War of the Rebellion: Serial 055 Page 0574 Chapter XLIII. KY.,SW.VA.,Tennessee,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA.

Search Civil War Official Records

peared, having come with three regiments from Chattanooga along the east bank of the Tennessee, connecting my new position with that of the main army in Chattanooga. He left the three regiments (which I attached temporarily to General Ewing's right) and returned to his own corps at Chattanooga. As night closed I ordered General Jef. C. Davis to keep one of his brigades at the bridge, one close up to my position,a nd one intermediate. Thus we passed the night, heavy details being kept busy at work on the intrenchments on the hill. During the night the sky cleared away bright and a cold frost filled the air, and our camp fires revealed to the enemy and to our friends in Chattanooga our position on Missionary Ridge.

About midnight I received, at the hands of Major Rowley, of General Grant's staff, orders to attack the enemy at 'dawn of day," and notice that General Thomas would attack in force early in the day. Accordingly, before day, I was in the saddle, attended by all my staff; rode to the extreme left of our position, near Chickamauga; thence up the hill held by General Lightburn, and round to the extreme right of General Ewing, catching as accurate an idea of the ground as possible by the dim light of morning. I saw that our line off attack was in the direction of Missionary Ridge, with wings supporting on either flank.

Quite a valley lay between us and the next hill of the series, and this hill presented steep sides, the one to the west partially cleared, but the other covered with the native forest. The crest of the ridge was narrow and wooded. The farther point of the hill was held by the enemy with a breastwork of logs and fresh earth, filled with men and two guns. The enemy was also seen in great force on a still higher hill beyond the tunnel, from which he had a fair plunging fire on the hill in dispute. The gorge between, through which several roads and the railroad tunnel pass, could not be seen from our position, but formed the natural place d'armes, where the enemy covered his masses to resist our contemplated movement of turning his right flank and endangering his communications with his depot at Chickamauga. As soon as possible the following dispositions were made:

The brigades of Colonels Cockerill and Alexander and General Lightburn were to hold our hill as the key point. General Corse, with as much of his brigade as could operate along the narrow ridge, was to attack from our right center. General Lightburn was to dispatch a good regiment from his position to co-operate with General Corse, and General Morgan L. Smith was to move along the east base of Missionary Ridge, connecting with General Corse, and Colonel Loomis in like manner to move along the west base, supported by the two reserve brigades of General John E. Smith.

The sun had hardly risen before General Corse had completed his preparations, and his bugle sounded the 'forward."

The Fortieth Illinois, supported by the Forty-sixth Ohio on our right center, with the Thirtieth Ohio, Colonel Jones, moved down the face of our hill and up that held by the enemy.

The line advanced to within about 80 yards of the intrenched position, where General Corse found a secondary crest, which he gained and held.

To this point he called his reserve and asked for re-enforcements, which were sent, but the space was narrow and it was not well to crowd the men, as the enemy's artillery and musketry fire swept the approach to his position, giving him great advantage.

As