General William F. Smith in person. A pontoon bridge was also built at the same time over Chickamauga Creek, near its mouth, giving communication with the two regiments left on the north side, and fulfilling a most important purpose at a later stage of the drama.
I will here bear my willing testimony to the completeness of this whole business. All the officers charged with the work were present and manifested a skill which I cannot praise too highly. I have never beheld any work done so quietly, so well, and I doubt if the history of war can show a bridge of that extent (viz, 1,350 feet) laid down so noiselessly and and well in so short a time. I attribute it to the genius and intelligence of General William F. Smith.
the steamer Dunbar arrived in the course of the morning, and relieved General Ewing's division of the labor of rowing across, but by noon the pontoon bridge was down and my three divisions were across with men, horses, artillery, and everything. General Jef. C. Davis' division was ready to take the bridge, and I ordered the columns to form in order to take Missionary Hills. The movement had been carefully explained to all division commanders and at 1 p. m. we marched from the river in three columns en echelon, the left, General Morgan L. Smith, the column of direction, following substantially Chickamauga Creek; the center, General John E. Smith, in column, doubled on the center at one-brigade intervals to the right and rear; the right, General Ewing, in column at the same distance to the right rear, prepared to deploy to the right on the supposition that we would meet an enemy in that direction.
Each head of column was covered by a good line of skirmishers with supports. A light, drizzling rain prevailed, and the clouds hung low, cloaking our movements from the enemy's tower of observation on Lookout. We soon gained the foot-hills. Our skirmishers crept up the face of the hill, followed by their supports, and at 3.30 p.m. we gained, with no loss, the desired point.
A brigade of each division was pushed rapidly to the top of the hill,and the enemy for the first time seemed to realize the movement, but too late, for we were in possession. He opened with artillery, but General Ewing soon got some of Captain Richardson's guns up that steep hill, and we gave back artillery, and the enemy's skirmishers made one or two ineffectual dashes at General Lightburn, who had swept around and got a farther hill, which was the real continuation of the ridge. From studying all the maps, I had inferred that Missionary Ridge was a continuous hill, but we found ourselves on two high points, with a deep depression between us and the one immediately over the tunnel, which was my chief objective point. The ground we had gained, however, was so important that I could leave nothing to chance, and ordered it to be fortified during the night. One brigade of each division was left on the hill, one of General Morgan L. Smith's closed the gap to Chickamauga Creek, two of General John E. Smith's were drawn back to the base in reserve, and General Ewing's right was extended down into the plain, thus crossing the ridge in a general line facing southeast.
The enemy felt our left flank about 4 p. m., and a pretty smart engagement with artillery and muskets ensued, when he drew off, but it cost us dear, for General Giles A. Smith was severely wounded and had to go to the river, and the command of the brigade then devolved on Colonel Tupper, One hundred and sixteenth Illinois, who managed it with skill during the rest of the operations.
At the moment of my crossing the bridge, General Howard ap-