Its summit was only accessible for a distance of twenty miles up the valley, by two or three trails admitting the passage of but one man at a time, and these were securely held. Its palisaded crest and steep, rugged, rocky and deeply furrowed slopes seemed of themselves to present insurmountable obstacles to the advance of an assaulting column; to these were added almost interminable, well-planned and well-constructed defences. But a demonstration was to be made upon it.

On the 24th of November, the Twenty-ninth Regiment was ordered to report at division headquarters, without knapsacks and with one day's rations, for the purpose of joining in the assault. The Second Division marched to Wauhatchie Junction at five in the morning, where the troops, to form the party, were drawn up between the railroad and the creek, the Second Brigade, composed of the Twenty-ninth and One hundred and eleventh Pennsylvania (the One hundred and ninth being left to guard the camp), on the right, the Third Brigade in the centre and the First Brigade on the left. The pioneers and a detail from the Twentyninth built a bridge across the creek, and the movement commenced at seven and a half o'clock A. M. The column advanced up the side of the mountain until the Twenty-ninth reached the wall of rocks which surmounts the slope, when it fronted and advanced in line of battle extending from the crest to the flat near Lookout Creek; Whitaker's Brigade of the Fourth Corps followed as a second supporting line, at a distance of three or four hundred yards.* The side of the mountain is cut in deep

lent order, the men scrambling over the obstructions and keeping their places in the line with an unabated ardor. Colonel Rickards deployed Companies C and E, Captains Millison and Sorber, as skirmishers, and soon met the skirmishers of the enemy, who became very troublesome, firing from their coverts behind rocks and hedges. After advancing about a mile, the reserve of the enemy's first line was met and the firing became continuous. At this point, leading on his men with determined bravery, Captain Millison was wounded in the arm and side, and was carried from the field. The enemy now appeared on the right of the line firing through a gorge, and soon after a large body passed down a slope leading to the flank. The Twenty-ninth was immediately ordered to change front to rear on left company, which was executed with skill and steadiness, the enemy meeting a full front when he expected to fall upon our unprotected rear. Their first volley was fortunately too high, when, finding a force unterrified and ready to receive them, they threw

line was ordered to withhold its fire, when two hundred and seventy, including many officers, were sent to the rear. The left wing, changing front forward, and the right moving by the left flank, parallel to the crest of the mountain, the regiment again advanced. The enemy, secreted in the gorges and behind rocks, now began to surrender in squads of from five to fifty. The captures becoming so numerous as to require too many men to send sufficient guards with them, they were sent back to General Whitaker's command for safe transfer to the rear.

*Geary's Division, supported by Whitaker's Brigade of Cruft's Division, was ordered to proceed up the valley cross the creek near Wauhatchie, and then march down, sweeping the rebels from the right bank of the stream.-Military History of Grant, Badeau, page 488.

The line continued to advancet with surprising steadiness, and soon came in sight of the enemy's breast-works. The trees had been cut down with the expectation that they would form an insurmountable obstacle to further progress to an advancing column; but in the zeal and impetuousity of the troops, the obstruction was scarcely noticed, crawling beneath or clambering over as best they could, and clinging close to the White Star line. The ravine in the side of the mountain, which, from the opposite side of Lookout creek seemed an insignificant indentation, proved to be from fifty to one hundred feet, with precipituous sides. While the Third Brigade was attacking the enemy in the breast-works, the Second, which was far above them, pushed on to the point of the mountain where in the turn which it made it had the shortest line and arrived first, the colors of the Twenty-ninth being planted on the highest attainable point of the mountain, and from which the enemy was completely outflanked. They had thought their position unapproachable, and were holding in fancied security their stronghold in the clouds, when the White Star Division broke in to their rear, compelling the abandonment of their works and securing the virtual capture of the mountain. The Second Brigade halted here, but skirmishers were sent out, who, with those of the Third Brigade, captured two pieces of artillery which the enemy had posted on the hill east of the point. The Second Brigade was ordered to move on around the mountain, but found the hill too steep to move in line. Searching in vain for some pass by which to reach the heights above, it was met by a body of the enemy's skirmishers who were driven back and several captured. Advancing nearly half a mile, a heavy line of the enemy was discovered and dispositions were immediately made to attack upon the flank, while another line advancing from below, attacked in front; but heavy clouds settling down around the mountain so dense as to shut out the light of the midday, rendered it impossible to distinguish friend from foe.* Though much annoyed by sharpshooters from the opposite side and from the summit of the mountain, the command was ordered to cease firing and to fortify wherever space could be found for one stone to lay upon another. The friendly clouds so shfelded the men that only one was hit. The Twenty-ninth remained in this position until nine o'clock P. M., when it was relieved, and moving to the slope of the mountain the men sat down to their first meal for the day. The loss was three killed and six wounded. The enemy evacuated his works which had now become untenable, and fled . during the night. On the following morning a ladder was discovered which the enemy had used in climbing to the summit. Several parties from different regiments were dispatched, by direction of General Geary, to ascend, who carried a flag with them and unfurled it upon the topmost height. As it floated out upon ihe pure air of the mid-heavens, a cheer was sent up from the troops encamped below, awakening the echoes along all the hills, a fitting climax to the Battle Above the Clouds.

Simultaneously with these operations, the troops of Geary were pushing up the mountain; his right passed directly under the muzzles of the enemy's guns on the summit, climbing over ledges and boulders, up hill and down, dislodging the enemy wherever he attempted to make a stand.-Military History of Grant, Badeau, page 499.

*At two pelnck operations were arrested by darkness. The clouds which had moved over and enveloped the summit, and favored the movements of Hooker, had been gradu

was rounded, it was only from the rattle of musketry and the flashes of fire through the clouds, or the occasional glimpses of lines or standards, as the fog rose or fell, that those in the valley could trace the progress of the battle. At four, Hooker informed his

line was impregnable, and commanded the enemy's defenses with an enfilading fire. Lookout Mountain was carried.-Military History of Grant, Badeau, page 500.

On the morning of the 25th, the brigade advanced diagonally across the Chattanooga Valley to Rossville Pass. The enemy was posted on Missionary Ridge, with artillery, resisting the advance of Thomas and Sherman. Moving north along the foot of the ridge, the brigade formed in line and advanced up the mountain till it had reached a point in the rear of the rebels, when, finding themselves surrounded they began to throw

*Extract from General Hooker's Official Report.

. During the night the enemy had quietly abandoned the mountain, leaving behind twenty thousand rations, the camp and garrison equipage of three brigades, and other material.


Major General Commanding. Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol 8, Docs., p. 213.

Extract from Gereral Thomas' Official Report.

• By four o'clock on the morning of the 24th, General Hooker reported his troops in position and ready to advance. Finding Lookout Creek so much swollen as to be impassable, he sent Geary's Division, supported by Cruft's two brigades to cross the creek at Wauhatchie and work down on the right bank, while he employed the remainder of his force in constructing temporary bridges across the creek on the main road. The enemy being attracted by the force on the road until his column was directly on their left and threatened their rear. Hooker's movements were facilitated by the heavy mist which overhung the mountain, enabling Geary to get into position without attracting attention. Finding himself vigorously pushed by a strong column on his left and rear, the enemy began to fall back with rapidity; but his resistance was obstinate, and the entire point of the mountain was not carried until about two P. M., when General Hooker repurted by telegraph that he had carried the mountain as far as the road from Chattanooga Valley to White House. Soon after his main column coming up, his line was extended to the foot of the mountain, near the mouth of Chattanooga Creek. . . . Continuous and heavy skirmishing was kept up in Hooker's front until ten at night, after which there was an unusual quietness along our whole front. . . . Instructions were sent to General Hooker to be ready to advance, on the morning of the 25th, from his position on the point of Lookout Mountain to the Summertown road and endeavor to intercept the enemy's retreat, if he had not already withdrawn, which he was to ascertain by pushing a reconnoissance to the top of Lookout Mountain. The reconnoissance was made as directed and it was ascertained that the enemy had evacuated during the night.


Major General Commanding Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol. 8, Docs., p. 205.

down their arms and surrender. * An entire brigade was here captured and its vacated quarters were occupied by the victorious column. On the following morning the command returned to the Rossville pass, moving through, crossed Chickamauga Creek at dark, attacking the rear of the enemy. At nine P. M., a heavy picket force of the enemy was met and captured with three brass pieces and several caissons. Remaining in line of battle during the night, at early dawn the pursuit was resumed. The roads were very heavy, and several caissons of Furguson's rebel battery, broken down and left by the way, were picked up. Heavy firing was heard in the direction of Ringgold, and the infantry was hurried forward, the artillery being detained for the building of the bridge across the Chickamauga. At the pass through Taylor's Ridge, near Ringgold, the enemy had made a stand, and was strongly posted in the gap in the form of the sides of an acute angle, and on the hills overlooking the town. The troops of the Fourth Corps were already engaged and had suffered severely. The First Brigade was ordered up the hill to the support of the regiments that had been driven back, but the enemy soon flanked their position and delivered a destructive fire, killing Colonel Creighton, Lieutenant Colonel Crane and many other officers and men. The Second Brigade was then ordered by General Hooker to position in a small chaparral in front of, and to the right of the railroad depot, with instructions to lie down, not to fire till the enemy came within short range, and to hold the position to the last extremity. The Twentyninth Iowa, occupying the right of the line, having lost its Colonel and being hard pressed, gave way, exposing the right flank; but at this juncture the Third Brigade came up, and following close the artillery, which was soon brought into position, ended the fight by a few well directed shells. The attack had been made with infantry alone, as the bridge across Chickamauga Creek could not be completed in time to bring up the artillery. The enemy made this stand for the purpose of gaining time for his trains to escape.

On the 29th, Colonel Rickards was ordered to proceed with his own regiment, Knap's Battery, and a train of twelve wagons to Chattanooga. A detail had been sent to take the severely wounded, by cars found standing upon the road, to Chickamauga Station. Having proceeded several miles over bad roads, an order was received to return with the battery, arriving again at Ringgold at dark after a hard and fruitless day's march. The regiment was quartered in the court house, the offces being occupied by the officers. By order of General Hooker, the engines of a mill in the vicinity of Ringgold were taken down and sent to Chattanooga, the work being performed by details from the Twentyninth. From Ringgold, Geary's Division returned around the foot of Lookout Mountain to its old camp in Lookout Valley, having been absent eleven days, ughting and marching over difficult roads, the men without blankets, and many without shoes.

*But such was the impetuosity of Hooker's advance that their front line was routed before an opportunity was allowed even to prepare a determined resistance. The bulk of the rebel left now sought refuge behind a second line, and thence was driven out, till the flight became almost a running one. -Military History of Grant, Badeau, page 513.

The proposition of the government for veteran volunteers was published early in December, and measures were immediately taken by the officers of the Twenty-ninth to have it mustered as a veteran organization. On the 9th of December, it was drawn up in line to receive the agents of the State of Pennsylvania, Dr. King, Surgeon General, Dr. Kennedy and Mr. Francis, sent by Governor Curtin, to look after the welfare of her soldiers. Eloquent speeches were made by each of them, which were responded to in behalf of the soldiers by General Geary. On the following day two hundred and ninety members of the regiment re-enlisted and were mustered for a second term as veterans, a number considerably in excess of that required to secure the continuance of the organization. The prompt action of the men secured to them the honor of forming the first veteran regiment in the service of the United States. On the 12th, the division was drawn up in line to give the regiment a parting salute, when the General expressed his high appreciation of its past services, and his regrets at parting with it, but commended their determination to become veterans.

On the 13th of December, the regiment moved by rail from Bridgeport, Alabama, and arrived in Philadelphia on the 27th. A committee of citizens met the train at White Hall, and upon its arrival in the city a salute was fired, and the military were out in large numbers for its escort to the National Guard Hall, where it was received in an address of welcome delivered by J. Price Wetherill, Esq. The streets were hung with evergreens and in many places where the procession was to pass, arches were erected and wreaths inclosing patriotic mottoes were suspended from prominent points, showing that the services of the soldiers had not failed of appreciation. After partaking of a fine collation at the Cooper Shop Refreshment Saloon, the men dispersed. The members of the regiment who had not been in the service three years and who had been left in the field, arrived on the 31st, having agreed to re-enlist after being two years in the service, and were given the same furloughs as veterans. During the veteran furlough the organization received many attentions from the people of Philadelphia. Bountiful entertainments were prepared for them on several occasions, and amidst the feasts and rejoicings of those days, alas! too short, they forgot their hard marches and their supperless nights.

Recruiting stations were opened in Philadelphia, and on the 29th of February, the regiment rendezvoused at Chester, where recruits were sent as fast as procured. On the 31st of March, the regiment, consisting of twenty-one officers and five hundred and eighty-eight men, moved by rail to Louisville, Kentucky, and thence to Sherman's army, preparing to move on Atlanta and destined to attract the attention of the civilized world by the brilliancy of its achievements. The first sound that greeted the ears of the men on emerging from the cars, was the booming of (annon in the direction of Tullahoma. On the 2d of April, the command

« ElőzőTovább »