We were all strangers, no one division ever having seen either of the others.
Geary's division, supported by Whitaker's brigade, of Cruft's division, was ordered to proceed up the valley, cross the creek near Wauhatchie, and march down, sweeping the rebels from it. The other brigade of the Fourth Corps to advance, seize the bridge just below the railroad, and repair it. Osterhaus' division was to march up from Brown's Ferry, under cover of the hills, to the place of crossing;also, to furnish supports for the batteries. The Ohio battery was to take a position on Bald Hill, and the New York battery on the hill directly in rear. The Second Kentucky Cavalry was dispatched to observe the movements of the enemy in the direction of Trenton, and the Illinois company to perform orderly and escort duty. This disposition of the forces was ordered to be made as soon after daylight as practicable.
At this time the enemy's pickets formed a continuous line along the right bank of Lookout Creek, with the reserves in the valley, while his main force was encamped in a hollow half way up the slope of the mountain. The summit itself was held by three brigades of Stevenson's division, and these were comparatively safe,as the only means of access from the west, for a distance of 20 miles up the valley, was by two or three trails, admitting of the passage of but 1 man at a time,a nd even those trails were held at the top by rebel pickets. For this reason no direct attempt was made for the dislodgment of this force. On the Chattanooga side, which is less precipitous,a road of easy grade has been made communicating with the summit by zig-zag lines running diagonally up the mountain side,a nd it was believed that before our troops should gain possession of this, the enemy on the top would evacuate his position, to avoid being cut off from his main body, to rejoin which would involve a march of 20 or 30 miles.
Viewed from whatever point, Lookout Mountain, with its high palisaded crest,and its steep, rugged, rocky, and deeply-furrowed slopes, presented an imposing barrier to our advance,and when to these natural obstacles were added almost interminable, well-planned, and well-constructed defenses, held by Americans, the assault became an enterprise worthy of the ambition and renown of the troops to whom it was intrusted.
On the northern slope, midway between the summit and the Tennessee, a plateau or belt of arable land encircles the crest. There a continuous line of earth-works had been thrown up, while redoubts, redans, and pits appeared lower down the slope, to repel an assault from the direction of the river. On each flank were rifle-pits, epaulements for batteries, walls of stone, and abatis to resist attacks from either the Chattanooga or Lookout Valleys. In the valleys themselves were earth-works of still greater extent.
Geary commenced his movement as instructed, crossed the creek at 8 o'clock, captured the entire picket of 42 men posted to defend it, marched directly up the mountain, until his right rested on the palisades,and headed down the valley.
At the same time Grose's brigade advanced resolutely, with brisk skirmishing, drove the enemy from the bridge, and at once proceeded to put it in repair.
The firing at this point alarmed the rebels, and immediately their columns were seen filing down the mountain from their camps, and moving into their rifle-pits and breastworks;at the same time num-