War of the Rebellion: Serial 055 Page 0259 Chapter XLIII. THE CHATTANOOGA-RINGGOLD CAMPAIGN.

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fleeing enemy, immediately in front of the, while others (with great good sense on the part of their brigade commanders) were deployed to the right and left to clear the ridge and relieve the pressure on our troops that had not gained the summit. The good effect of the flank attacks was almost instantaneously apparent, and soon the entire crest was occupied by our troops. Mission Ridge was ours. The enemy, whom we had seen during the two long months of the investment occupying this dominating position, was in full retreat. As the day was nearly spent, and the troops much worn, and somewhat disordered by the ascent, the pursuit could not, of course, be long continued. Darkness was coming on apace, and the brigades were reformed on the crest of the ridge, where they bivouacked for the night. The assault of Mission Ridge is certainly one of the most remarkable achievements that have ever occurred. Military history would probably be ransacked in vain for a parallel. With so much of physical obstacle to overcome, with so much armed resistance encountered, probably no assault was ever so eminently successful. In fifty minutes from the time the advance commenced, the first flags were seem flying on the crest of the ridge. But the great achievement was not won without serious loss. many gallant and accomplished officers and brave men were killed and wounded in the assault. To these especially is the lasting homage and gratitude of the country due.

As is not at all singular, there is a difference of opinion as to what troops first crowned the summit of Mission Ridge. All the different divisions engaged in the assault set up claims to this honor. The brigades of the same division (I know it is so in my division) have conflicting claims, and in like manner the regiments of the same brigade lay claim to the honor. Each commander, observing, of course, his own troops more closely than others, is disposed to think, with all honesty, that his command was first on the crest. While admitting I am liable to be mistaken, I sincerely think a considerable portion of my division were the first troops that reached the summit; but I am not able to discriminate with certainty which one of the three brigades was first up. The truth is, parts of each brigade reached the crest almost simultaneously, and where injustice might be done I do not think it advisable to make a decision on the conflicting claims. In fact, I do not consider myself competent to do so. I was much more interested in getting to the top of the ridge than in seeing who reached there first. Happily it is a question which does not require to be definitely settled. The strong position of the enemy was carried, and it matters little what particular regiment, brigade,or division was first on the summit. Where all strove so arduously to do well he who was first up can only be considered as more fortunate, not more deserving, than his comrades. I must refer to the reports of brigade commanders, with their accompaniments, the reports of regimental commanders, for a more minute and detailed narrative of the operations of their several commands that I can present in this report. To these reports I must also refer for many instances of special commendation for gallantry and good conduct displayed by regimental and company officers and soldiers. To record all the instances of heroism displayed by men and officers would extend this report beyond all reasonable compass. After the rout of the rebel army by the successful assault on Mission Ridge on the afternoon of the 25th, the more important results of the brilliant operations which commenced on the 23rd and terminated with nightfall