Monday, September 30, 2013

September 22, 1863 (Thursday): 30,000 Brave and Determined Men

Red House Ford (  Paul Stanfield)

September 22, 1863. (Received 1.30 a.m.)
Brigadier-General GARFIELD:
Chief of Staff, Department Headquarters:
     An intelligent contraband, belonging to Major Young, quartermaster of Cheatham's division, states that the enemy's advance is about 3 miles from here. Says he heard them say they numbered 100,000 men, made up of Bragg's and Johnston's army, Longstreet's corps, Buckner's corps, and about 10,000 State troops (not good). Bragg is in command. Generals Hood, Gregg, Smith, and Adams (all general officers) reported killed. Says the Virginia rebels say they never saw such fighting; to yell only makes the Yankees pitch in. Carne's battery, Wright's brigade, he says, was captured. Says the rebels say they are bound to go to Kentucky and Tennessee for the purpose of getting bacon, &c., They say they captured forty guns and 519 prisoners. They think some of Rosecrans' army had gone to Charleston.

    GEO. E. FLYNT,
    Assistant Adjutant-General .

    This boy tells a simple, straightforward story, and is believed reliable.

Near Mission Mills, September 22, 1863-6 a. m.
Lieutenant Colonel GEORGE WILLIAM BRENT:
    COLONEL: Under the construction of your order to move a division to the front this morning upon the Chickamauga and Chattanooga road, I have ordered General Cheatham, who commands my extreme right, to put himself in motion upon that road. It crosses the Chickamauga Creek at the Shallow Ford. He had instructions to press forward until he finds the enemy, with his sharpshooters well advanced to the frond. General Anderson's division is upon the Mission Mills and Chattanooga road, and Walker is to his left, covering another parallel road with a good gap, and Hill, should it be necessary, could cross at a gap between the gap on Walker's road and Rossville.
     Respectfully, colonel, your obedient servant,

     L. POLK,
     Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

Red House Ford, September 22, 1863.
Lieutenant-General POLK,
Commanding Right Wing:
      GENERAL: The general commanding desires that you will make as early as practicable a report explanatory of your failure to attack the enemy at daylight on Sunday last in obedience to orders.
      I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     Assistant Adjutant-General.

CHATTANOOGA, TENN., September 22, 1863-9.30 a.m. (Received 2.30 p.m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
     We have fought a most sanguinary battle against vastly superior numbers. Longstreet is here, and probably Ewell, and a force is coming from Charleston. We have suffered terribly, but have inflicted equal injury upon the enemy. The mass of this army is intact and in good spirits. Disaster not as great as I anticipated. We held our position in the main up to Sunday night. Retired on Rossville, which we held yesterday; then retired on Chattanooga. Our position is a strong one. Think we can hold out right. Our transportation is mostly across the river. Have one bridge. Another will be done to-day. Our cavalry will be concentrated on the west side of the river, to guard it on our left. Telegraph communication will probably be cut off for several days, as we will be compelled to abandon south side of the Tennessee River below this point.


SEPTEMBER 22, 1863-9 a.m.
Lieutenant-General POLK,
Commanding Right Wing:
     GENERAL: The troops were much delayed by the balking of the trains last night. After midnight I halted the head of the column near Red House Bridge. Cleburne is now taking up his position on the creek. Breckinridge is resting near Red House Ridge. I am in person on the road from the bridge to the station. There are thousands of stragglers on the roadside.

     D. H. HILL,
     Lieutenant- General.

SEPTEMBER 22, 1863-10.30 a.m.
Captain MERRILL:
     From hill west of town a column of dust is visible to the northeast about 8 miles distant, approaching quite rapidly, and very heavy north of river. Valley north of Lookout Point is full of dust near by the summit of it. Good view in arc of circle from that point to north and round to east, not toward south. What may be a column of smoke appears on side of Lookout about region of road, suggesting possibility of burning train.

     [J. R.] PUTNAM.

BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS, September 22, 1863-2 p.m.
Major General B. F. CHEATHAM:
    GENERAL: I drove the enemy easily and with but light loss from top of Missionary Ridge, and occupy the summit of the ridge where the Chickamauga Station road crosses the ridge. I can't find the name of the crossing. Chattanooga and river plainly in sight. Fort on Georgia Station manned and occupied by enemy. Beef-cattle being driven across the river at ford above island; wagons crossing pontoon, going from Chattanooga. No troops are crossing from Chattanooga. Heavy dust on bank of river on opposite side going up stream; also on road around Point Lookout and directly away from Chattanooga, all indicating departure from Chattanooga.
      Can see no line of battle of enemy, but trace light force of cavalry moving toward me. Can easily hold ridge against any force indicated. Shall I advance?
      Very respectfully,

      GEO. MANEY,


The within respectfully forwarded.
I learn from prisoners captured that no troops have crossed the river. I can only see troops in the forts.

     B. F. CHEATHAM,
     Major-General, C. S. Army.

CHATTANOOGA, TENN., September 22, 1863-5.40 p.m.(Received 9.50 p.m.)
President of the United States:
    Have dispatched daily (Mr. Dana oftener) to the War Department. I trust you will receive those dispatches. We are now in Chattanooga in line of battle, the enemy threatening our whole front; have pushed to our picket line. Whether they will attack to-day uncertain. General Burnside will be too late to help us. We are about 30,000 brave and determined men; but our fate is in the hands of God, in whom I hope.


Red House, September 22, 1863-6.30 p.m.
Major-General WHEELER,
Commanding Cavalry Corps:
     GENERAL: You had better press the enemy hotly and vigorously as long as he remains this side of the river.
     I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     Assistant Adjutant-General.

Chattanooga, September 22, 1863-11 p.m.
Major-General CRITTENDEN,
Comdg. Twenty-first Army Corps:
     GENERAL: The general commanding directs that all troops occupying rifle-pits be instructed to reserve their fire until the enemy are within close range, and then to deliver their fire by volley and by ranks. Caution your troops not to waste ammunition. This caution is especially necessary to the artillery. From the reports of signal officers, it is possible that the large camp fires on the left and the total absence of them in the center and right is intended as a ruse to cover an attack upon the center or right to-morrow. The general directs that the pickets be directed to listen carefully for any sounds which would indicate the movement of troops, and to notify the commanding officers of troops toward which such sounds are moving, and sending reports to these headquarters also.
     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

      C. GODDARD,
     Assistant Adjutant-General.

    (Same to Generals Thomas and Sheridan.)

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 30, Part 1, Pages 54, 161, 163, 168, 691, 693, 694, Series I., Vol. 30, Part 3, Page 778.

Bragg is slowly pressing forward to Chattanooga, where Rosecrans has retired.  The dangerous nature of his position seems to sink in for Rosecrans between his morning dispatch to Halleck and his late afternoon communication with the President.  Interestingly, Bragg takes this moment to engage in a quarrel with Polk over the latter's failure to launch an attack on the 20th.  This is not the time for such discussions, nor is Bragg the right man to lead an Army in pursuit of a vanquished enemy.  

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