Report of Lieutenant Colonel Frederick W. Lister, Thirty-first Ohio Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS THIRTY-FIRST OHIO VOLUNTEERS,
Chattanooga, Tennessee, December 1, 1863.
CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders from headquarters First Brigade, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment during the week ending November 29:
At 3 p. m. of the 23rd ultimo, I received orders to follow the brigade in its advance on the picket line to the right of Fort Negley. I was assigned to a position on the left of the front line, in which I remained until the brigade marched to the attack of Missionary Ridge on the 25th ultimo.
At daybreak on the 25th, information was brought to me that the enemy's pickets were no longer visible. I rode out to some distance within their lines, and discovering no signs of the enemy, I returned and reported the fact to the generals commanding the Third Division and the First Brigade.
I then took some men of my regiment and advanced farther toward the enemy's camps. After proceeding about a mile I found about a regiment of the enemy in breastworks, and some of the camps occupied by troops. I reported to the general commanding Fourteenth Corps, and by his permission I took one company of the Thirty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Lieutenant Wilkin commanding, and one company Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Captain Brown commanding, and deploying them as skirmishers, I advanced to within about 500 yards of the camps, which were being set on fire by the retreating enemy. I then discovered two regiments retiring slowly from the woods on my left, and afterward occupying the breastworks upon the hill-side in rear of their camps. Upon my return to our lines I found the brigade had marched with the remainder of the division to a position on the east of Fort Wood, where I rejoined them about 2 p. m. The brigade was formed in two lines, the Thirty-first on the left of the second line in double column.
The advance was ordered about 3.30 p. m., and the brigade at double-quick crossed the open ground to the foot of the ridge under a furious and well-directed fire of artillery and musketry. The nature of the ground being nearly precipitous and intersected by deep and narrow ravines, utterly precluded an attack in military formation. The strongest and bravest men reached the enemy's breastworks first, driving the rebels from them in utter confusion.
The colors of the Thirty-first, with those of the Eleventh Ohio, had the proud distinction of crossing the breastworks in their immediate front in advance of any others of the division.
Upon reaching the top of the ridge, I found the enemy in full retreat down the slopes on the east side, and at the same time received a severe fire from the enemy on the ridges running at right angles to the main one, which position enabled them to enfilade us. Lieutenant-Colonel Street, Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry; Captain Whedon, Eighty-second [Indiana]; Lieutenants Wilkin, Scott, and Adjutant Hayden, Thirty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with other officers with whose names I am unacquainted, but from every regiment of the brigade, here most gallantly aided me in rallying the men, and after nearly two hours' severe fighting we succeeded in