War of the Rebellion: Serial 055 Page 0555 Chapter XLIII. THE CHATTANOOGA-RINGGOLD CAMPAIGN

Search Civil War Official Records

of this, mounting six guns, and Fort Jef. C. Davis, mounting three guns, in the engagement before Chattanooga on 23d, 24th, and 25th of November 1863:

At 12 m., November 23, the batteries in Fort Cheatham, consisting of five 20-pounder Parrot, seven 10-pounder Parrott, and six Napoleon, opened on the rebel camps to our front, discharging 25 rounds of shell from 20-pounder Parrott, 21 rounds of shell from 10-pounder Parrott, and 28 rounds of shell from Napoleon; total, 74 rounds. The effect of these discharges was to cause the army to evacuate a large portion of these camps.

November 24, during the day there were fired from the batteries at Fort Cheatham 92 shell, 50 rounds from 20-pounder Parrott, and 42 rounds from 10-pounder Parrott. These discharges were directed on the remaining camps in front, also on the east side of Lookout Mountain, where the rebels were engaged with our troops-then shelling the Rossville road-and also clearing the way for the advance of General Baird's command, advancing on the valley road from the tannery, and covering the crossing of this command over Chattanooga Creek. These discharges were accurate, and of great service in dislodging the enemy from General Baird's front. At 3 p. m. sent two 10-pounder Parrott to position at tannery in valley road.

November 25, the entire batteries of Fort Cheatham opened at daylight on rebel camps still standing; also on baggage train and on Missionary Ridge, discharging 60 rounds of shell from 20-pounder Parrotts.

During the three days' engagement there were 226 discharges from the guns at Fort Cheatham and 11 from Fort Jef. C. Davis; in all, 237.

The many imperfections in the ammunition furnished for the 20 and 10 pounder Parrott diminished much the amount of execution that might have been made by these admirable guns during the first day's fight. Confident that a part of this evil could be rectified, I directed all the remaining shells to be carefully examined; the dirty, dusty powder used for filling to be replaced by rifle powder, and then recapped. After this the explosion of shells was more satisfactory; but yet there is a constitutional defect in the shape and action of the cap-plunger, which calls for improvement before delivery for use in front of an enemy. It is too small and upsets in the flight of the projectile.

The time-fuses are and have proved equally defective, composition unequal in mixture, and explosion thereby entirely unreliable.

The Bormann fuse, so highly esteemed for accuracy, is also defective for the same reason, and also from the breaking through of the thin partition, causing an explosion for the longest range about the time of the shortest. The time-fuses are also defective in the manner of attaching the meal powder, which ignites the fuse composition. This powder apparently is stuck in with mucilage, which, forming a glazing to the powder, forbids ignition, the only remedy for which is, before discharging, to dip the fuse in alcohol or turpentine, which, as a necessary accessory, is not always on hand.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. H. STOKES,

Captain, Commanding Right Batteries.

Captain LOUIS J. LAMBERT,

Assistant Adjutant-General.