War of the Rebellion: Serial 055 Page 0558 Chapter XLIII. KY.,SW.VA.,Tennessee,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA.

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No. 183.

Report of Captain Josiah W. Church, First Michigan Light Artillery, commanding First Brigade, Second Division.


Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 28, 1863.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders from headquarters chief of artillery, Department of the Cumberland, requiring a report of the part taken by this brigade in the late battle, I have the honor to report as follows:

By orders from General Brannan, I moved my battery (Company D, First Michigan Artillery), composed of four 20-pounder Parrott and one 10-pounder Parrott guns to Fort Cheatham at about 12 m., on the 23rd instant. I opened fire on the enemy's camps in front and from 1 or 2 miles distant. I also delivered several shots at a small hill at the base of Lookout Mountain, which had the appearance of having a battery stationed inside of earth-works on its top. No fire was returned by the enemy during the day. I fired 25 rounds percussion and fuse shell, but had much difficulty in getting the fuse shell to burst. Not more than two-thirds of them burst during the day. I think the cause was dampness of the fuse.

November 24, at about 10 a. m., I opened fire on a small body of the enemy, about 1 1/2 miles distant, on the Rossville road. The first shell burst in their midst, driving them into the woods at a double-quick. I then fired at some detachments of men along the enemy's rifle-pits, at about 1 1/2 miles in my front.

This firing seemed to clear the entire line of rifle-pits, so far as could be seen from Fort Cheatham. I next opened fire on a line of the enemy's infantry on the ridge of Lookout Mountain, which runs parallel with and about two-thirds of the way up the side of the mountain. I burst several percussion shell in their lines, causing them to separate and go in different directions. At the time I commenced firing on this line it was on the way to meet General Hooker's forces, who were coming around the north end of Lookout Mountain. As the opposing forces became closely engaged, I ceased firing, for fear of doing damage to our own men. I soon after received orders from General Baird to open fire on the Summertown road to keep the enemy's forces from advancing on that road. In obedience to his order, I opened fire on the road and along the base of the mountain, and, as I then thought, and have since been informed by our forces on this side of Chattanooga Creek who were where they could see the effects of the shots, it was good; the fuse shell burst much better than before, caused, I think, by using spirits of turpentine on the fuses. During the day I fired 50 rounds. One of the pieces worked very badly, tearing the flanges off from the shell and throwing the shell end over end with bad effect. I did not use it but for a few rounds, as it endangered our infantry in our front.

November 25, as soon as the fog had cleared away from the front sufficiently to see the foot of Mission Ridge, Major-General Palmer directed me to fire at a wagon train that was moving along the road at the foot of the ridge. A few shots sufficed to stop the train. I then threw several shots at their camps, and then ceased firing until about 2 p. m., when I asked permission of Major-General Palmer to open on a battery on Mission Ridge to the left of General Bragg's headquarters.