but from a reliable source, that a battle would soon take place for the repossession of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Accordingly I began to prepare for wounded men by emptying the division hospitals of the milder cases of sickness, and fitted up such other buildings as were placed at my disposal, including the U. S. General Hospital, under charge of Surgeon Salter, U. S. Volunteers.
By the time the battle came off I had good shelter for 1,200 men and beds for 650.
Having very few tents, I had to depend mainly upon buildings for shelter. The most of the regimental hospital tents were captured at Chickamauga, and had not yet been replaced.
The medical officers of each division were assigned to specific duty, and all was in readiness, so far as our limited means would permit, for the fight that opened on the 23rd day of November.
The battle was opened by a reconnaissance in force, made by General Wood's [Third] division. It was made at 1 p.m. in the direction of Missionary Ridge. The result of this movement was a brisk fight of half an hour, and the occupation of a low range of hills, a mile distant from our lines. In this affair Wood's division lost about 125 men in killed and wounded.
The wounded were promptly removed to the hospitals in town.
Having driven the enemy from this important position, our forces were ordered to halt and make themselves secure.
On Tuesday, the 24th, there was no movement of importance from our front; but about noon General Hooker, upon the right, made the attack upon Lookout Mountain. Among the troops with which he made the attack were the Second and Third Brigades of the First Division of this corps, and, although they were in front of the attacking forces, their loss in killed and wounded scarcely exceeded 100. The wounded were removed with difficulty over bad roads to Kelley's Landing.
On Wednesday, the 25th November, General Sherman, on our left attacked the enemy, and fought until past midday. At about half past 3 o'clock in the afternoon the divisions of Wood and Sheridan, of this corps, were ordered to assault the rifle-pits of the enemy at the base of the ridge, which was distant about three-fourths of a mile. They moved forward steadily, carried the rifle-pits, and halted not until they had stormed and taken possession of the heights beyond. Here, in less than an hour, these two divisions lost over 2,100 men in killed and wounded.
The range was short, and the fire consisted both of musketry and artillery. Not less than forty cannon poured an enfilading fire of grape and spherical case upon the troops as they ascended the ridge, and as they neared the top they were greeted with hand grenades, extemporized by igniting shells with short time-fuses, and rolling them down upon our lines.
Some bayonet wounds were received upon the crest of the ridge; a large proportion of the wounds were severe.
The wounded were promptly removed from the field, so that by 2 o'clock at night it was reported to me that all the hurt were gathered under shelter. The slightest wounded were permitted to go to their regimental quarters.
The operating surgeons, with their assistants, were distributed equally around, and attention was given first to primary amputations. Amputations was recommended in all cases where the articular ex-