instructions were given to the brigade commanders. This was near 3 p.m. Soon the booming of the guns awakened the reverberations of the fastnesses of Mission Ridge and Lookout Mountain, and before the echoes had died away in the distant recesses of their rugged heights the advance was commenced.
Mission Ridge in an elevated range, with an average altitude of several hundred feet above the general level of the country, running from northeast to southwest. The part of it assaulted by my division the afternoon of the 25th is about 4 miles from Chattanooga, and about a mile from Orchard Knob. Between the latter and the base of Mission Ridge there is a broad, wooded valley. Of course this had to be traversed before the intrenchments at the base of the ridge could be assaulted. So soon as my troops began to move forward the enemy opened a terrific fire from his batteries on the crest of the ridge. The batteries were so posted as to give a direct and cross fire on the assailing troops. It would not, perhaps, be an exaggeration to say that the enemy had fifty pieces of artillery disposed on the crest of Mission Ridge. But the rapid firing of all this mass of artillery could not stay the onward movement of our troops. They pressed forward with dauntless ardor, and carried the line of intrenchments at the base of the ridge. The enemy in these intrenchments, doubtless impressed with the uselessness of resistance, made no serious opposition, but sought safety by flight behind his intrenchments on the crest of the ridge. The assault was so rapid that a considerable number of prisoners were captured in the intrenchments.
When the first line of intrenchments was carried, the goal for which we had started was won. Our orders carried us no farther. We had been instructed to carry the line of intrenchments at the base of the ridge and there halt. But the enthusiasm and impetuosity of the troops were such that those who first reached the intrenchments at the base of the ridge bounded over them, and pressed on up the ascent after the flying enemy. Moreover, the intrenchments were no protection against the enemy's artillery on the ridge. To remain would be destruction - to return would be both expensive in life and disgraceful. Officers and men all seemed impressed with this truth. In addition, the example of those who commenced to ascend the ridge so soon as the intrenchments were carried was contagious. Without waiting for an order the was mass pressed forward in the race of glory, each man anxious to be the first on the summit. The enemy's artillery and musketry could not check the impetuous assault. The troops did not halt to fire. To have done so would have been ruinous. Little was left to the commanders of the troops than to cheer on the foremost-to encourage the weaker of limb, and to sustain the very few who seemed to be faint hearted.
To the eternal honor of the troops, it should be recorded that the laggards were, indeed, few in number. The interval which elapsed between the carrying of the intrenchments at the base of the ridge and the crowning of the summit must have been one of intense and painful anxiety to all who were not participants in the assault. The ascent of Mission Ridge was indeed an effort to try the strongest limbs and the stoutest hearts. But suspense and anxiety were not of long duration. Upward steadily went the standard of the Union (borne onward by strong arms, upheld by brave hearts), and soon it was seen flying on the crest of Mission Ridge. Loud indeed were the shouts with which this spectacle was received. Some of the first troops on the crest of the ridge pressed forward in pursuit of the