Thus scantily supplied, without overcoats or blankets, and most of them in ordinary summer blouses, the troops went out to the assault, and, during the whole campaign of eight days, they were exposed to weather unusually cold and inclement. During the long nights they were obliged to build immense fires, and without even the expectation of being able to sleep, they gathered together during the weary hours, beguiling the time by recounting the day's exploits and speculating upon the morrow's.
Yet these discomforts, in addition to the very scanty supply of rations which could be forwarded to them, they bore without a murmur or complaint, manifesting throughout the most perfect discipline and self control. For individual instances of bravery, I beg to refer you to brigade and regimental reports accompanying.
Of my staff, 2 were absent on account of wounds received at Wauhatchie, leaving but Captain T. H. Elliott, my assistant adjutant-general; Captain W. T. Forbes, acting assistant inspector-general; Captain R. H. Wilbur, aide-de-camp, and during the 24th and 25th, Captain W. L. Stork, acting aide, to assist me in the field. Of these officers I cannot speak too highly; their coolness, bravery, and untiring perseverance, under the most trying circumstances, were almost without parallel, and to their hearty zeal in carrying out my orders and furthering my plans I am greatly indebted for much of the signal success which was accomplished.
Captain James Gillette, commissary of subsistence, and Captain H. H. Wilson, ordnance officer, are deserving of great praise for the zealous perseverance with which they labored, under the greatest difficulties, in their departments for the general good. The medical staff of the command and the ambulance corps were also most efficient. The effectiveness of the latter, in its practical workings, proved the paramount excellence of this system over all other modes of relief for the suffering and wounded on the battle-field.
It is but proper that I should call attention officially to instances of barbarous and inhuman treatment practiced by the enemy upon the persons of a few of our wounded officers and men who fell temporarily into their hands at Ringgold. These indignities excited in the minds of all who witnessed them the most profound horror and indignation, and should be, in some manner, officially brought to the notice of the Department of War. Some of the men of this command, while lying helplessly wounded within the lines of the rebels, were stripped of their clothing, robbed of everything, and their naked bodies left exposed to the inclemencies of the weather until rescued by the advance of our column. Such brutalities, more in keeping with the customs of heathens and savages, than countenanced by the usages of even semi-barbarous tribes, should call down upon the quasi-authority which recognizes them the reprobation and anathema of the civilized world.
The following statements of the strength of my command, the number of casualties, of captures made from, and injuries inflicted upon, the enemy in the respective engagements, are respectfully submitted. The losses in my front line on Lookout Mountain were severe and Whitaker had over 50 casualties.