HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS, November 23, 1863-12 m.
Brig. Gen. T. J. WOOD,
Commanding Third Division, Fourth Army Corps:
Brigadier-General Wood with his division will, as soon as possible, carry out the foregoing instructions, and will be supported by General Sheridan's division, to be posted along near the line of railroad, its right resting about midway between Moore's road and the Brush Knob in front of Lunette Palmer.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Immediately on receipt of this order, I summoned my brigade commanders to my headquarters, to give them full and minute explanations in regard to the manner in which I intended to execute the instruction I had received. I desired also to explain in person the part the command of each was to perform in the operations. The disposition of the division, as was then explained to the brigade commanders, and as was subsequently most successfully carried out, was as follows: Hazen's brigade on the right, Willich's on the left, were to be formed in two lines; the first line deployed, the second in double column closed en masse; Beatty's brigade, formed in double column, closed en masse-so as to be ready to deploy to the front or deploy faced to the left-was held in reserve in rear of Willich's left. This arrangement would fully protect Willich's left from any flank movement of the enemy during the advance. As General Sheridan had been ordered to occupy a position which would place his division in rear of my right flank during the advance, I had no occasion to look to the safety of my right. In addition to the double-line formation just described, the entire grand guard on duty for the day was to be deployed on the advance sentinel line of pickets, so that the whole would be covered with a cloud of skirmishers.
I ordered the formation to take place on the broad slope on the southern side of Fort Wood. This work covers conical eminence of about 200 feet elevation above the level of the river, situated about half a mile out of Chattanooga, in a southeasterly direction. From its parapet the rebel works and troops were clearly discernible. The descent of the hill on the northern, eastern, and western sides is abrupt, but gradual on the southern, extending down into the valley, through which runs the Western and Atlantic Railway.
At 1.30 p.m. the arrangements were all completed, the troops were in position, and the reserve ammunition and ambulance trains in rear of Fort Wood. Then, at the bugle signal, the magnificent array, in exact lines and serried columns, moved forward. It scarcely ever falls to the lot of to witness so grand a military display. Every circumstance that could heighten of, or impart dramatic effect to, the scene was present. On the ramparts of Fort Wood were gathered officers of high rank, covered with honors gathered on other fields. There were also officer distinguished for scientific attainments and rare administrative ability. Troops in line and column checkered the broad plain of Chattanooga. In front plainly to be seen was the enemy so soon to be encountered in deadly conflict. My division seemed to drink in the inspiration of the scene, and when the "advance" was sounded moved forward in the perfect order of a holiday parade. It has been my good fortune to witness on the Champ de Mars and on Longchamps, reviews of all arms of the French service, under the eye of the most remarkable man of the present generation. I once saw a review, followed by a mock battle.