Stewarts' Division's Reports

The key to understanding the success of Thomas' charge up
Missionary ridge at the Battle of Chattanooga 23-25 Nov. 1863

Alexander P. Stewart, Major-General CSA
(Click to see biography)
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Other reports from Union and Confederate commanders at this battle:
1. George H. Thomas

2. Ulysses S. Grant
3. Joseph Hooker
4. William T. Sherman
5. Peter J. Osterhaus
6. August Willich
7. Henry W. Halleck
------------
8. Braxton Bragg
9. Patrick R. Cleburne
10. Alexander P. Stewart [annotated by Bob Redman]
Introduction

Back in 1991 I knew little about the Civil War when a business trip took me to Chattanooga. I did know, or thought I knew, that Grant had saved the nation and had written Memoires of astounding literary quality. My client gave me a tour of the Chickamauga battlefield, and that afternoon I went to Chattanooga alone. I drove north along Missionary Ridge, starting at Rossville Gap, and stopped to read all of the unit tablets. By the time I reached Bragg Park, I already had an idea of what had happened. Then I  pressed the button on the display, and a recorded voice with a classic regional accent read an excerpt* from Bragg's report. I said to myself: "Wait a minute, this doesn't make sense! All morning long Bragg and his soldiers could see Hooker's troops march across the valley toward their left. They knew then the game was up!" At that moment I began a long quest to understand this battle and the man who directed the Union attack, whose name I had only come across in connection with Chickamauga – George H. Thomas. I began to read and learned that none of the modern writers understood what I had grasped after two hours of first hand observation. Namely, that before Thomas attacked in the middle, Hooker was attacking Bragg's left from the flank and the rear. The quest to understand this matter for myself became a campaign to also make other students of the Civil War understand. I participated in the forums, enduring much ugly vituperation, and then wrote a short article which nobody wanted to feature on an established website. So in 1998 I launched this website with the article which later grew into George H. Thomas and Politics in the Union army at the Battle for Chattanooga. Later still (around the year 2000), Jim Ogden, resident NPS historian at the Chickamauga battle park, showed me period maps and also told me about the recently published Stewart's Division's reports (present in the Chattanooga library) which prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that Hooker's attack from Rossville Gap, and especially General Peter Otserhaus' attack which brought him far behind the Confederate rear (almost to Bragg's HQ), made possible the success of Thomas' charge up the middle. Thomas had put Hooker there. There was no miracle.

* "Had all parts of the line been maintained with equal gallantry and persistence no enemy could ever have dislodged us, and but one possible reason presents itself to my mind in explanation of this bad conduct in veteran troops who had never before failed in any duty assigned them, however difficult and hazardous. They had for two days confronted the enemy, marshaling his immense forces in plain view, and exhibiting to their sight such a superiority in numbers as may have intimidated weak-minded and untried soldiers; but our veterans had so often encountered similar hosts when the strength of position was against us, and with perfect success, that not a doubt crossed my mind."


9. Alexander P. Stewart
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXI/2 [S# 55] NOVEMBER 23-27, 1863.--The Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign.
No. 247.-- Return of Casualties in Stewart's division.

<ar55_745>

[Compiled from brigade reports.] O=Officers. M= Enlisted Men. A= Aggregate
 .
Killed
Wounded
Missing
.
Command O M O M O M A
Adams' brigade (a)  4 24 89 224  357
Stovall's bigade (b) - 5 1 31  2 45 84
Clayton's brigade (c) - 21 4 96 27 679 827
Strahl's brigade (b)   3  13 11 82  6  144 259
Artillery Battalion (d) - - - - - - -
Escort company (e)  - - - 1 - 1 2
Grand total (*)  63  23 299 44 1,093 1,529
.
70
322
1,137
1,529


The actual division reports for this battle are not included in the OR's, but are to be found in Vol. 6, pp. 104-188 in the "Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies" from Broadfoot Publishing, 1996. However, if you consider the unusual ratio between casualties and "missing" (which point to some sort of panic or collapse), then you already have to wonder what Hooker's contribution to this collapse was. According to the reports in the Broadfoot supplements, quite a lot. The Union division commander Osterhaus claims to have captured 2000 prisoners behind Missionary Ridge. Judging from the figures above and the reports below he wasn't far off.
In addition, one of Stewart's regiments fled west from Hooker, only to be captured by the men of Johnson's division.

According to Jim Ogden, the Stewart's Division's Missionary Ridge reports have been in the collection of the Georgia Historical Society since early in this century, but were not recognized for what they were until the past decade. The Georgia Historical Society records do not make it clear exactly how the reports had been obtained.

But in fact, you don't need these reports in order to accurately interpret the figures in the above table, because the unit tablets on Missionary Ridge which have been around for a 100 years or so, tell the entire story. For example, the Stewart’s Division’s tablet at a point .4 of a mile south of Bragg’s headquarters states the following:


“In the afternoon of Nov. 25th its position was attacked on the left and left rear by Hooker’s command, and in front by the divisions of R.W. Johnson and Sheridan. Being thus compelled to yield position the division retreated toward Ringold.”

This is confirmed by the tablet below from the unit which attacked Stewart's division from the "left rear." Note that the tablet does not mention Osterhaus' immediate commander of that day. The unit was part of Sherman's Army of the Tennessee but was temporarily assigned to Hooker because it had been separated from Sherman's command by a break in the pontoon bridge over the Tennessee:
 

"This division, being the head of Gen. Hooker;s Column, reached Rossville from Lookout Mountain at 3 P.M. Nov. 25th. It pushed through the Gap which was defended by a small force of infantry and artillery and turned northward upon a road [in Bragg's report "the route...open to our rear," today Seminole Drive] runnng parallel to and about 1000 yards east of Missionary Ridge. After marching nearly a mile the command formed in echelons of brigades, the Second Brigade on the left the First on the right. They moved obliquely up the slope Missionary Ridge and carried the crest. The command bivouacked on the eastern slope of the ridge in the vicinity of Bragg's headquarters. The enemy's line against which it had been operating in co-operation with Cruft's and Geary's Divisions was held by the Division of Maj. Gen. Stewart.

In addition, on the ridge crest in Stovall's sector (about 1 mile from Bragg's HQ) there are other tablets which indicate that Hooker units were there at 5 PM.

Or you may consider this detail from a 1901 map issued by the War Department which has an arrow representing Osterhaus pointing right at Bragg's HQ: 


The above map does not agree with the Smith map of 1864 which accompanied Grant's battle report and did not indicate that Osterhaus was way ahead of the other two columns under Geary and Cruft, nor that Osterhaus got pretty close to Bragg's HQ, or whatever was left of it, from the rear. 

In any case, well before Hooker and Osterhaus got as far as they did, they were driving Confederate troops toward the center.

Well before Hooker and Osterhaus even got to Rossville Gap, the Confederate troops up on the ridge saw them coming and knew what it meant. Read the beginning of Bragg's report, the part nobody (but me) ever quotes because it calls into question the commonly accepted interpretation of this battle. Bragg was not stupid or incompetent, but he was outgunned, and also outgeneraled by the best general on either side in the war.

<ar55_664>
"On my return to this point, about 11 a.m., the enemy's forces were being moved in heavy masses from Lookout and beyond to our front, while those in front extended to our right. They formed their lines with great deliberation just beyond the range of our guns and in plain view of our position..."

<ar55_665> 
"By the road across the ridge at Rossville, far to our left, a route [today Seminole Dr.] was open to our rear."

"About this time I learned that our extreme left had also given way, and that my position was almost surrounded."

"All to the left, however, except a portion of Bate's division, was entirely routed and in rapid flight, nearly all the artillery having been shamefully abandoned by its infantry support. Every effort which could be made by myself and staff and by many other mounted officers availed but little. A panic which I had never before witnessed seemed to have seized upon officers and men, and each seemed to be struggling for his personal safety, regardless of his duty or his character."

Hooker's turning of Bragg's left flank is the key to the "miracle" of Missionary Ridge, and Thomas put him there against Grant's wishes. Here is Hooker's succinct summary which compliments Bragg's account:

<ar55_319>
The enemy had selected for his advance line of defense the breastworks thrown up by our army on its return from Chickamauga, but such was the impetuosity of our advance that his front line was routed before an opportunity was afforded him to prepare for a determined resistance. Many of the fugitives, to escape, ran down the east slope to the lines of Osterhaus, a few to the west, and were picked up by Geary. The bulk of them, however, sought refuge behind the second line, and they, in their turn, were soon routed, and the fight became almost a running one. Whenever the accidents of the ground enabled the rebels to make an advantageous stand, Geary and Osterhaus, always in the right place, would pour a withering fire into their flanks, and again the race was renewed. This continued until near sunset, when those of the enemy who had not been killed or captured gave way, and in attempting to escape along the ridge, ran into the arms of Johnson's division, of the Fourteenth Corps, and were captured.


DISCLAIMER
I scanned photocopies of the following pages and converted them them to text with OCR. Then I corrected the files, but I can't
guarantee that I caught all of the errors. Therefore, I advise readers to consult the original records before citing them.
 
 
Excerpts from Broadfoot's SUPPLEMENT TO THE OFFICIAL RECORDS
OF THE UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES, VOL. 6

Page 104

Report of Major-General Alexander Peter Stewart, C. S. Army, on the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, November 15,1863.

HEADQUARTERS, STEWART'S DIVISION,
BRECKINRIDGE'S CORPS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE, NEAR DALTON, GEORGIA,
December 14,1863.

SIR: During the afternoon of Tuesday, November 24, while the troops of this division were occupying the trenches commencing at Chattanooga Creek on the left and extending some mile or more to the right, Major-General [John Cabell] Breckinridge, commanding Corps, called upon me to furnish him a brigade with which he proposed to cross the creek to Lockout Mountain, in order to communicate with and withdraw [Carter Littlepage] Stevenson's Division. [Henry DeLamar] Clayton's Brigade, commanded during the absence of Brigadier-General Clayton by Colonel [James Thadeus] Holtzelaw, Eighteenth Alabama, was indicated for the duty, and Colonel Holtzelaw was

Page 105

directed to report to Major-General Breckinridge. From the report of Colonel Holtzclaw and his regimental commanders, it appears the brigade relieved those of [Edmund Winston] Pettus and [Edward Gary] Walthall on the eastern flank of the mountain about nightfall, engaged the enemy, driving him back some hundred yards with a loss of four killed, fifteen wounded and twelve missing, captured three prisoners, and withdrew about 2 o'clock a.m. on November 25, reaching Missionary Ridge and rejoining the division at sunrise.

In the course of the day, Tuesday, orders were received and issued to bring up the wagons and cooking utensils to the rear of the lines and prepare three days' rations; a subsequent order directed the wagons to be moved immediately across the Chickamauga and parked on the sides of the road. From an unfortunate misunderstanding of the object of these orders, Captain [E. H.] Ewing, Corps Quartermaster, ordered the wagons at once across the Chickamauga [without] giving time for them to load; moreover, those of [Daniel Weisiger] Adams' Brigade came up with five days' uncooked rations. From these causes a number of tents and flies and other quartermaster's stores were lost.

During Monday night, November [23], the ordnance trains of the division and brigades were moved from the west to the east side of Missionary Ridge.

After night of Tuesday, instructions were received to remove the troops from the trenches and form them on the ridge, to send two regiments and a battery to occupy and defend the gap in the ridge at Rossville, and to post a picket force in front of the ridge, with a reserve at its foot. The two largest regiments of [Marcellus Augustus] Stovall's Brigade, the Forty-second and Forty-third Georgia [Infantry], under command of Colonel [Robert Johnson] Henderson, Forty-second Georgia, and [Ruel Wooten] Anderson's [Dawson's Georgia] Battery were sent to Rossville, and something over half of [Otho French] Strahl’s Brigade [was] posted as pickets. The remainder of the division, consisting of Adams' and Clayton's Brigades, something near the half each of Stovall's and Strahl's, and three batteries were

Page 106

formed on the ridge to the right and left of the quarters of Major-General Breckinridge. I respectfully refer to the reports of Colonel Henderson and Captain Anderson for an account of the skillful manner in which the task assigned them was performed.

In the course of the forenoon of Wednesday, November 25, instructions were sent me to despatch a brigade to occupy a vacant space to the right of General Bragg's Headquarters. Adams' Brigade, from my extreme left was sent, reporting to Brigadier-General [James Patton] Anderson, commanding [Thomas Carmichael] Hindman's Division. Later in the day, perhaps about 2 o'clock p.m., orders were received to move the whole command to the right and to get Adams' Brigade with the division. While this movement was going on, General Breckinridge applied to me for a brigade and a battery with which to make a reconnaissance towards Rossville and directed that with the remaining fragment of the division the ridge should be occupied from the left of his own division (under General [William Brimage] Bate) to a short distance beyond his (General Breckinridge's) Headquarters, and for this purpose to form in one rank. Clayton's Brigade and [Lieutenant John W.] Rivers' Battery (First Arkansas) accompanied General Breckinridge, and the report of Colonel Holtzelaw and his regimental commanders, of Captain [Thomas J.] Stanford, Acting Chief of Artillery, and of [Lieutenant] Rivers are referred to for an account of what befell them.

This left me with only three regiments of Stovall's Brigade -- the Fortieth, Forty-first and Fifty-second Georgia; two of Strahl's -- the Nineteenth and Twenty-fourth Tennessee (the Fourth, Fifth, Thirty-first and Thirty-third being, as already stated, at the foot of the ridge as skirmishers), Adams' small brigade under [Randall Lee] Gibson, and Stanford's and [McDonald] Oliver's [Alabama] Batteries, the former commanded by Lieutenant [James S.] McCall, the latter by Lieutenant [William J.] McKenzie, with which to hold the space designated -- a distance, I should think, of at least a mile. The total number of muskets, from report of brigade commanders, was just

Page 107

1,774: viz. in Adams' Brigade, 684; in Nineteenth and Twenty fourth Tennessee, Strahl's Brigade, 349; in Fourth, Forty-first and Fifty-second Georgia, Stovall's Brigade, 741 -- total 1,1774. The balance of Strahl's Brigade, numbering 484 muskets at the beginning of the fight, subsequently came up the ridge, but they had previously been hotly engaged with the enemy, were nearly or quite out of ammunition, and many of them had been killed, wounded or captured.

In compliance with the orders, the command was moved again by the left flank. Brigadier-General Stovall, being on the left, was directed to form in one rank as he marched and to post his left at any suitable point beyond where Corps Headquarters had been located. Strahl's two regiments came next [and] were formed in one rank, following Stovall and taking post on his right, while Gibson was posted with his right at the orchard surrounding Army Headquarters, near the point where it was understood Bate's left would rest. After locating Gibson, I rode towards the left to put the artillery in position (my Chief of Artillery, Captain Stanford, having accompanied General Breckinridge at the request of Lieutenant-Colonel [James Henry] Hallonquist), and to close up any intervals. Oh reaching the batteries, which were standing in the road that passes along the top of the ridge and just beyond Gibson's left, it was discovered that the enemy's lines were rapidly approaching the ridge and driving in our skirmishers. The place where they Stood being a very good one for the guns, and seeing that not a moment was to be lost, they were directed to unlimber at once and open on the enemy. Oliver's Battery, the Eufaula, and one section of Stanford's were placed in the interval between Gibson and Strahl, the other section of Stanford's [being positioned] between the Nineteenth and Twenty-fourth Regiments of Strahl.

Waiting some minutes to observe their fire, I passed on towards the extreme left to see that it was properly posted and to close up any intervals by opening out my single ranks. The batteries filled up the space between Gibson and Strahl, and I was gratified to find, as I thought, that no gap existed in the line, the

Page 108

men on taking their places separating so as to form a continuous line. The line was engaged by the time I reached Strahl's right. Before reaching the left a messenger was hurried off to the ordnance train for ammunition and successively two others, word having already reached me from some of the troops that their ammunition was getting low.

The train has been parked on the east side of the ridge, a little beyond and in rear of the point where Stovall's left now rested. The officer in charge of it, Captain [John W. F.] Stewart, told me that riding to the top of the ridge and seeing a column of the enemy coming from towards Lookout directly upon him, he moved the trains to the right. The first messenger never returned, having been killed or captured by the enemy -- the other two found the train and caused ammunition to be brought up, though not until the supply in the cartridge boxes had become nearly exhausted. Passing Strahl's and Stovall's Brigades, they were found hotly engaged and standing firm. Orders were sent along the lines to fire deliberately, to be sparing of ammunition, and if the enemy approached, to use the bayonet.

Returning towards the right, a staff officer of the commanding General was met, who stated that the line had given way somewhere "on the right," and thus he had been sent to me for reinforcements to restore the break, as the only men, if any, that could be spared were on the left. An officer of my own staff was sent with him, with directions to take any men not needed there.

Passing further to the right, Colonel [Francis Marion] Walker, commanding Strahl's right regiment [Nineteenth Tennessee], stated that there was an interval beyond him, but not being aware of any change in Gibson's Brigade and knowing the artillery filled the space between the two when I left it, his statement did not make much impression upon me. It appears, however, from Colonel Gibson's report that, after forming his line, and while moving it up to the summit of the ridge, he closed to the right in obedience to orders from the commanding General, placing his center where, I supposed, his right would rest. This

Page 109

did create a larger gap between the two brigades, which was further increased by the artillery moving to the rear after the expenditure of the ammunition in their limber chests. A Florida regiment from the trenches below, the Sixth -- doubtless stragglers from that regiment -- were subsequently found by officers of my staff in rear of the point where Strahl's Brigade was reformed. [They] came into this interval, were followed by the enemy, gave way, and the enemy rushed in, taking Gibson and Strahl in reverse, leaving Colonel Walker, however, passing towards Goson's Brigade, to see the state of things for myself, I saw some men breaking from the line and hurried after them to bring them back. While rallying them and entreating them to return, my attention was directed to the top of the ridge where several of the enemy's flags were flying, and his line of battle formed -- my own line seemed every where to be retiring.

Up to this time the enemy had been handsomely repulsed along the whole line. The regiment [Fourth and Fifth Tennessee] from Strahl's Brigade, under Colonel [Jonathan J.] Lamb, in the trenches, had done very effective service, and the artillery had been used with skill and effect. The brigade on Gibson's right had already retired; a force had penetrated between Strahl's left and Rivers' Battery, and the whole line fell back.

Circumstances threw me with Strahl's Brigade, which was reformed without difficulty on the next ridge, some 300 or 400 yards to the rear. Passing towards the right to look for Gibson, I was fired upon by the enemy, who were descending the main ridge. Going then to the left to hear from Stovall and Clayton, I fell in with the Major-General commanding Corps, who directed me to move everything to Bird's Mill. Returning to where I had left Strahl's command and finding it had already moved off, I rode on to the pontoon bridge. Arriving there I found a number of different brigades and quite a crowd of stragglers from various commands. Posting my own command so as to cover he approaches to the bridge, the crowd was dispersed [and] the men placed in ranks. The wagons and artillery passed over and finally the troops. Strahl's Brigade was the last to cross and brought up

Page 110

the rear as far as Ringgold. Two pieces of artillery were lost, one in the Eufaula and one in Rivers' Battery.

Attention is especially called to the report of the commanding officers of those batteries.

I take pleasure in testifying to the good conduct of the troops as described by subordinate commanders. My misfortune was that my line [was] too long and weak, and time was not afforded me to form it properly before the attack was made. The change of the point d'appui for the right of Gibson's Brigade during my absence from it, and without my knowledge, proved fatal to my whole line, which had, however, been flanked already on its extreme right and left. The enemy in strong force having gained our left and rear, it would seem providential that our division was not captured

Reference is respectfully invited to the subordinate reports accompanying this for details and for the names of officers and men who deserve mention for marked good conduct, and of those of the gallant dead -- among whom were Colonel [Wesley] P. Winans, Nineteenth Louisiana, and Lieutenant-Colonel [Beriah F.] Moore, Nineteenth Tennessee.

The numbers engaged and the losses in the different brigades, including the detachment under Henderson at Rossville, the skirmishing force of Strahl's and Clayton's Brigades were as follows.
 
Command
Engaged
Killed
Wounded
Missing
Total
-
Off.
Men
Off.
 Men
Off.
Men 
Off.
Men
-
Adams'
80
684
 5
 28
 9
89
10
222
363
Stovall's 
120
 1291 
5
6
2
29
1
22
69
Clayton's
95
1463
5
23
4
83
40
660
810
Strahl's
114
833
3
13
11
82
6
144
259
Artillery
10
316
3
13
11
7
6
3
10
Total
419
4560
8
70
26
290
57
1051
1502

In my escort, one man was wounded and one captured. Private John M. House, of the Nineteenth Tennessee Regiment Volunteers, clerk in Adjutant-General's office who was sent early in

Page 111

the action to bring up ammunition, never returned, having been killed or captured.  His appointment as cadet has since been received.

An ordnance wagon sent to the regiment at Rossville was lost.

To commanders of brigades, regiments and batteries and to the several members of my staff whom it is deemed unnecessary to mention by name in this report, I desire to express my obligations for their efficiency and gallantry and the faithful discharge of their duties under the most trying circumstances. To the men I owe the tribute of my admiration for their heroism and the unflinching firmness with which they maintained their ground against overwhelming numbers and in view of the almost certain prospect of death or capture, until ordered by their officers to retire. I trust it may be my fortune to command them again on some future and more fortunate field, and under more favorable auspices.

Finally I desire humbly to acknowledge the overruling hand of a gracious Providence in our escape from the complete destruction that threatened us. It did not seem fit to Him to vouchsafe to us the victory, but He spared our cause from utter ruin. Let us hope that He may yet have in store for us a triumph that will efface the recollection of this single Disaster and prove the Yorktown of this revolution.

[I enclose] with this the reports of subordinate commanders, excepting that of Brigadier-General Stovall, who is still absent on leave.

Very respectfully. Colonel, your obedient servant,

ALEX P STEWART
Major-General.

Lieutenant-Colonel ARCHER ANDERSON,

Assistant Adjutant-General.
[Confederate States Army Papers, Collection No. 169, Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia]
------------------------------------------

Page 112

Report of Colonel Randall Lee Gibson, Adams ' Louisiana Brigade, C. S. Army, on the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, November 25,1863.

HEADQUARTERS, ADAMS' BRIGADE, NEAR DALTON, GEORGIA,
December 13,1863.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this brigade, consisting of Austin's Battalion Louisiana Sharpshooters, Major [John E.] Austin, commanding; Thirteenth [and] Twentieth Louisiana Infantry, Major [Francis Lee] Campbell, commanding; Nineteenth Louisiana Infantry, Colonel [Wesley] P. Winans, commanding; Fourth Louisiana Battalion, Major [Samuel] L. Bishop, commanding; Sixteenth [and] Twenty-fifth Louisiana Infantry, Colonel [Daniel C.] Gober, commanding, in the battle of Missionary Ridge, November 25, 1863.

The day previous the brigade had been ordered on picket and, remaining during the entire day and night about 1,200 yards in front of the division ([Alexander Peter] Stewart's) very close upon the enemy's lines, was withdrawn just before dawn without the loss of a single man and, unobserved by the enemy, [moved] to Missionary Ridge on the left of the Corps, ([John Cabell] Breckinridge's) Headquarters, in obedience to instructions from Major-General A. P. Stewart.

About 1 o'clock I was ordered by the division commander to form on the left of Brigadier-General [James Patton] Anderson's command and Captain [Arthur Lee] Stuart, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, was at once dispatched to report to General Anderson and ascertain precisely the point at which the right flank was to rest. Marching by the right flank perhaps a mile, I

Page 113

placed the command in the exact position indicated by General Anderson.

At 3 o'clock I was again ordered to report to Major-General Stewart and [was] informed that Brigadier-General [William Brimage] Bate, commanding Breckinridge's Division, was to occupy the front I was covering. I immediately reported to my division commander and, in compliance with his instructions, was moving the left flank (left in front) just beyond Army Headquarters, when I received orders from him in person to post the right about 100 yards to the left of the farm houses near Army Headquarters, and [I] observed that, owing to the great space to be covered by his division, it became necessary that my command should be disposed not in the usual military formation but in one rank. He also informed me that Breckenridge's Division, General Bate commanding, would occupy all the space in front of Army Headquarters, that this brigade was to be the brigade of direction, and that the order would be for all the commanders to dress to the right. The division commander had scarcely left me when, as I was proceeding to post Austin's Battalion, I observed some excitement among persons on the top of the ridge. I rode to the crest and saw the enemy moving in heavy lines, proceeded by a great cloud of skirmishers, against our position). I saw the necessity of abandoning details and at once forced the whole command to the front and marched it into position; most of them had already been stretched out in one line.

In moving up I discovered the two right regiments marching at a double-quick to the right oblique. I rode up to check the movement when I was informed by the commanders, Major Austin and Major Campbell, that they were executing orders from staff officers of the General commanding. Governor [Isham Green] Harris of Tennessee, I think it was, coming up in great haste and told me that the space in front of Army Headquarters had not been occupied and that the General commanding directed it to be covered immediately. I then confirmed the order, and my right was extended to within a few paces of the road on the right of Army Headquarters. The whole brigade was thus posted rapidly and with precision, the right flank near the road on the right or

Page 114

the Army Headquarters, and constituted the right of Stewart's Division, which formed the extreme left of the Army; the left flank rested near a considerable elevation on the ridge, upon which a battery was placed, the whole being in one rank with a section of artillery between the Thirteenth, Twentieth Louisiana Infantry, and the Fourth Louisiana Infantry.

Having disposed the command in the order of battle, I was at once moved along the entire front and [reiterated to] the officers and men on every account not to waste any ammunition -- to allow the enemy to march up as close as he would come, to fire at his feet and to do so carefully and deliberately, to hold the position at all hazards, and to use stones and the bayonet should their ammunition be expended. It is truly wonderful how soon a line of infantry which appeared to reserve its fire and to maintain its ground with entire steadiness and confidence, will exhaust forty rounds of cartridges. I, therefore, in advance took every precaution on this lead.

I had the day before, when on picket, ordered up an ordnance wagon to the command but instructed the ordnance officer to report the fact when he received directions to move the wagon back to the train. At the commencement of the affair I directed commanders to send a lieutenant and some men to get ammunition, and sent several officers to Major-General Stewart to notify him of the scarcity as soon as any demands were made for it. I believe these  instructions were carried out to the letter. The several farm houses and stables dividing my line, as well as the somewhat concave slope of it, prevented me from observing what was going on upon the left when I was on the right and vice versa. I, therefore, took my position upon the right in front of Army Headquarters, this half of the line being entirely without protection of any kind, but I passed frequently along the front and never saw the officers and men of the brigade in brighter spirits or more confident of success. They were clapping their hands all along the line when they saw the enemy actually about to charge.

He came as I described; his skirmishers were dissipated like a cloud. His first and second lines hotly engaged us for perhaps

Page 115

half an hour but were sent recoiling down the ridge in disorder. Disposed in one rank a charge could not well be made, but a few of the men went down and brought up several prisoners. It was now reported that my ammunition was nearly exhausted. I told the officers and men to use stones and trust to the bayonet, and to save what cartridges they had for the most effective fire. I saw the officers and men hurling down stones as I passed along.

Meantime, some little ammunition was brought up; its quality was not the best and, in some instances, did not suit the guns, which had now become so foul they were clogged. This third line now engaged us and was likewise driven back, while conversing with Colonel Taylor Beatty, of the staff of the General commanding, who asked whether we had not some troops to spare to reinforce the line which had given way further to the right, but who was satisfied of the impracticability of removing any troops from my front as soon as he saw we were in single rank and all engaged. With little ammunition. Major Austin, commanding the right battalion, called my attention to the fact that the line on his right had thinned out and given way until there was quite a gap upon his right flank. The major observed that the troops on the right had frequently recoiled and that it was clear to his mind that they would give way altogether before long.

I ordered Lieutenant [Eugene J.] Blasco, commanding the extreme left company of the Thirteenth and Twentieth, Major Campbell, to form on the right of his regiment so as to extend the whole line further to the right, and the section of artillery directed its fire to the right oblique. I had myself noticed the troops upon the right recoiling, but as yet they were I rallied into position.

Going to the extreme left I found very much the same state of things; Colonel Gober was uneasy about his left. The battery had been removed, having exhausted its ammunition, and he told me that the troops posted on the left of it had been recoiled several times the last charge, that he had sent officers to rally them, [and] that he had sent information to the Major-General as to the condition of things. The order had been to dress to the right, the other brigades were to be posted on the

Page 116

commanded, I could not under the present aspect of affairs supply the place of the troops giving way upon the left.

The officers I had sent to Major-General Stewart with information about ammunition, Lieutenant [A. Ben] Broughton and the Assistant Inspector-General, Lieutenant [Victor] O'Livier, told me when they returned that a regiment upon the left of the brigade was about to lose its position and that the officers and men told them it was a Florida regiment -- that it had been in the trenches below; as to this I have not positive knowledge from my own observation. I told Colonel Gober the left was quite as well off as the right, to hold on to his position with the bayonet, and that I still hoped the troops upon his left would rally again and hold their position. Such was the condition of matters along my lines when the fourth assault was made, which was either a new and the fourth line of troops, or the scattered fragments of the three first lines brought together, and hurled against us. I was so occupied preparing that I did not observe carefully -- though I am inclined to think it was a fourth line.

My whole line was well prepared and perfectly confident as to the result; we had obtained a few rounds cartridges. For some time everything went well along the entire line. I was coming from the left and had assisted the officers and men of the two right regiments in directing the repulse, when all at once they cried out that the enemy had gained the eminence upon the ridge to our right and that we were flanked. The men were inclined to charge front or fall back, but they rallied and held in position. The enemy did not turn upon us, and I still hoped that the troops upon our right would be rallied and retake their ground as before.

We succeeded in again restoring the line and in engaging these upon our front, when I noticed the artillerists using the section upon the left flank of the Thirteenth and Twentieth Louisiana Infantry who had done their work gallantly, running from their position. Going towards them, I ordered them back when they said the enemy was coming through the place they had been. My impression at the time was that the enemy had made a dash upon them and broken through. I could not see their lines further to the left, on account of the buildings and obstacles intervening and

Page 117

the slope of the lines, and instantly ordered the regiments, the Thirteenth and Twentieth Louisiana Infantry (which began to recoil when the artillerist fell back), to prepare a charge, that the enemy must be driven down if it took the last man. With the assistance of Major Campbell and his officers, the regiment was rallied and formed in line for the charge. Captain A. L. Smart assisting to bear the colors forward, the whole moving successfully, when Major Campbell came up and told me the enemy upon the right was firing on a portion of the men, and that the enemies line of battle was already formed upon own left and rear.

We advanced a few paces further when Captain A. L. Stuart tapped me upon the shoulder and asked me to look to the left I did so and saw the Yankee flag fifty or sixty yards off, and a Yankee line of battle nearby but at right angles to mine. I saw then that instant retreat was necessary, that nothing could be done, that my men were already falling, and that capture was about to befall them all. I felt then that the left had been flanked and had been compelled to fall back. I instructed Major Campbell, therefore, to follow down the road from Army Headquarters and to gather up and form his men to resist the advance of the enemy as soon as he could. I determined to go off to the left where I presumed the left regiments would be found, as they would reluctantly fall back in that direction. The Inspector, Lieutenant V. O'Livier, accompanied me; after going some distance, we could collect but few men, and these were short of ammunition. I remained with them and sent him still farther to the left, and regret to say that he was captured. He has not since returned. I moved again towards the right, in the direction I had told Major Campbell to take, and heard the cannon which he was supporting. He presumed that I, too, had been captured. I soon gathered most of the command together, the left regiments being moved in rear of the front to the road and not directly back when leaving their positions.

Darkness was now approaching and after checking the enemy, I moved the whole command to the Chickamauga Bridge, where I reported to Major-General Stewart, who informed me that

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his were to be the last troops to cross the bridge and directed me to form the brigade so as to protect the bridge, if necessary. We formed line on the left, where we remained about two hours, then crossed the bridge, again formed line, and in about one hour I was ordered to Chickamauga Station, where we bivouacked for the night.

I would respectfully call attention to the reports of the regimental commanders to show that no Federal colors ever came through any portion of the line occupied by these troops, and that none fell back except under orders, and that no orders were given to that effect except to save the men already without ammunition from capture by the enemy upon their flanks. Such I understood to be the instructions from the Major-General commanding, and such were [my orders] to my subordinates, and I feel certain that they were executed; I was directed to use the bayonet if the ammunition failed and to hold fast.

I regret to say a large number of officers and men were captured, several from each command, in the identical position they had taken at the opening of the fight, the orders to retreat missing them or coming too late. The line was very long and thin and gave way from left to right almost by companies. There were 2 officers and 222 enlisted men captured, [who are] still in the hands of the enemy. There were 10 officers wounded, 1 of whom has since died; 5 killed on the spot. There were 28 enlisted men killed outright and 80 wounded that were got off the field. Some of the captured may have been wounded and some killed. The loss altogether was 6 officers killed, 9 captured, 10 wounded; 28 men killed, 89 wounded, 222 captured; 21 officers out of about 80 present of all grades, 333 enlisted men out of about 600 men, 84 present under arms. The loss in all was 365 out of not quite 800 officers and men.

Standing up in line of battle on Missionary Ridge, a large number on detail service were not in the battle. I think that this simple statement of facts shows how these troops fought before Army Headquarters -- how and why they had to abandon their positions. The enemy will not soon forget the persistency with

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which the troops fought around Headquarters, the many wounded not fit to be moved, and the many living captured with sword and bayonet in their hands. The fact that none fell back until ordered to do so and that none were ordered to do so too soon testify to the conduct of the brigade throughout. I regret that I have not time to narrate the several instances of heroism that occurred during the fight -- the officers and men did well whilst on their fields; they have gained the rewards of victory, its banner's and batteries. I sincerely believe it was reserved for Missionary Ridge to witness the best fight this command ever made, among other mentioned officers, we have to deplore the loss of Colonel W. P. Winans, commanding Nineteen Louisiana Infantry. He was a fine specimen, not only of a confident officer, but of a Southern gentleman.

I have the honor to remain. Major, your obedient servant,

R. L. GIBSON.
Colonel, Commanding.
 

Major [ROBERT ANTHONY] HATCHER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Confederate States Army Papers, Collection No. 169, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia]
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Report of Major Francis Lee Campbell, Thirteenth and Louisiana Infantry, C. S. Army, on the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, November 25, 1863.

HEADQUARTERS, THIRTEENTH AND TWENTIETH LOUISIANA REGIMENTS, IN CAMP NEAR DALTON, GEORGIA, December 7,1863.

Sir: I have the honor to report that on the morning of November 25, before day, my command was quietly withdrawn

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from the line of pickets, where it had been held in reserve to the top of Missionary Ridge on the left of General [John Cabell] Breckinridge's Headquarters; here we remained until about 10a.m., when we were moved towards the right. Finally, after several changes, we were brought up in line of battle in single rank directly on the crest of the ridge, in front of Army Headquarters, my right resting on [John E.] Austin's Battalion, which formed the extreme right of our brigade and [Alexander Peter] Stewart's Division. This was, as well as I could judge, about 3.30 p.m. At this place we had scarcely formed before we became actively engaged with the enemy, whose first line had already cleared the low entrenchments and was well up the slope of the ridge before we had gotten into position.

After a sharp fire of scarcely half an hour's duration, during which he approached quite near our line, the enemy was driven back, in confusion and with precipitation, from our front to beyond the lower line of entrenchments, my men cheering as they retired.

My regiment now was nearly out of ammunition. I, therefore, gave the order to cease firing and immediately sent Second Lieutenant [Alfred] G. Clarke with several men in search of some -- as our ordnance wagon had been sent some distance to the rear. In this, he but partially succeeded, bringing back but a small amount by no means equal to the demand. Before he had time to return, however, we had become hotly engaged with the enemy's second and, I think, third line, which we held in check, notwithstanding the officers and color-bearer used every means to force them on, those of my command who had exhausted their ammunition assisting their comrades by hurling stones down the ridges.

About this time, in obedience to a verbal order from Colonel [Randall Lee] Gibson, commanding the brigade, I sent the strongest as well as one of the most efficient of the companies of the regiment. Company B (First Lieutenant [Eugene] J. Blasco commanding), to the assistance of Major Austin's battalion of sharpshooters. How long we were engaged in the fight I have no

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positive means of stating, but finally finding that the section of artillery on my left (which had been admirably handled) was abandoned and all the regiments on its left as far as I could see had given way, those on my right with the exception of Austin's Battalion, having previously done so, with the enemy pouring over the breastworks on both my flanks, I ordered the regiment to fall back in rear of General [Braxton] Bragg's Headquarters. Here I was assisted in reforming it by Colonel Gibson, Captain [Arthur Lee] Stuart, and First Lieutenant Victor O'Livier, of his staff, and also by Captain [Edgar Martin] Dutroca, Acting Field Officer of the regiment. I soon saw, however, to remain there unsupported and without ammunition would lead to immediate capture, as the enemy, with several colors, was already within less than sixty yards on my left and rear and rapidly approaching my right. I, therefore, ordered a retreat and descended the hill, midst a galling fire, in which my loss was far heavier than it had been during the whole previous engagement. At the rise in rear of Missionary Ridge I assisted in supporting a piece manned by a portion of the Washington Artillery until it was moved to the rear; this piece with one on the right gave the first check to the pursuit of the enemy.

In conclusion, I have the honor to state both officers and men acted with coolness and undaunted courage, the latter using their ammunition as sparingly as possible during the engagement, and it is with confidence I make the assertion that, though we were but in one rank, the enemy could never have carried my front where, without breastworks of any kind, my men firmly maintained their position and did not fall back from it until they were, ordered by me. This order was not given until all the regiments on my right and left flanks had given way, and when to have remained longer with my small command would have led to its being surrounded and captured.

From Captain E. M. Dubroca, Company B, and Captain [Robert L.] Keene, Company F, acting field officers, I received every assistance, both performing their duties with coolness and gallantry.

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*****

In the retreat Adjutant [Edwar] Bertus was wounded and captured, First Lieutenant Victor O'Livier, Company K, and eigthy-two concommissioned officers and privates have not been seen since we left the ridge; many of these were wounded and all doubtless captured [while] descending it, as it appears by my report the enemy had nearly surrounded us before the retreat was begun.

*****

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Report of Colonel Daniel C. Gober, Sixteenth and Twenty-fifth Louisiana Infantry Volunteers, C.S. Army, on the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, November 25, 1863

LIEUTNENANT: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by this regiment in the late battle on Missionary Ridge. On the morning of November 24, I was ordered by the

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brigade commander. Colonel [Randall Le] Gibson, to march my regiment to the support of the right of the line of skirmishers deployed in front of the division. The left of this line rested on Chattanooga Creek and the right about midway between the LaFayette and Crutchfield Roads. In obedience to orders, I matched the regiment to the rifle pits thrown up abiout 200 yards in rear of the line of skirmishers and after disposing of the men in the trenches, I went to the front and found the Fourth Battalion Louisiana [Infantry] Volunteers deployed as skirmishers.

At this time there was heavy cannonading on the right, and large numbers of the enemy were deployed in front of their entire line of works. Soon heavy cannonading commenced on our left, in Lookout Valley, followed by volleys of musketry, which was kept up all evening and till late at night. During the morning, and a portion of the evening, the enemy fired an occasional shell from the guns on the case-mated fort at our reserves and line of skirmishers, without doing us any injury.

In the night I received orders from ;brigade Headquarters to withdraw my skirmishers in time and move at 5.30 o'clock along the La Fayette Road until I reached the like of field works, where I would halt until the remainder of the brigade came up. Accordingly at the designated hour the line of skirmishers was silently and without molestation withdrawn, and the entire command took up its line of march, the Sixteenth and Twenty-fifth Louisiana [Infantry] in front, followed by the Fourth Louisiana Battalion, to the place of rendezvous.

Soon after reaching the position, the remainder of the brigade came up, and we were marched to our position in line on Missionary Ridge, on the left of the division (General [Alexander Peter] Stewart) some distance to the left of [John Cabell] Breckinridge's Headquarters, where arms were stacked, ranks broken, and the men permitted to build fires, as the morning was very cold. Long columns of the enemy were, at this time, moved by the right flank along the ridge, half a mile or more beyond! General [Braxton] Bragg's Headquarters. We remained here until evening, when we were again moved to, the left and formed into

Page 124

one rank, the right of the brigade resting near the road on the right of General Bragg's Headquarters, my regiment taking its place on the left.

Before getting into position, about 3 o'clock p.m., I heard the [enemy] in the plain below, shouting, and on reaching the crest of the hill, I saw a line of infantry preceded by a heavy line of skirmishers emerging from the woods beyond our field fortifications. Our batteries opened a terrific fire upon them, throwing them into confusion, but on [they] came, in confused masses,
yelling and shouting.

The brigade in the trenches immediately in our front, although fighting with the determination of men resolved to be free, checked their advance but little. Many of the remorseless foe, were seen to leap up on the parapet and shoot our men in the trenches. This served to exasperate the men of my regiment, and they determined to share no quarter, if the relentless foe should venture near. As soon as they came in range, we opened fire upon them, and the roar of cannon and volleys of musketry for several minutes was truly deafening, so much so that in giving orders I had to go near each officer in order that he might hear them.

I saw that our ammunition would soon be exhausted and, therefore, frequently passed along the line in the early part of the engagement and cautioned the men not to waste the ammunition and to take deliberate aim. Notwithstanding the heavy fire, we continued to pour into the enemy. A regiment advanced until they approached very near our position, when they broke and fled in confusion down the hill, flag-bearer leading, until they got under cover of some works on the side of the hill. Our men raised a shout and asked to be lead to the charge. Soon another line of the enemy advanced and the first, thus being reinforced again rallied and again advanced, but in disorder. The color bearers would run from tree to tree until they were in advance, then stick the staff in the ground and lie close to the first object that would protect them. Notwithstanding all the precautions they took to protect themselves from the deadly minie balls, I heard

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several men during the progress of the fight cry out, "There, I killed a flag-bearer! Didn't you see him fall?"

To avoid the fire of our rifles, the enemy commenced moving to the left and crowding into a narrow ravine in front of the "Eufaula Battery," immediately on our left. On walking over in that direction I saw a number of men belonging to the regiment at the left of the "Eufaula Battery" going to the rear and seeing from the wavering in the ranks of this regiment that they were going to give way, I urged upon an officer, who happened to be riding by, the necessity of rallying them and immediately turned and went to Captain [Robert P.] Oliver, of my own regiment and told him to go and tell Colonel Gibson, the brigade commander, the condition of things on the left. Falling to find the Colonel, I directed the Captain to go immediately to General Stewart and tell him that if assistance was not immediately sent, the enemy would gain possession of the ridge on our left, and we would be compelled to leave our position. The Captain found the division commander on the left of our position and communicated the message.  The Major-General told him he could not give any assistance, "But," said he, "tell your Colonel to hold his position at all hazards -- even with the bayonet." Colonel Gibson then came around and I pointed out to him the condition of things on my left, but he was unable to send any assistance, as they were pressing him on the right. Soon several officers reported to me that their ammunition was exhausted. I told them to let their men use stones until the enemy came near enough and then [to use] the bayonet, as no ammunition of the proper calibre could be obtained.

The regiment on my left commenced to break to the rear, in confusion, but were rallied by Major-General Stewart and staff, assisted by their own officers. The first line of the enemy was still moving to our right, while what seemed to be their second [line] was moving up to our front and had come so close some of the officers were using their pistols, and those who had none had picked up the guns of disabled men and were firing away, while the men who were without ammunition, with bayonets fixed, held

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their guns in their left hands and threw stones with their right. All seemed to appreciate the superiority of their position over that of the enemy and were determined to hold it.

My attention being called to the left, I saw the regiment on the left of the battery rushing down the hill in the wildest confusion. The “Eufaula Battery” had fired their last round of ammunition at the enemy and were limbering to the rear. Our situation was now becoming critical. I ordered a company to take position on the left flank of the regiment, to protect it. The enemy soon gained the summit of the hill about 100 yards to our left where three regimental colors were to be seen. Their men formed in line at right angles to our own, advancing upon my left flank, firing as they advanced, while those on our front, emboldened by the success of their comrades on our left and the almost total cessation of our fire for the want of ammunition, commenced boldly to advance. I ordered bayonets to be fixed and went to the left, with the intuition of executing the orders of my superior officer to the letter. Major [Calvin H.] Moore and other officers of the regiment then came up and implored me to get away, as we would soon either be captured or killed, seeing that the enemy were now only a few paces from us, both in front and on our left flank, and [there was possibility] to successfully drive back, with the bayonet, an enemy so much superior in numbers to our own.

*******

page 129 - Captain Winfrey Bond Scott, Nineteenth Louisiana Infantry, placed just to the left of Bragg's HQ
No one seemed to dream of being driven from this position….When we felt that all was safe they had broken our lines on our left and ere we knew it we were flanked and fired upon from our rear….. I neglected to mention in its proper place that Private [William] D. Newsom, of Company [D], acted a most cowardly part by breaking ranks when we were going behind the breastworks, under pretension that he had to go the rear, and never returned.

Page 131 - Major Samuel Lee Bishop, Fourth Louisiana Battalion
The enemy at about 3 o'clock p.m. advanced in five lines upon our position, and at a distance of some 250 yards the first line attempted to charge our works but was repulsed with some loss, the whole of which time our men acted with great courage. At about 4.30 o'clock a second advance was made by the enemy, but in reaching the foot of the ridge they discerned to march by the right flank, which made my position one of watchfulness only as to their future movements.
At about sundown I discovered the entire left giving way and three of the enemy's colors in the rear of the regiment on my left, which broke, as did I, in considerable disorder.
I found the brigade with a portion of my command on the road to Bird's Mill…

Page 133 - Major John E. Austin, Austin's Sharpshooters, Fourteenth Louisiana Infantry Battalion
The command, in accordance with orders from Brigade Headquarters, was dispersed in one rank, and on the outer slope of the ridge, I waited the approach of the assailing party. As the enemy came [within] 200 yards being armed with Enfield rifles, I ordered my men to fire. This they did with great precision and effect, and in a few minutes the enemy wavered and fell back in the most disorderly manner.
A second line was now advanced and scattered among the trees and rocks and, with great persistence, endeavored to work its way to the summit, but whenever an abolition soldier exposed himself he was shot down. A third line was sent on the heels of their faltering predecessors, forced to take refuge from our fire behind all obstacles in our front.
*****
At this critical moment Captain [Edgar Martin] Dubroca, of the Thirteenth Louisiana Regiment, informed me that his regiment was falling back on my left and pointed out to me the enemy already in the rear. The brigade was almost entirely enveloped, as the enemy had passed around its right and left flanks.

Page 136-37 - Brigadier-General Otho French Strahl
About this time the enemy made their assault upon our lines, and we were hurried forward to the brow of the hill to await their approach. Soon our pickets and skirmishers became hotly engaged and were finally driven back up the hill, but not until they had made a very gallant and stubborn resistance, punishing the enemy very severely and strewing the ground thickly with their killed and wounded.
It is also proper that I should here state what is due those gallant men, that they were the last to leave the ditches at the foot
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of the ridge and were only compelled to do so by the enemy flanking them both on the right and left, the ditches having been deserted by our troops at every other point.

Page 142 - Lieutenant-Colonel Luke William Finley Tennessee Infantry Volunteers
As well as I could determine, the skirmishers on the right of the house of Mr. Moore, known as General Hill's Quarters, or rather some distance to the right of that, not immediately, fled from their posts without firing a gun, leaving our flank exposed, and this necessitating a retreat on the part of our skirmishers.

Page 145 - Colonel Jonathan J. Lamb, Fifth Tennessee infantry
…the enemy advanced to give battle about 3 o'clock p.m., when the picket line, after firing one or two rounds, retreated to the ditches on the ridge. The enemy continued to advance, and when within 200 yards of the reserve, the command opened a destructive fire, which was promptly kept up for fifteen or twenty minutes, effectually checking their progress in font, at the expiration of which time it was discovered that the enemy were flanking both on the right and left.

Page 154 - Lieutenant P.F. Hunley, Eighteenth Alabama
At first it was attempted to withdraw in order, but the enemy had carried the ridge in rear of the position held by the brigade and was closing rapidly around us from the left and rear, and it was thought best to allow everyone to get out as best he could; the order was given and the men encouraged to use every endeavor to make their escape.

Page 155-159 - Colonel James Thadeus Holtzclaw, Clayton's Brigade
MAJOR: In obedience to orders from the Major-General commanding, I reported to Major-General [John Cabell] Breckinridge, commanding Corps, on Tuesday, November 24 at 3 o'clock p.m. By direction of General Breckinridge, I moved the brigade ([Henry DeLamar] Clayton's) by the left flank from its position at Watkins' house to the foot of Lockout Mountain; there I received specific instructions from General Breckinridge to relieve the brigades of General [Edmund Winston] Pettus and [Edward Gary] Walthall, then engaged with the enemy, and to hold them in check until the troops and trains could be withdrawn by the road in my rear.

Moving up the mountain I filed to the right on the Craven House Road and conducted the head of my column to the line of General Pettus. Filing left to the base of Lockout Point, I went into position on the line held by the two brigades above
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mentioned, which retired behind my line. At 6 p.m. I engaged the enemy, and a sharp fight ensued, which lasted with but short intervals until 11 o'clock. My right pressed the enemy back about 100 yards, making my line straight from Lockout Rock to the Craven House Road, the enemy having advanced his left along the road before I arrived.  Having recovered the lost ground, I remained in position until 2 a.m., when ordered to withdraw the command, which I did, leaving the front covered by Major [Harry Innes] Thornton of the Fifty-eighth Alabama with 120 men as videttes, which remained for one hour, as I [was] instructed, and were then withdrawn by Major Thornton, with great address and skill, and reunited with my column at daylight on Missionary Ridge. It is wholly impossible to tell what damage was done to the enemy, as both sides fought under cover and in the night.

My loss in killed and wounded [was] slight; two men were mortally wounded by the enemy's shells, to the fire of which the flank of the column was exposed while crossing the ravine at the foot of the mountain. My loss, so far as I can ascertain: 4 killed, 15 wounded, 12 missing - for a total of 31.

I captured three prisoners, a first lieutenant and two privates, which my provost guard carried through the subsequent fight and have since delivered to the Provost Marshal of the division.

The officers and men of the brigade in this affair did their whole duty. Staff officers of Brigadier-General Clayton, Captain [Junius M.] Macon, Lieutenant [John] Vidmer and Lieutenant [Edward Quinn] Thornton, were active and efficient.

I reached Missionary Ridge with the command about sunrise on the morning of November 25 and remained in line until 3 p.m., when I was again directed to report to Major-General Breckinridge. By his direction I moved rapidly down the ridge left in front. After marching about one mile thus, disconnecting my command from the general line of battle on the ridge for that distance, I threw three companies forward as skirmishers, understanding that I was the supporting line and that two regiments were in my front. I did not put my command in line but slowly followed the skirmishers moving by the flank on the crest of the
Page 157
ridge. Two regiments (which I think were from General [Marcellus Augustus] Stovall's Brigade) had already been out flanked and driven from the ground.

To my great surprise my skirmishers developed the head of column of the enemy 400 yards in my front, which, with scarcely a moment's delay, pressed back my skirmishers, compelling me to go into position under fire of the enemy's main line. With every effort I could make, seconded by the personal exertions of the Major-General commanding the Corps, I but partially succeeded in accomplishing it. Iscarcely got two regiments in line the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-eighth Alabama Infantry], which filled the position, when I discovered my flanks, right and left were completely enveloped by the enemy, a column of which having passed through the gap at Rossville, had driven away the troops sent to guard it [and had] passed around my left, capturing my ambulance train and medical stores in my rear.

In this position, I attempted to extend my left but was unable to do so. My front and the right, the thirty-eighth Alabama, was getting into great confusion and reeling under the fire of the enemy. Moving the Eighteenth Alabama up behind them I went in person and moved the Thirty-eighth out of fire, instructing the commanding officer of the Eighteenth to hold the position at all hazards. The Eighteenth, Thirty-sixth and Fifty-eighth, being now in tolerable order and delivering their fire with steadiness [successfully] checked the advance of the enemy in my front while every effort of myself and staff was directed to strengthening and extending my line on my left. In this I was much assisted by General Breckinridge, in person; with his staff recklessly exposing themselves to the fire, [they] did all that men could do in animating and encouraging the command.

At this juncture I sent word to General Breckinridge that could hold the position in front and asked for support to check the column that had enveloped my left flank. The message that received was that the main line was broken in our rear and the ridge carried and that I must withdraw the command. My reply was that I could save the brigade by sacrificing the Eighteenth Alabama (my own regiment), which was then holding the crest
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the ridge, and upon this idea began to retire the command as quietly as I could. Shortly afterwards, I received a peremptory order to withdraw the command and make the best of my way to Chickamauga. I immediately ordered the withdrawal of the command but was unable to bring it out in any order. The enemy had already carried our lines behind us and were marching down the crest of the ridge in my rear, placing me between their two lines, scarcely 400 yards apart.

During this I gave the order for the command to pass out at the small opening as fast as they could, which they did, many throwing away arms, blankets and everything to facilitate their escape; when I gave the first order to retire the enemy had already carried our main line at General Breckinridge's Headquarters and were closing on my rear, while his extended line had turned my left and was fast getting in its rear, while two lines on my right flank were moving up the valley under the cover of two batteries, whose shells were inflicting great damage on the command. With this in full view, seeing themselves nearly surrounded by ten times their own number, discipline and courage alike were gone, and the greater portion of the command ran out like a mob, each endeavoring to be foremost.

Remaining on the ridge with Captain Macon, the Adjutant-General of the brigade, till the great body of the command had withdrawn from the circle of the enemy's fire in front, I pushed forward to head the column of the ridge, when a shot from the enemy who had come down from the ridge in our rear struck my horse, causing him to fall headlong down the slope and injuring my leg so severely as to temporarily incapacitate me for command, giving the active command to Colonel [Lewis T.] Woodruff, the next officer in rank. I directed him to keep the command in order and move as rapidly as possible to Bird's Mill on the Chickamauga, where he arrived about 8 p.m.

It is due to candor to state that the brigade did not fight in the order it should have done and did not sustain its reputation for discipline and courage. The great body of the command was still put in action and checked the enemy in front, notwithstanding his three lines opposed to one. I represented to the Major-General commanding the Corps my ability to maintain the position in front

Page 159
and did hold it until ordered away, and when to have remained longer would have inevitably resulted in the capture of the entire command. What damage was done to the enemy I cannot say, though I think his loss greatly exceeded our own. In a few yards of my front his first line had four colors together with not more than 200 men remaining around them. My loss resulted mostly in captures while passing through the Gap, the enemy's lines [surrounding] a portion of my columns.

I carried into action about 1,300 men. [Losses were]: 3 officers wounded and 36 officers missing; 18 enlisted men killed, 62 wounded and 591 missing. Many of those reported as missing I believe made good their escape, as they are now hourly arriving.

The field officers of the brigade did their duty in every respect. The staff of General Claylton [assisted] me: Captain Macon, Assistant Adjutant-General, Lieutenant Vidmer, Assistant Inspector-General, and Lieutenant Thornton, Aide-de-Camp, were in the thickest of the fight urging forward the reluctant and encouraging the brave regardless of personal safety.

In conclusion, I beg leave to return my thanks to Major-General Breckinridge and staff, who all the time remained under fire trying to [deter] the torrent pouring in upon us. Major-General Breckinridge remained near enough to give me his counsel and personal assistance in enforcing his orders. While I hold there is no excuse for a soldier not standing up in his place until he dies or is ordered back, courage and discipline are alike unavailing when the intelligent soldier sees himself surrounded by ten times their number, and instead of a supporting column finds a heavy line of the enemy pouring a withering fire in his rear.

Page 161 - Colonel L.T. Woodruff, Thirty-sixth Alabama infantry
Quite a number of the missing are known to have gone to the railroad and thence by the cars to the rear, who will probably be arrested and sent back in a few days.

Page 162-63 - Colonel Bushrod Jones, Fifty-eighth Alabama Infantry
I submit the following report of my command in the engagement on Missionary Ridge on November 25. Having been absent I rejoined my regiment, which I found on Missionary Ridge about one mile west of [John Cabell], Breckinridge's Headquarters, and assumed command about 4 o'clock p.m. on November 25 just as the brigade was about to engage the enemy.

Page 163
The first order I received was from Major-General Breckenridge, delivered by Major [Harry Innis] Thornton, [directing] me to deploy a company of skirmishers in front and one in rear and to withdraw my command rapidly by the right flank. I designated the left as one of the companies, the one to be deployed in rear, and Major Thornton went to the right to carry the order to the right company. But in the meantime I received through Captain [Junius M.] Macon, from Colonel [James Thadeus] Holtzclaw, commanding the brigade, an order to face my command to the left and by file left from line of battle to meet an attack from the left.

During this movement, we received a heavy volley of musketry, and the two regiments on the left came rushing back in disorder, throwing my own into confusion. But by the strenuous exertions of the officers, the whole brigade was halted at the breastwork, near where the right of the Thirty-second and Fifty-eighth Alabama rested; the enemy in large force, was checked by the stubborn resistance and held in check for about three-quarters of an hour, when the command was ordered to retire.

My command retired with the balance of the brigade along the ridge, until within sight of the hill at Breckinridge's Headquarters, when it was discovered that the enemy had broken our lines at that point and were closing in behind us.  I then directed the men, by the only practicable route of escape, to the rear and was fired into heavily by the enemy, who had flanked us on right and left. The total strength of the regiment on November 24 was 461. The total casualties in the actions of both days, a list of which I herewith submitted, was 248. [No list herewith attached.] The heavy losses of the regiment [are] all owing to facts we fought largely  superior numbers and at great disadvantages -- being flanked on both sides.

Page 168 - Colonel William Ezra Curtiss, Forty-first Georgia Infantry

The regiment moved into position on the crest of the ridge in one rank, I suppose, between 2 and 3 o'clock p.m. The enemy was seen advancing across the open valley to the west from the direction of Chattanooga.

Page 170-173 - Colonel Robert Johnson Henderson, Forty-second Georgia Infantry

HEADQUARTERS, FORTY-SECOND GEORGIA REGIMENT,
STOVALL'S BRIGADE, STEWART'S DIVISION, NEAR DALTON, GEORGIA,
December 12,1863.

CAPTAIN: The following report of the part taken by the detachment under my command, consisting of the Forty-second and Forty-third Georgia [Infantry] Regiments and [Ruel Wooten] Andersen's Battery, in the fight on November 25 last at Missionary Ridge is respectfully submitted in pursuance to circular orders of date, December 2, 1863.

On the morning of November 25, I was ordered by Brigadier-General [Marcellus Augustus] Stovall to move my command to Rossville and defend the passage of McFarland's Gap against the enemy. I reached the position [at] daybreak and, as soon as it was sufficiently light, selected [a] position to the front of [the] gap, about 300 yards, and in the course of half an hour had the battery established and infantry in "line of battle," the battery in the interval between regiments, and to the front some thirty paces, on the crest of a small eminence. This being done, I immediately pushed forward my line of skirmishers about 150 yards, with orders to hold the position at all hazards.

All was quiet till 11 o'clock when the enemy's line of skirmishers, very strong, was seen advancing; [they] at about 300 yards distance, opened fire upon our line, which was most vigorously returned. They continued to advance until within seventy five or a hundred yards, when the fierce and well-directed fire from my line not only checked them, but forced them to retire.

Page 171
Anderson's Battery, at this juncture, played a very handsome part, having been ordered to fire upon the enemy, wherever deemed practicable. Their guns were managed with skill, their missiles almost invariably exploding in the right place, causing the enemy to scatter and retire in confusion. [Thomas and Grant didn't hear this?] Captain Anderson attracted my attention for the cool self-possession he displayed and the proficiency which his men exhibited in the use of the piece, as well as the alacrity with which they obeyed all orders; [they] evidenced a perfection of discipline that reflected general credit both upon the command and the commander.

The heavy skirmishing continued for about two hours, the enemy being held at bay, when long lines of infantry were discovered moving to the right and left, which at once I conceived to be a flank movement for the purpose of surrounding me. I immediately threw out reliable videttes, with orders to move along the sides of the mountain until they could get a position that would enable them to overlook the enemy's movements. They soon reported (but not till I had discovered them myself) that the enemy, in heavy force, were moving at double-quick up the ridge on both our right and left flanks. I now ordered a retreat, the infantry falling back in good order, followed by the artillery, the skirmishers retiring slowly, contesting every inch of ground, in order that the artillery might pass the Gap and the infantry get position on the top of the ridge

Much of the success attending my retreat, in the face of such a superior force, is attributable to the coolness and gallantry of Captain [Lovick Pierce] Thomas, Company A, Forty-second Georgia Regiment, who was in command of the skirmishers. This was done very successfully. By the time I succeeded in letting the infantry into position on the ridge, the enemy in considerable force, I found, had occupied my original line and were pressing my skirmishers with great vigor. My infantry immediately opened fire, which by its fury attracted the attention of the enemy from the skirmishers and brought or an engagement which lasted for one hour that successfully prevented any advance upon my front. They had succeeded now in gaining the heights and

Page 172
commenced enfilading my line from right to left, the artillery having reached that point upon the ridge where the Red House and LaFayette Roads fork. I again ordered a retreat, which was executed in good order without pursuit or annoyance from the enemy, save a brisk fire kept up for some time upon my rear, perhaps for the distance of three-fourths of a mile.

After leaving the ridge, I pursued the Red House Ford road, aiming at the ford about 5 o'clock p.m. Being ignorant of where my command was, in consequence of an isolated position during the day [and] having no knowledge of the country, I was greatly confused as to the direction I should take. The various conflicting reports of flying and frightened cavalry and infantry made confusion more confounded. I, however, immediately dispatched a courier to the Brigadier-General commanding, informing him as to my locality and that I awaited his orders. In the meanwhile, I crossed the bridge [at Chickamauga Creek] and took position to defend it against the enemy, in the event they attempted further pursuit. The courier returned and reported he could not find General Stovall but saw and reported to General [John Cabell] Breckinridge, who sent me verbal orders to defend the bridge.

At 12 o'clock that night, I received written orders from General [Braxton] Bragg to destroy the bridge and defend its passage to the last extremity. The bridge I effectually destroyed, and [I] should have remained to defend the passage of the "ford" against the enemy to the last extremity, as directed, had I not been reliably informed, and as I believed then, that it was impracticable and unwise to remain there for the following reasons: there were two other crossings, one above, about three miles, and one below, about one and one-half miles; the ford above was blockaded by a small cavalry force under command of Captain McCormick, who was acting, as I was informed, under orders from General Bragg. The one below is very shallow and most practicable of the three and [is] where the enemy would be most likely to cross. This information I gathered from cavalry and citizens who were considered loyal and reliable.

Under all the circumstances, I considered it most advisable, for the safety of my command and the better protection of the

Page 173
main Army, to fall back to the junction of this lower ford road and the road leading from Red House Ford road to Ringgold and make a stand. This I did, leaving Red House Ford about 9 o'clock a.m. I remained at the junction in "line of battle" till 2 o'clock p.m., and hearing nothing of the enemy's advance and that the whole Army had passed in the direction of Ringgold, I moved forward to the latter place, where I found my command. The reasons which prompted me to leave the Red House Ford were, in my honest judgment, controlling ones at the time. I thought then I was right, and think so how.

Page 175-176 - Captain Ruel Wooten Anderson, Andersen's Georgia Artillery

On the morning of November 25, I received orders from Captain [Thomas J.] Stanford, commanding battalion of artillery, to move with the battalion from the breastworks at Watkins' House on the road to Rossville. Arriving at that place I received orders from Captain Stanford to report to Colonel [Robert Johnson] Henderson, commanding two regiments of [Marcellus Augustus] Stovall's Brigade. Colonel Henderson [assigned] me a position a little to the right of Rossville, commanding the road

Page 176
leading to the gap. The enemy [made] their appearance about 10.30 o'clock a.m., or thereabouts, throwing out a heavy line of skirmishers, advancing within about 400 yards of my battery, their support halting some 400 or 500 in their rear. They made several attempts to advance their skirmishers, which was prevented by a few well-directed shells at each time.

About 12 o'clock a.m., I discovered a heavy column of infantry, supposed to be a division, marching to my left and parallel to my front. Said column being in easy range, I shelled vigorously, retarding their march considerably.

Page 183 - Lieutenant William J. McKenzie, Eufaula Artillery (Alabama)

The battery fired during the engagement fifty-two shells and 153 canister. Total number of rounds 205. [Must have made quite a racket.]
 

Page 185 - Captain Thomas J. Stanford, Mississippi Battery

It may be proper to remark here that while this battery was retiring through the woods, it was fired into by the enemy, a large body of whom [under Osterhaus] had crossed the ridge near to Rossville and was moving with the view of getting in our rear.

Page  187 - Lieutenant James S. McCall, Stanford's Battery (Mississippi)

About 12 o'clock, by your order, I moved the guns to the top of the ridge and was preparing to go into position when I was ordered three-fourths of a mile to the right and halted until the infantry line should be established. The enemy were soon discovered to be advancing, and without awaiting further orders, I put the battery in position.


The authors of  "The American Civil War" (West Point Military History Series, 1987), summed it up Bragg's situation. On page 186 they wrote:
"There were a number of factors contributing to the Confederate flight. The defenders on Missionary Ridge had watched most of the events of the last three days from front row seats. They had witnessed the fall of Orchard Knob on November 23; they had seen Lookout Mountain seized on the following day; they had seen Hooker march off to their left and out of their view on the twenty-fifth; they had heard the heavy firing surrounding Sherman's assaults on the right; they had heard the firing on their left when Hooker reappeared and attacked the southern end of the ridge. Moreover, they knew that their position was not strong; each man was seven to eight feet from his neighbor, and few fortifications had been constructed on top of the ridge before November 23. Finally, a gap existed between Bates' and Anderson's divisions in the center of the line. As a result, a general feeling of uneasiness existed among the defenders of Missionary Ridge. When the long lines of blue coats swept across the plain below and started up the ridge, it was too much."


Biography of Alexander Peter Stewart: A good man who didn't blow his own horn
He was born on 2 Oct. 1821 in Rogersville, Tennessee. USMA 1842 (12th in a class of 56); Artillery. After serving in garrison and teaching mathematics at West Point, he resigned in 1845 to teach the same subject at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn. and at the University of Nashville until the beginning of the war, turning down the chancellorship of Washington University in St. Louis as well as the presidency of Cumberland University itself in order to remain, as he put it, "close to the students". He organized the country's first college chapter of the YMCA. He was strongly opposed to slavery, and he voted against the secession of Tennesee, but decided to offer his services to the Confederacy in order to repell what he saw as invasion. His career is scantily documented, but he is reported  to have been a hard fighter, a sound tactician, and a good administrator. He apparently took good care of his men and avoided the political backbiting that disfigured the careers of so many other western Confederates. At the same time he received from Richmond little attention for his solid performance. Commissioned Maj. CSA, he commanded  the heavy artillery at Columbus, Ky. and Belmont before being appointed B.G. CSA on 8 Nov. 1861. He led the 2nd Brigade at Shiloh, in the Ky. campaign, at Perryville and Murfreesboro (Stones River), and the retreat toward Chattanooga. Promoted to Maj. General on 5 June 1863 to rank from the 2nd, he fought in Hardee's corps at Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and in the Atlanta campaign from Dalton to Atlanta. He was named Lt. Gen. on 23 June 1864 when Polk was killed at Pine Mountain, and was wounded himself at Mount Ezra Church. In N.C. he commanded the Army of Tennessee at the surrender. After the war he returned to teach at Cumberland, was in the insurance business, and then served as chancellor of the University of Mississippi, walking away from a $6,000-a-year job with the St. Louis Mutual Life Insurance Company to take a position which paid about $2,500 a year. The only Civil War general to serve as Chancellor of The University of Mississippi,  Stewart's tenure was marked by firsts. Baseball was introduced to the University in 1876. The University's first Ph.D. was granted in 1877. The University became coeducational in 1882, and the first woman faculty member was appointed in 1885. He also established the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Battlefield Parks. His soldiers called him "Old Straight". He died of heart disease on 30 August 1908 at his home on Beach Blvd. in Biloxi, Mississippi, and is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.
Adapted from Boatner