two additional and parallel lines. A heavy belt of timber, ranging from one-fourth to three-fourths of a mile in width, lay between our lines and Orchard Knob, covering the front of the knob and the line of the ridge, and serving the enemy as a mask for his position and movements. Between this timber and Chattanooga were open fields, some of which, being low and swampy, were difficult to cross with troops. Through them runs the Atlantic and Western Railroad which, as it approaches the river, bends toward the north end of Mission Ridge, where it passes through the tunnel.
The foregoing is a brief sketch of the ground and points over which, and in the direction of which, I was ordered to make a reconnaissance. It would be necessary to give a more complete description of such to fully explain the movements of my troops that were made in obedience to this order. As such cannot be given in this brief report, I will forward a map* of the topography of the country, to be attached hereto, and for reference, as soon as it can be procured.
In order to carry out the instructions of Major-General Thomas, I directed Brigadier-General Wood, commanding the Third Division, to prepare for an advance by forming his troops in the open field at the base of the slope of Fort Wood, and without the lines of our rifle-pits, and at the same time I directed Major-General Sheridan, commanding the Second Division, to hold his troops within supporting distance on the right of General Wood, posting them along the line of the Atlantic and Western Railroad, with his right resting opposite Lunette Palmer. The positions indicated were promptly taken by these two divisions at noonday, with no attempt at concealment or surprise, and in plain view of the enemy, who watched them from Mission Ridge and Orchard Knob.
The troops moved into line and position with such regularity and precision as to present the appearance of a formation for review or parade, and the enemy's pickets, but a few hundred feet off, were apparently awaiting a display or military pageant when our skirmish line advanced and opened fire. At half past 1 p.m. I directed General Wood to advance. In a few moments his troops, having passed through the open fields, engaged the enemy in the woods, and drove them back to their rifle-pits. The resistance here met with, especially in front of Hazen's brigade, where we sustained the heaviest loss, was very stubborn, and the enemy was only driven back when his works were cleared by the bayonet. In this dash, which was quick and gallant, we lost 125 officers and men killed and wounded, and by it we gained Orchard Knob and the ridge to its right, at the same time capturing many prisoners. the Twenty-third Alabama Infantry almost entire, with the regimental colors, was captured.
As soon as General Wood had occupied the knob and the ridge, I directed Major-General Sheridan to advance his division, and it was placed in position, en echelon, on the right of General Wood, the two divisions forming a continuous line of battle resting on the rising ground lying almost parallel with Mission Ridge, and sweeping on the extreme right around toward our chain of defensive works at Chattanooga. The reconnaissance was a complete success. In making it we not only obtained the desired information, but had
*To appear in the Atlas.
9 R R-VOL XXXI, PT II