War of the Rebellion: Serial 104 Page 0390 KY., S. W. VA., TENN., N. & C. GA., MISS., ALA., & W. FLA.

Search Civil War Official Records


Nashville, April 18, 1865.

Brigadier General W. A. NICHOLS,

Assistant Adjutant General, Washington, D. C.:

Have received General Orders, Numbers 69, War Department, of the 17th instant. Its requirements will be carried out throughout the department to-morrow.


Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.


Nashville, Tenn., April 18, 1865.

Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS,

Commanding Mil. Div. of the Miss. West of Alleghany Mountains:

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of my inspection of the defenses of Chattanooga and of the line thence to Bridgeport:


This city lies between Cameron Hill on the west and high ground on the east. Cameron Hill, nearly a mile long, rises abruptly from the low bank of the Tennessee and falls in a succession of spurs to the level of the plain toward Lookout Mountain. The high ground east of the city is much lower than Cameron Hill. It consists of several elevations stretching toward Mission Ridge, between one and two miles, till they are lost in the plain. The main lineof works inclosing Chattanooga consists of four redoubts, four batteries, and about two miles of infantry parapet, and rests its flanks upon the Tennessee. The redoubts and batteries have high commands and heavy parapets. Their ditches are six feet deep with scarp too steep generally to be run over. These four redoubts were designed with block-house keeps, three of which have been constructed. This interior defense serves as a bomb-proof, encourages the garrison to defend the parapet till the last moment, and enables them from their loop-holed citadel to drive the successful assailant back into the ditch. When well covered from fire and substantially built it is a great accession to a redoubt. The parapets of thaw works around Chattanooga, excepting only that of Fort Jones, have been cheaply reverted with boards and scantling. In Battery Erwin and on the river front of Fort Carpenter embrasures have been constructed. All other guns deliver their fire en barbette. By this arrangement a good command is attained, but the exposure would be too great in close attack. In the advanced works embrasures should have been constructed. Forts Crutchfield and Lytle, the battery next toward the railroad, and Battery Erwin are finished. Fort Jones has so far progressed that its battery in the salient can be used if necessary. The left face is but half completed and the gorge has not yet been commenced. Reverting the parapet with dressed stone has delayed this work. Lunette O'Meara, through not quite finished, is available. Battery Bushnell is in an unfinished state. The infantry entrenchment where completed has the same steep ditch and cheap revetment as the redoubts. With the exception of the break in the line on either side of Fort Jones this entrenchment around the city, through in several places unfinished, is a serious obstacle to pass under the close fire of the contiguous batteries and that of the line, itself, even through thinly manned. In truth, this single defensive