War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0089 Chapter LXIV. ENGAGEMENT AT WAUHATCHIE, TENN.

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OCTOBER 18-29, 1863.-Engagement at Wauhatchie, Tenn.

Report of Brigadier General Henry L. Benning, C. S. Army, commanding brigade.


November 4, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the participation of this brigade in the action of the 28th beyond Lookout Creek:

It was, I think, about 8,30 or 9 p. m. when the brigade reached the railroad, having crossed the mountain since dark. There it was halted, and I was informed by the brigadier-general commanding the division that Law's brigade had already crossed the creek at the lower bridge; that Robertson's was then crossing there; that these two brigades would be on the right of the line of battle, occupying ridges so as to command the road on the other side of the ridges and prevent the force of the enemy encamped on the right moving up that road to the assistance of the force encamped on the left when that should be attacked; that it would be attacked by Colonel Bratton with Jenkins' brigade; that Jenkin's brigade was already across the creek, having crossed it at the upper bridge, and was advancing toward the enemy's force encamped on the left; that my brigade must follow Colonel Bratton and occupy the crest of the hill in front of the bridge as soon as Colonel Bratton had passed the hill in marching forward, and that, connecting on the right with the two brigades on the right, I should co-operate with them in preventing the enemy's force on the right from moving up the road to the aid of that on the left. In an hour or two I was ordered to advance. I crossed the creek, adn had to halt again for some time till the troops in my front could get out of my way. At length my brigade ascended the ridge indicated and formed in line of battle on it. I discovered almost immediately that the road was too far off to be commanded from that line. The distance could not have been less than 300 yards, and the intervening ground was a thicklywooded mountain side, in some places very steep, the wood entirely excluding a view of the road. I thought the spirit rather than the letter of my instructions was to be obeyed, and therefore I advanced the brigade till it came within thirty yards of the road. There I halted again in line of battle. Shortly after assuming this position I received an order to march to the left to the railroad. I did so by the flank, thus leaving a wide gap between my brigade and the two on the right.

On arriving at the railroad the brigadier-general commanding informed me that he wished me to sellect the best position there for covering Colonel Bratton on his return from the attack on the left, whom he had ordered back, or was about to order back. I then placed my line in the road which passes to the right out of the road from the bridge and makes a short cut-off into the valley road from which I had come. Thus my line faced sufficiently toward the left to oppose any force moving from that direction, and yet on the right commanded a part of the valley road, by which it could intercept an attack from that side. Here I ordered a breast-work of rails to be erected as quickly as possible. A pretty good one was put up in a very short time. When this was about completed the pickets reported to me that the enemy were near on the right. I then turned the breast-work across the road at right angless, and ran it thirty or forty yards into the woods. The