« ElőzőTovább »
Craven House where they made a short stand. This was at 12 M. Their lines having been broken, Osterhaus and Wood could cross the creek and move up on their right flank and Geary's men on their front drove them back to the rocks near the Summertown road.
The Second Brigade was ordered to move close to the palisade on the east side. The slope was too steep to move on in line and we faced to the right, the Twenty-ninth leading, moved by the flank on a narrow path close to the wall of rock, the path admitting not more than two men abreast, a distance of five hundred yards, and were on the left flank of the enemy's line which was some two or three hundred yards below us. An order came to halt as we were far beyond our line. We captured four prisoners, skirmishers, and were closing up to arrange to open fire on the enemy below, when the heavy cloud came on the mountain and we could not see a man thirty paces from us.
Where we halted there was a ridge on which I could form three companies and we dug steps and piled rocks making a defence against any movement of the enemy from the Summertown road, which I felt certain we were near.
The other companies rested with their backs against the palisade. A body of troops of the enemy advanced on our right and held a position behind a ridge and kept us engaged in holding them back. There was considerable firing between the two sides far below us, but the enemy were only endeavoring to hold the position until they could move their material from the top of the mountain.
If it had been possible to see ahead we could have moved on and captured all that was above the palisade. We lay in this position until 10 o'clock P. M., when, supposing we were tired out, other troops were sent to relieve us and we were ordered to move back to the west side of the mountain.
The palisade mentioned is a solid wall of rock surmounting the slope for many miles. The only ascent as a road is on the east side, called the Summertown road. The wall is from sixty to one hundred feet high.
In looking over the report of the officer commanding the reserve following in our rear at a distance of three or four hundred yards, I find it necessary to repeat most emphatically a portion of my statements.
During the movement on the mountain from the beginning to the end of the battle the right of the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania Regiment moved as close to the palisade as it was possible for men to move, and not a man passed between us and the wall of rock. No rebels were left behind the first line for the reserve to fight, and not a man of our troops at any time was on the right or in the front of the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment. At noon, that is 12 o'clock M., the flag of the Twentyninth Pennsylvania was close to the wall of rock where our tablet is placed. In passing around on the east side of the mountain we were close against the palisade and in advance of all other troops; which position we held until 10 o'clock P. M., when we were ordered to move back.
Firing had ceased and the Confederates had been moving down the Summertown road to leave the mountain.
The Twenty-nirth Pennsylvania held the extreme right and the highest position gained on the day of the battle. I objected to moving back from the position we had obtained as I was satisfied that the enemy were only holding on until they could get off the top of the mountain and that as soon as that was done Lookout Mountain was in our possession. But it would have been an act of insubordination to refuse to obey the order.
At day break on the morning of the 25th some of my men who had been looking around came to me and said they had found a ladder in a nook or crevice of the palisade which led to the top. I immediately went with them and went up the ladder. It was in two parts, the first led to a ledge from which another led to the top. I went up to the top of the mountain. It was now getting light enough to see over the face of it. There was not a man in sight. I went to the point under the large rock standing like an umbrella, and then to the cast side and found we had been within two hundred yards of the road down the mountain, the day before. An officer and some seven or eight men came up the road with a flag, and waved it over the crest and there was a great hurrah from those below. The officer was from the Eighth Kentucky Regiment. The morning was clear; the fog of the 24th had disappeared. The rebels had crossed over Chattanooga Creek and were burning the bridge.
The sun rose bright over Missionary Ridge and firing had commenced there. Captain W. L. Stork of my regiment, acting aid on the staff of General Geary, came up the ladder, bringing the division flag.
The Eighth Kentucky Regiment came up the Summertown road and took charge of the property left by the rebels. Descending by the ladder I rejoined the regiment and was ordered to march.
We moved over the point of the mountain and down the Summertown road, rebuilt the bridge over Chattanooga Creek and, ascending Missionary Ridge at Rossville, struck the Confederates on their left flank, capturing a number and driving their army from the ridge.
On the 26th followed the enemy and struck their rear at Pea Vine, capturing some prisoners and several pieces of artillery.
On the 27th they made a stand at Ringgold, forming their line on Taylor's Ridge. After a hard fight they were driven off, but the loss in our division was greater than in the battle of Lookout Mountain.
As officer of the day, I went with General Hooker to General Grant's quarters. General Hooker wanted to follow the Confederates who were in sight and delayed with their trains stuck in the mud. But General Grant said if he could go forward without fighting he might go. When we came out General Hooker said it reminded him of the man who told the boy he might go in to swim but he must not go near the water.
Orders were issued to leave Ringgold at 2 o'clock A. M., December 1, but to burn all mills, depots and public property. Just before starting it was said there was a mill beyond the gap which had not been destroyed and General Geary asked for volunteers to go and burn it. Three
men of the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania stepped out and went to destroy the mill.
We started, crossed the Chickamauga at sunrise, through Rossville Gap around the foot of Lookout Mountain on the railroad, and reached our camp at the foot of Raccoon Mountain in Lookout Valley at 3.30 P. M., December 1, 1863.
I cannot say too much in praise of the officers and men of my regiment. Where all did their full duty it would seem invidious to make distinctions. But will say I am proud of having the honor to command such a regiment.
On the call for regiments to re-enlist for a second term of three years, the Twenty-ninth promptly answered the call and were re-enlisted and mustered in as veteran volunteers on December 9, 1863,-the first veteran volunteer regiment in the United States service.
On December 12, we started home on veteran furlough. General Geary had the division paraded to give us a parting salute and sang "Auld Lang Syne."
In Louisville the men were paid and drew new clothing and overcoats, and did not look like the war-worn veterans of the week previous.
We arrived in Philadelphia on December 22, and received a glorious reception by the citizens and military and enjoyed their Christmas holiday very much.
After the furlough, with many new recruits, we returned to the field, by way of Pittsburg, Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville by train and marched from Nashville, rejoining the division at Bridgeport, from which, with Second Division of old Twelfth Corps, we were consolidated with the Eleventh Corps and called Twentieth, very much to our discontent. We took up the march in the Georgia campaign, participating in all the battles of that memorable march.
At Kenesaw mountain I was wounded and laid out for dead but, my constitution being stronger than Confederate shot, I am still alive and able to be with you to-day and assist in the ceremonies which record your honor.
Comrades, I have spoken thus far to prove our claim to the honorable position we hold,-a position which the government has recognized and acknowledged by authorizing the placing on the high point of Lookout Mountain the bronze tablet on which is inscribed the record which entitles us to that honor.
Our great State of Pennsylvania, ever ready to support our national
expense of the monuments placed to designate the action of its immediate citizens who were engaged here and has also furnished transportation to the survivors that they may be present at the dedication of the monuments erected to preserve the memory of the days that tried men's souls.
The rough hewing is over and time is giving the finer finish to the end. And when we shall have answered the last muster calls, and our posterity views these mementos of the past trouble, they will invoke blessings on
the men who offered their lives to preserve to them this glorious heritage of one country and one flag.
NOTES FROM RECORDS OF THE WAR OF THE REBELLION,
SERIES 1, VOL. 31, PART 2, SERIAL NO. 55.
Headquarters Eleventh and Twelfth Corps,
Lookout Valley, Tenn., November 24, 1863. Brigadier General Geary,
Commarding Division: The major general commanding directs that you hold your command in readiness to march at daylight. The general is ordered to take Lookout Mountain. He also desires that you will cross Lookout Creek just above Wauhatchie near the mill. After crossing Lookout Creek, march down the valley, sweeping every rebel from it. A corresponding crossing will be made down here. Make your movements with the utmost rapidity. General Whitaker is instructed to march to Wauhatchie and there report to you.
W. H. LAWRENCE, Major and Aid-de-Camp.
Lookout Valley, November 24, 1863, 11 A, M. Major General Reynolds:
I am in condition to cross the creek, but as it will be attended with some considerable loss, I have deemed it advisable to await the arrival of Geary's command down its right bank before doing so. I think he will be up as early as 12 o'clock.
JOSEPH HOOKER, Major General Commanding.
Lookout Valley, November 24, 1863, 12.15 P. M. Major General Reynolds:
The valley is now clear. General Geary's division is on the crest of the slope of Lookout Mountain.
JOSEPH HOOKER, Major General Commanding.
Page 692, Extract from report of Brigadier General E. C. Walthall, C. S. Army:
The Twenty-seventh and part of the Twenty-fourth Mississippi Regiment were put in position in rear of the picket line where, being sheltered from the enemy's small arms and reserving their fire till the regiments and pickets in front had passed behind them in falling back, they delivered a destructive fire upon the advancing lines. The front line wavered and was then broken at one point, but after falling back a short distance it was soon reformed and despite my rapid and well directed fire moved steadily and unwaveringly forward, pressing heaviest on my extreme left. Many officers and men were captured because they held their position so long as to render escape impossible.
ADDRESS OF CAPTAIN LOUIS R, FORTESCUE.
MOMRADES of the Twenty-ninth Regiment:--Nearly thirty-four years
have passed since you, remnant of a glorious command, charged
among these rocks and boulders, and after a heroic struggle planted your regimental colors upon the apex of Lookout Mountain. How much of your success was due to the efforts of other commands engaged in the assault we cannot now rehearse. That they assisted in the triumph and added inspiration to the movements, thereby increasing the distrust in the minds of the enemy as to their ability to withstand the onset, there can be no question of a doubt. But of this we do know and can therefore speak authoritatively, that the colors of your regiInent were the first to reach and occupy the crest of the mountain, where the enemy had supposed themselves to be securely posted.
Therefore much credit is due to the various commands participating in the charge and who by many acts of individual courage made possible the consummation of such a result; and all honor is due to the Twentyninth Regiment for their indomitable and intrepid heroism in leading in the attack and in maintaining that lead until the accomplishment of the object.
It was a notable victory; your line pressing forward to attack an enemy sheltered behind trees, earth and everything that would hide them from the advancing columns, while yourselves, unprotected in any manner, were compelled, thus exposed, to seek the foe and drive him from point to point.
In all of the campaigns following this achievement your regiment bore a conspicuous part, bearing the white star of the Twentieth Corps wherever the resolute and invincible Sherman directed its movements.
It was but a short time after this, when nearing the completion of your original term of enlistment, that the subject of re-enlisting for the war engrossed your attention and your prompt and enthusiastic response to the appeal of the government marks an important epoch in this regiment's history. The announcement of your desire to continue in the service until the end of the war was made on the 8th day of December (the official date in the War Department), and this fact stands as a monument to your lofty patriotism and zeal in behalf of the nation when sacrifices, such as this typified, were needed to strengthen the cause in which you were engaged.
It was a grand and glorious privilege to have thus testified to the depth of your devotion by being the first regiment to respond and the auspicious example, so fittingly displayed, bore its fruits a hundred fold in the spontaneous acceptance by others, at the government's suggestion, and their quickened desire to be sharers in the distinction and nobleness of jurpose your unselfish act had inspired.
It spoke volumes for your gallantry at so trying a period and deserves to be, and should be, commemorated in some enduring manner by the authorities at Washington, at Harrisburg, or by the city of Philadelphia, the home of this regiment, as an example of bravery and courage of which all should be justly proud.
Conirades; it is with pleasure that I greet you on this occasion. Here let us renew our fealty to each other. How few remain of the vast numbers that formed the organization of which we are the survivors."