War of the Rebellion: Serial 055 Page 0317 Chapter XLIII. THE CHATTANOOGA-RINGGOLD CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

ments, driven from the walls and pits around Craven's nouse (the last point at which he could make a stand in force), all broken and dismayed, were hurled in great numbers over the rocks and precipices into the valley.

It was now near 2 o'clock, and our operations were arrested by the darkness. The clouds, which had hovered over and enveloped the summit of the mountain during the morning, and to some extent favored our movements, gradually settled into the valley and completely veiled it from our view. Indeed, from the moment we had rounded the peak of the mountain, it was only from the roar of battle and the occasional glimpse our comrades in the valley could catch of our lines and standards that they knew of the strife or its progress; and when, from these evidences, our true condition was revealed to them, their painful anxiety yielded to transports of joy which only soldiers can feel in the earliest moments of dawning victory.

Deeming a descent into the valley imprudent, without more accurate information of its topography,and also of the position and strength of the enemy, our line was established on the east side of the mountain, the right resting on the palisades, and the left near the mouth of Chattanooga Creek,a nd this we strengthened by all the means at hand,working until 4 o'clock, when the commander of the department was informed that our position was impregnable.

During all of these operations the batteries on Moccasin Point, under Captain Naylor, had been busily at work from the north bank of the Tennessee River, and had contributed as much to our assistance as the irregularities of the ground and the state of the atmosphere would admit of. From our position we commanded the enemy's lines of defense, stretching across Chattanooga Valley, by an enfilading fire, and also by a direct fire,many of his camps,some of which were in our immediate vicinity. Also direct communication had been opened with Chattanooga,and at a quarter past 5 o'clock Brigadier-General Carlin, fourteenth Corps, reported to me with his brigade, and was assigned to duty on the right of the line, to relieve Geary's command, almost exhausted with the fatigue and excitement incident to their unparalleled march.

To prevent artillery being brought forward, the enemy had undermined the road and covered it with felled timber. This was repaired and placed in serviceable condition before morning.

During the day and until after midnight an irregular fire was kept up along our line, and had the appearance at one time of an effort to break it. This was on the right, and was at once vigorously and handsomely repelled. In this, Carlin's brigade rendered excellent service. His report is herewith forwarded.

Before daylight, anticipating the withdrawal of the rebel force from the summit of the mountain, parties from several regiments were dispatched to scale it, but to the Eighth Kentucky must belong the distinction of having been foremost to reach the crest and at sunrise to display our flag from the peak of Lookout, amid the wild and prolonged cheers of the men whose dauntless valor had borne it to that point.

During the night the enemy had quietly abandoned the mountain, leaving behind 20,000 rations, the camp and garrison equipage of three brigades, and other materiel.

An impenetrable mist still covered the face of the valley. Prisoners reported that the enemy had abandoned it, but, deeming it imprudent to descend, a reconnaissance was ordered, and soon after