Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 23, 1863 (Tuesday): Second Chattanooga

Bridge Across Tennessee River at Chattanooga

August 23, 1863. (Via Cowan, 8.30 a. m., 24th.)

Chief of Staff:
   GENERAL: Yesterday evening, owing to the condition of the atmosphere, the camp of the enemy could be located very correctly by the smoke. There seem to be but few troops near Chattanooga, there being but one camp and that not large. The next encampment is at the mouth of Lookout Creek, and still another can be seen at Kelley's Ferry; then up the river the first force is at Friar's Shoals, 4 miles from Chattanooga, one at Harrison's and still another at Cleveland, which is not on the river, but on the railroad. Judging from the smoke the force at all these points is about equal to the force in the city, except that at the shoals, which is only a regiment From the best information we can get there is one brigade at each place named; this would make about five brigades in all in this part of the country, say 20 miles of front.
   So far as the city is concerned it is impregnable from the front. There are but two guns at the shoals. The river is fordable there. From where I am now encamped there is an old road, called the old pike, running to the right, and strikes the river at Williams' Island; this is a very good way, by a little work, and is the only crossing place not guarded by the rebels. I have had some fears they may some night throw across a force there, to cut off our advance and place a strong picket on it.
    Colonel Wilder had another bout with the batteries at Chattanooga, and the sharpshooters have frequent and sometimes sharp work, so they say. I cannot vouch for the fact.
     I now think the enemy is of the opinion that an attack is not to be made in this direction with a large force, and have consequently left at Chattanooga, and at each of the crossings, only sufficient force to man the works and guard the crossings against a small force. The main force is no doubt below somewhere. You may ask me, how we can do anything to change this? If they do not send re-enforcements, we can cross the river at least and cut the railroad above and below the city, and if they re-enforce this place strongly and prevent our crossing we still have done some good, as there will be less men to fight somewhere else. Wilder insists he can ford the river and cut the railroad, if supported. Whether this is so or not you can tell as well as any one, possibly better. I send to you McGraw, who will give you all explanations about the matter.
    I must have rations, as we are out; I have found plenty of water for the whole division, if it is desired at any time to move up here, but it will not last long.
    Very respectfully, yours.

    TH. J. WOOD,

    P. S.-This is the latest news from General Wagner.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 30, Part 3, Pages 137-138.

Beginning on August 21, Union forces opened fire on Bragg's troops in Chattanooga.  But attempts to dislodge them were unsuccessful as they were well posted and terrain favored the defenders. 

No comments:

Post a Comment