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Series 1 Volume XXX; Part 2

Official Report Number 236



 
General Braxton Bragg, C. S. Army, commanding Army of Tennessee.
 
WARM SPRINGS, GA.,
December 28, 1863.
 
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant- General, C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.
 

Lots of stuff missing



SIR: Most of the subordinate reports of the operations of our troops at the battle of Chickamauga having been received are herewith forwarded, and for the better understanding of the movements preceding and following that important event the following narrative is submitted: On August 20, it was ascertained certainly that the Federal army from Middle Tennessee, under General Rosecrans, had crossed the mountains to Stevenson and Bridgeport. His force of effective infantry and artillery amounted to fully 70,000, divided into four corps. About the same time General Burnside advanced from Kentucky toward Knoxville, East Tennessee, with a force estimated by the general commanding that department at over 25,000. In view of the great superiority of numbers brought against him General Buckner concluded to evacuate Knoxville, and with a force of about 5,000 infantry and artillery and his cavalry took position in the vicinity of Loudon. Two brigades of his command (Frazer's, at Cumberland Gap, and Jackson's, in Northeast Tennessee) were thus severed from us. The enemy having already obtained a lodgment in East Tennessee by another route, the continued occupation of Cumberland Gap became very hazardous to the garrison and comparatively unimportant to us. Its evacuation was accordingly ordered, but on the appeal of its commander, stating his resources and ability for defense, favorably indorsed by Major-General Buckner, the orders were suspended on August 31. The main body of our army was encamped near Chattanooga, while the cavalry force, much reduced and enfeebled by long service on short rations, was recruiting in the vicinity of Rome, Ga. Immediately after crossing the mountains to the Tennessee the enemy threw a corps by way of Sequatchie Valley, to strike the rear of General Buckner's command, while Burnside occupied him in front. One division already ordered to his assistance proving insufficient to meet the force concentrating on him, Buckner was directed to withdraw to the Hiwassee with his infantry, artillery, and supplies, and to hold his cavalry in front to check the enemy's advance. As soon as this change was made the corps threatening his rear was withdrawn, and the enemy commenced a movement in force against our left and rear. On the last of August, it became known that he had crossed his main force over the Tennessee River at and near Caperton's Ferry, the most accessible point from Stevenson. By a direct route he was now as near our main depot of supplies as we were, and our whole line of communication was exposed, while his was partially secured by mountains and the river. By the timely arrival of two small divisions from Mississippi our effective force, exclusive of cavalry, was now a little over 35,000, with which it was determined to strike on the first favorable opportunity. Closely watched by our cavalry, which had been brought forward, it was soon ascertained that the enemy's general movement was toward our left and rear in the direction of Dalton anti Rome, keeping Lookout Mountain between us. The nature of the country and the want of supplies in it, with the presence of Burnside's force on our right, rendered a movement on the enemy's rear with our inferior force extremely hazardous, if not impracticable. It was therefore determined to meet him in front whenever he should emerge from the mountain gorges. To do this and hold Chattanooga was impossible without such a division of our small force as to endanger both parts. Accordingly our troops were put in motion on September 7 and 8, and took position from Lee and Gordon's Mills to La Fayette, on the road leading south from Chattanooga and fronting the east slope of Lookout Mountain. The forces on the Hiwassee and at Chickamauga Station took the route by Ringgold A small cavalry force was left in observation at Chattanooga, and a brigade of infantry, strongly supported by cavalry, was left at Ringgold to hold the railroad and protect it from raids. As soon as our movement was known to the enemy his corps nearest Chattanooga, and which had been threatening Buckner's rear, was thrown into that place, anti shortly thereafter commenced to move on our rear by the two roads to La Fayette and Ringgold. Two other corps were now in Will's Valley--one nearly opposite the head of McLemore's Cove (a valley formed by Lookout Mountain and a spur of the main range, called Pigeon Mountain) and the other at or near Colonel Winston's, opposite Alpine. During the 9th it was ascertained that a column. estimated at from 4,000 to 8,000, had crossed Lookout Mountain into the cove by way of Stevens' and Cooper's Gaps. Thrown off his guard by our rapid movement, apparently in retreat, when in reality we had concentrated opposite his center, and deceived by the information from deserters and others sent into his lines, the enemy pressed on his columns to intercept us and thus exposed himself in detail. Major-General Hindman received verbal instructions on the 9th to prepare his division to move against this force, and was informed that another division from Lieutenant-General Hill's command, at La Fayette, would join him. That evening the following written orders were issued to Generals Hindman and Hill:
 
 
 
 

 
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Title: The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.
Series 1Volume XXX; Part 2 - Reports; Page 21 - 40
Chapter:XLII - Operations in Kentucky, Southwest Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Alabama, and North Georgia. August 11-October 19, 1863.
Author: United States. War Dept., John Sheldon Moody, Calvin Duvall Cowles, Frederick Caryton Ainsworth, Robert N. Scott, Henry Martyn Lazelle, George Breckenridge Davis, Leslie J. Perry, Joseph William Kirkley
Published: Washington: Government Printing Office
Date: 1890