishers; these, giving way, retired upon their reserves, posted within their works. Our troops advancing steadily in a continuous line, the enemy, seized with panic, abandoned the works at the foot of the hill and retreated precipitately to the crest, where they were closely followed by our troops, who, apparently inspired by the impulse of victory, carried the hill simultaneously at six different points, and so closely upon the heels of the enemy that many of them were taken prisoners in the trenches. We captured all their cannon and ammunition before they could be removed or destroyed.
After halting for a few moments to reorganize the troops, who had become somewhat scattered in the assault of the hill, General Sheridan pushed forward in pursuit, and drove those in his front who escaped capture across Chickamauga Creek. Generals Wood and Baird, being obstinately resisted by re-enforcements from the enemy's extreme right, continued fighting until darkness set in, slowly but steadily driving the enemy before them. In moving upon Rossville, General Hooker, encountered Stewart's division and other troops. Finding his left flank threatened, Stewart attempted to escape by retreating toward Graysville, but some of his force, finding their retreat threatened from that quarter, retired in disorder toward their right, along the crest of the ridge, when they were met by another portion of General Hooker's command, and were driven by these troops in the face of Johnston's division of Palmer's corps, by whom they were nearly all made prisoners.
It will be perceived from the above report that the original plan of operations was somewhat modified to meet and take the best advantage of emergencies, which necessitated material modifications of that plan. It is believed, however, that the original plan, had it been