MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of my command
since its temporary assignment to the Fifteenth Army Corps:
The command arrived in Memphis, Tenn., from Helena, Ark., September 29,
and remained until October 6, waiting for camp equipage from Vicksburg, Miss.
In compliance with orders from Major-General Sherman, then commanding
corps, I moved, October 7, by rail, to Glendale, Miss., the Third
Brigade, General Matthies commanding. The remainder of the command, First
and Second Brigades, owing to the limited capacity of the railroad, did
not reach Glendale until October 10.
General Matthies was ordered to proceed to Burnsville the same day, which
point he reached at 11 a.m., the duty assigned him being to guard the
railroad then being repaired to Iuka. I remained at Glendale with First
and Second Brigades until October 17, when, in compliance with orders, I
marched to Burnsville, reaching that point at 12 m.
At this point received 100 wagons to organize a supply train for my
command. Marched from Burnsville to Iuka, October 19, arriving at 3 p.m.,
where I turned over to Second Division, in Compliance with orders from
Major-General Sherman, 50 wagons.
October 20, ordered to organize supply and ammunition train and move
across Bear Creek on the 21st. Wagons were not furnished by the corps
assistant quartermaster until 11 p.m. of the 20th. Most
of the wagons, mules, and harness supplied were
unserviceable, rendering our future marches very difficult.
October 21, moved across Bear Creek, Ala., remaining in camp until the
23d, when we moved to Dickson's Station, 4 miles from camp on Bear Creek,
leaving one regiment, the Fourth Minnesota, to protect the bridge across
Bear Creek, and the pioneer corps to assist Colonel Flad, commanding
engineer regiment, in repairing railroad.
October 29, received orders from Major-General Sherman to march to
Chickasaw, where we arrived at 1 p.m. Commenced crossing the Tennessee
River October 30, at 10 a.m. The Second Brigade, Colonel Raum commanding,
succeeded in getting across, and was ordered to move out from Waterloo to
Gravelly Springs, and there await the remainder of the command. Owing to
the limited means for crossing the river, the First and Third Brigades
did not get over until November 1. I marched with First Brigade and
supply train, leaving Waterloo at 3 p.m., arriving at or near Gravelly
Springs at 9 p.m., where I learned that Colonel Raum had been ordered
forward to Florence by Major-General Sherman.
November 2, marched to Florence, leaving Third Brigade to follow. Arrived
at Florence at 2 p.m., and ordered Second Brigade to move out to Shoal
Creek, a distance of 7 miles, with orders to march early next day.
November 3, marched to Second Creek, distance 20 miles. November 4,
marched to Rogersville, distance 4 miles, where we came up with the
Fourth Division, which was in advance and unable to cross Elk River. The
brigades of my command closed up at this point; moved out on Pulaski road
at 12 m.; arrived at Anderson's Creek at 4 p.m. The Second Brigade still
in advance was ordered to camp on Sugar Creek.
November 5, moved from Anderson's Creek at 5 a.m., reached Sugar Creek,
distance 6 miles, at 7.30 a.m. Second Brigade unable to move, Fourth
Division having the road. Left Sugar Creek at 11 a.m., and arrived at
Gilbertsborough at 3 p.m.
November 6, marched at 6 a.m., arriving at Brown's Mills, Richland Creek,
at 11 a.m.; distance, 9 miles.
November 7, moved forward at 6 a.m. in direction of Fayetteville, and
camped at 4 p.m. on Bradshaw Creek.
November 8, marched to Cane Creek; distance, 12 miles.
November 10, marched to Gum Springs, arriving at 3.45 p.m.; distance, 14
November 11, moved at 6 a.m., arriving near Winchester at 5 p.m. and
camped; distance, 22 miles.
November 13, moved at 6 a.m.; reached University Switch at 3.30 p.m. and
camped; distance, 16 miles.
November 14, moved from camp at 6 a.m. and camped on Sweeden's Creek at 4
November 15, moved from camp at 7 a.m. and arrived at Bridgeport at 11.30
a.m.; distance, 9 miles. Remained in camp until the 18th, when, in
compliance with orders received on the night of the 17th from
Major-General Sherman, I marched with all the supplies I could get (no
forage to be had), leaving our camp equipage and extra baggage. The
command moved in the direction of Chattanooga, marched 11 miles, and went
November 20, marched to Brown's Ferry. First Brigade crossed and
encamped. I reported to Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant, and was ordered
to move my command up on the Dallas road, about 4 miles above
Chattanooga, and go into camp in the valley near the Tennessee River
before daylight, which was accomplished, although the Second Brigade was
6 miles in the rear. Remained in camp until the night of the 23d of
November, when, in compliance with orders received from Major-General
Sherman, I moved, at 12 o'clock, to the bank of the Tennessee River,
nearly opposite the mouth of East Chickamauga Creek, in readiness to
cross the river in pontoon-boats.
At about 1.30 a.m. on the 24th, the boats arrived, and the First Brigade,
followed by the Third and Second Brigades, crossed in perfectly good
order. Upon reaching the opposite bank, in compliance with instructions
previously received, Colonel Alexander, commanding First Brigade,
deployed the Fourth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, Lieut. Col. J. E.
Tourtellotte commanding, as skirmishers, so as to cover the brigade
front, while the remainder of the First and Third Brigades intrenched
themselves as rapidly as possible, so that by daylight, when the Second
Brigade had crossed, the whole command was perfectly secure behind a good
line of works. Daylight revealed a second ridge about 500 yards in
advance of the first line. I ordered the command forward, and they again
intrenched themselves. At this point Colonel Tourtellotte reported to his
brigade commander the enemy's cavalry picket taken by his skirmishers.
The Fourth Division having crossed the river, and taken the position
assigned it on my right, I withdrew the Second Brigade, formed in column
of regiments, to protect the right flank, and placed them in rear of my line.
At about 1 p.m. I received orders to advance my column, formed by
division. The skirmishers advanced steadily without much opposition until
they gained the summit on the left of Missionary Ridge, where they met
with quite spirited opposition, but soon drove the enemy's skirmishers
from the ground. The First and Third Brigades were formed in two lines,
the Second in reserve, and ordered to intrench themselves. One section of
the Sixth Wisconsin Battery was ordered up to the hill, but owing to the
poor condition of the horses it was found impossible to get it up without
the assistance of the infantry. A detail of 200 men from the First
Brigade soon had the guns in position on the right of our line. These
dispositions being made, about 5 a.m., in compliance with orders from
Major-General Sherman, and in anticipation of an attack through the
valley at the base of the ridge, I moved down with the Second and Third
Brigades and placed them under cover of the woods, ready to act in any
emergency that circumstances might require.
I remained in this position, without receiving any orders, until 11 a.m.
of the 25th, when Brigadier-General Ewing, commanding Fourth Division, on
my right, sent to me for one brigade to enable him to close a gap in the
valley, not covered by his men. Fearing that the enemy might attack at
that point, I at once ordered the Third Brigade, Brigadier-General
Matthies commanding, to report to General Ewing. An hour later General
Ewing sent for another brigade when I promptly ordered out the Second
Brigade. Colonel Raum commanding, to report to him. Following I found the
Second Brigade placed in position on the right and about 20 paces in
front of General Ewing's line of intrenchments, covering a position of
his (General Ewing's) command to the extent of one-half of the Second
Brigade front. I at once called upon General Ewing for an explanation
of the disposition of my command, and reported to
Major-Gen-eral Sherman, who approved of the disposition. I learned that
General Matthies had been ordered to support Colonel Loomis, who had
advanced to a point up the valley, opposite the tunnel. I at once rode
out to the front with my staff officers to examine the position of the
enemy, and felt confident that he would not abandon his position to
attack us in the valley, and supposing General Matthies to be supporting
Colonel Loomis, I sent him an order by Captain Lydick, one of my aides,
not to advance until he received orders from me. The enemy at this time
were moving in the direction of the center in great force, and had four
pieces of artillery in position, commanding Tunnel Hill. At about 2 p.m.
I saw troops ascending Tunnel Hill, which I then supposed to be Colonel
Loomis' brigade, and at the same time discovered the enemy had
about-faced on the ridge, and were moving back to Tunnel Bill in solid
column. I at once sent one of my aides, Captain Osborne, to inform
General Ewing that the enemy were massing in large force on Tunnel Bill,
and at the same time was informed that it was General Matthies' brigade
that was ascending the hill. Being informed that the Eleventh Army Corps
were making an attack in the rear, I at once ordered Colonel Raum to the
support of General Matthies, who had now nearly reached the summit
followed by Colonel Raum, and were contesting the ground for nearly an
hour, when the enemy, heavily massed, charged upon our lines, at the same
time bringing a gun within 200 yards of our right flank, and discharged
several rounds of grape into ranks, which compelled the two brigades to
fall back with heavy loss.
The Tenth Missouri Infantry, Colonel Deimling commanding, continued to
engage the enemy with effect, until they were withdrawn. It is believed
that all our wounded were recovered, although some of them not until next
November 26, in compliance with orders received from Major-General Blair,
I followed the Eleventh Army Corps in pursuit of the enemy, arriving at
Graysville, Ga., November 28; nothing of interest transpired except the
capture of a few stragglers, 28 in number; reported to the
provost-marshal. I could pursue no farther for want of supplies, and was
ordered to return to camp near Chattanooga. There were 480 stand of arms
of various caliber, together with accouterments, picked up on Tunnel
Hill, and turned over to the ordnance officer at Chattanooga.
Our burial parties report 107 rebels buried on the hill, from which it
will be seen that their casualties were larger than ours, which are 89
killed, 288 wounded, and 122 missing (see detailed report(*) forwarded).
Twenty-five of our wounded reported have died in hospital since we left
Chattanooga. And while rejoicing at our success over the enemy, we
sympathize with the bereaved at home, trusting that the time will soon
come when such sacrifice of life for the maintenance of our country and
flag will be no longer required.
I am much indebted to Brig. Gen. C L. Matthies, commanding Third Brigade,
Col. J. I. Alexander, commanding First Brigade, and Col. G. B. Raum,
commanding Second Brigade, as well as to the field and line officers of
the division, for their hearty co-operation, and to the men for their
cheerful compliance with all orders; their endurance amid the discomforts
of an active campaign, without food, at times during
forty-eight hours, without a murmur, bespeaks for them the highest
consideration as soldiers.
Col. J. I. Alexander's long service and soldierly qualities entitle him
to the highest consideration of the honorable Secretary of War, to whom I
respectfully recommend him for promotion. Also, to my staff, Capt. M.
Rochester, assistant adjutant-general; Capts. M. II. Lydick and S. M.
Budlong; Lieuts. C. L. White and O. Lovell, all of whom sustained their
previous reputation won on the fields of Don-elson, Shiloh, Corinth,
Iuka, Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion's Hill, and Vicksburg, for
the intrepid and efficient manner in which they discharged their duties.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN E. SMITH,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.