December 17, 1863, when the command returned to its old camp in Lookout Valley, passing by the foot of Lookout Mountain.
A roll-call held on casualties, a result which I regard as highly commendable, when it is considered that many men were entirely shoeless. Marching as we did without shelter of any kind, except a few gum blankets, all knapsacks, blankets, and shelter tents having been left behind at Chattanooga, subsisting for a major part of the time upon the country, from which only flour, meal, and meat were derived, a large portion of the time without sugar or coffee, it is to be supposed that our movements were attended with some privation and suffering. Nevertheless, I cannot forbear remarking in behalf of the men under my command that every labor, every privation, every suffering was borne with a patience and cheerfulness worthy of patriots, who are above all mercenary considerations. I must claim for then an abstinence from straggling or marauding worthy of commendation under the circumstances. During the entire movement, from the 22nd November to the 17th December, I noticed no officer who faltered in the performance of his duty.
It affords me pleasure to mention favorably the names of the respective regimental commanders in the brigade. Colonel James Wood, jr., One hundred and thirty-sixth New York, who, though unsupported by any other field officer, carried his regiment through the whole campaign in fine order. Colonel C. B. Gambee, Fifty-fifth Ohio; Lieutenant Colonel Godfrey Rider, jr., Thirty-third Massachusetts, and Major SH. Hurst, commanding Seventy-third Ohio. I desire also to make especial mention of Captain Thomas W. Higgins, senior captain of the Seventy-third Ohio, who on this occasion, as on many previous, displayed great energy, perseverance, and gallantry, The captain has acted as major for some time past with marked success, and I think the rank of major, by brevet, would be judiciously bestowed upon him.
The members of my staff on this occasion,as heretofore, won my favorable commendation by their diligent attention to their respective duties and by their efficient co-operation.
By the illness of Captain B. F. Stone, acting assistant adjutant-general, I was to some extent deprived of his valuable services while on the march; nevertheless, by fortitude and perseverance, he continued,under great suffering, with the brigade during the entire march,and attended to his duties in camp every night, though repeatedly urged to go to the rear. Captain J. V. Patton, acting commissary of subsistence, by his foresight and activity succeeded in supplying the brigade in a regular manner, thus leaving no apology for individual foraging. I think the interest of the service would be promoted by his appointment by the Government as commissary of subsistence of volunteers. Captain John D. Madeira, in the double capacity of acting assistant inspector-general and aide-de-camp, as well as Lieutenant George A. Morse, provost-marshall, displayed great energy, activity, and daring, whereby they contributed much to the discipline and efficiency of the brigade.
On the march, finding it necessary to draw upon the country for forage, I detailed Lieutenant E. M., Cheney, Thirty-third Massachusetts Volunteers, to act as brigade quartermaster,and through him regular vouchers were given for hay and grain taken, and the forage was by him formally issued to the regiments. Though the duty was new to him, by industry and attention he succeeded in furnishing supplies without resorting to foraging by irresponsible parties.