“Owing to heavy rain last night it will be impossible to attack Bragg before Monday [Nov. 23]”

Heavy rain has moved in and will delay our attack longer.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee, November 21, 1863-2 p.m.

Maj. General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief:

Dispatches just received from General Willcox. He was at Tazewell this morning, but retreating toward Cumberland Gap. His cavalry attempted to communicate with Burnside, but could not effect it. A severe fight took place on 19th, enemy carrying two intrechments with heavy loss. Our attack on enemy’s right has not yet commenced. Troops have been moving night and day ever since Sherman appeared at Bridgeport, but narrow and bad roads have made an earlier attack impossible. Sherman’s advance division moved up to Trenton several days since, and advanced their position south each day, keeping up their old camp-fires at night and building new ones where they were, to give the appearance of concentrating a large force in that direction. A portion of this division ascended the south end of Lookout Mountain. Owing to heavy rain last night it will be impossible to attack Bragg before Monday [Nov. 23].

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General, Commanding.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 425-6

O.R., I, xxxi, part 3, p 215

 

Bragg: “I deem it proper to notify you that prudence would dictate their early withdrawal”

I have received the following from Gen. Bragg.  It obviously is intended to deceive, but what the object of the deception is I cannot fathom.

Headquarters Army Tennessee
In the field,
20th November, 1863
Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant Com’d’g U. S, Forces, &c.
Chattanooga.
General:
As there may still be some non-combatants in Chattanooga, I deem it proper to notify you that prudence would dictate their early withdrawal

I am. General, very respect, your ob’t serv’t.
Braxton Bragg,
General Comdg.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 568

“Every effort must be made to get up in time to attack on Sunday evening.”

I received the following communication from Gen. Sherman.  He is having a difficult time moving his troops quickly across the Tennessee River.  He writes,

NOVEMBER 19, [1863.]

General GRANT,

Chattanooga:

General Ewing arrived at Trenton yesterday at 10 a.m. John E. Smith’s division is all on the march, and the two other divisions are crossing the river now. I start myself to-day. It is rather slow work crossing the bridge here, but we worked almost all night. I will be at Shellmound or Whiteside’s to-night, and about General Hooker’s to-morrow. I will keep the column closed up, and reach the camp opposite Chattanooga as soon as possible.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

I replied,

CHATTANOOGA, November 20, 1863.

Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN,

Bridgeport, Ala.:

To-morrow morning I had first set for your attack. I see now it cannot possibly be made then, but can you not get up for the following morning? Order Ewing down immediately, fixing the time for his starting so that the roads and bridge will be full all the time. I see no necessity for his moving by a circuitous route, but you can bring him as you deem proper, reflecting that time is of vast importance to us now that the enemy are undeceived as to our move up to Trenton. Every effort must be made to get up in time to attack on Sunday evening.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 421-22

O.R., I, xxxi, part 2, p 37

“All preparations should be made for attacking the enemy’s position on Missionary Ridge by Saturday at daylight”

Now that Sherman has come in person to Chattanooga to help devise a plan of attack, it is time to put that plan into action.  I gave the following instructions to Gen. Thomas,

Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS:

All preparations should be made for attacking the enemy’s position on Missionary Ridge by Saturday at daylight. Not being provided with a map giving names of roads, spurs of the mountains, and other places, such definite instructions cannot be given as might be desirable. However, the general plan, you understand, is for Sherman, with the force brought with him, strengthened by a division from your command, to effect a crossing of the Tennessee River just below the mouth of Chickamauga, his crossing to be protected by artillery from the heights on the north bank of the river (to be located by your chief of artillery); and to secure the heights from the northern extremity to about the railroad tunnel before the enemy can concentrate against him. You will co-operate with Sherman. The troops in Chattanooga Valley should be well concentrated on your left flank, leaving only the necessary force to defend fortifications on the right and center, and a movable column of one division in readiness to move whenever ordered. This division should show itself as threateningly as possible on the most practicable line for making an attack up the valley. Your effort then will be to form a junction with Sherman, making your advance well toward the northern end of Missionary Ridge, and moving as near simultaneously with him as possible. The juncture once formed, and the ridge carried, communications will be at once established between the two armies by roads on the south bank of the river. Farther movements will then depend on those of the enemy.

Lookout Valley, I think will be easily held by Geary’s division and what troops you may still have there belonging to the old Army of the Cumberland. Howard’s corps can then be held in readiness to act either with you at Chattanooga or with Sherman. It should be marched on Friday night to a position on the north side of the river, not lower down than the first pontoon bridge, and there held in readiness for such orders as may become necessary. All these troops will be provided with two days’ cooked rations in haversacks and 100 rounds of ammunition on the person of each infantry soldier. Special care should be taken by all officers to see that ammunition is not wasted or unnecessarily fired away. You will call on the engineer department for such preparations as you may deem necessary for carrying your infantry and artillery over the creek.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

I sent a copy of these orders to Sherman, and added,

Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN:

Inclosed herewith I send you copy of instructions to Major-General Thomas. You having been over the ground in person, and having heard the whole matter discussed, further instructions will not be necessary for you. It is particularly desirable that a force should be got through to the railroad between Cleveland and Dalton, and Longstreet thus cut off from communication with the south; but being confronted by a large force here, strongly located, it is not easy to tell how this is to be effected until the result of our first effort is known. I will add, however, what is not shown in my instructions to Thomas, that a brigade of cavalry has been ordered here which, if it arrives in time, will be thrown across the Tennessee above Chickamauga, and may be able to make the trip to Cleveland or thereabouts.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 410-12

O.R., I, xxxi, part 2, p 31-2

“I want the enemy’s progress retarded at every foot all it can be”

I have been forwarded the following two reports from Gen. Burnside to President Lincoln.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, November 17, 1863-1.30 a.m.

Longstreet crossed the Tennessee River on Saturday [12th], at Huff’s Ferry, 6 miles below Loudon, with about 15,000 men. We have resisted his advance steadily, repulsing every attack, holding on till our position was turned by superior numbers, and then retiring in good order.

He attacked us yesterday about 11 o’clock at Campbell’s Station, and heavy fighting has been going on all day, in which we have held our own and inflicted serious loss on the enemy. No fighting since dark. We commenced retiring, and the most of the command is now within the lines of Knoxville. At the same time that Longstreet crossed the river a heavy cavalry force crossed the Little Tennessee, and advanced on this place by way of Maryville. Our cavalry force at Rockford was slowly pressed back by superior numbers, and at sundown Sunday [13th] night had fallen back to the infantry support on the first ridge from the river.

They did not attack yesterday morning, but in the course of the day disappeared from our front. I shall make every exertion to hold this place, and trust we shall be able to do so. The men are in good spirits and are behaving splendidly.

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT.

KNOXVILLE, November 17, 1863-10 p.m. [Received 6 p.m. 18th.]

Since I reported to you at 1 [1.30] this morning, troops, batteries, and trains have all arrived. The enemy did not press us during the night. The troops were placed in position, intrenchments thrown up where none existed, and every exertion made to render the position secure. The enemy have made no serious demonstration during the day.

Our cavalry on the Kingston road have been skirmishing all the afternoon, and have been pressed slowly back, and the enemy’s pickets are now about 2 miles from town. His advance to-day has not been vigorous, and he is evidently holding back for the arrival of his batteries or the development of some flank movement. If he should assault our position here, I think we can give a good account of ourselves.

They still have a force on the other side of the river with pickets in sight of ours, but have made no demonstration to-day.

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General.

 

I wrote him,

CHATTANOOGA, November 17, 1863-9 p.m.

Major-General BURNSIDE, Knoxville:

Your dispatch received. So far you are doing exactly what appears to me right. I want the enemy’s progress retarded at every foot all it can be, only giving up each place when it becomes evident that it cannot be longer held without endangering your force to capture. I think our movements here must cause Longstreet’s recall within a day or two, if he is not successful before that time. Sherman moved this morning from Bridgeport with one division. The remainder of his command moves in the morning. There will be no halt until a severe battle is fought or the railroads cut supplying the enemy.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 405

O.R., I, xxxi, part 1, p 268

O.R., I, xxxi, part 3, p 177

“What progress is Longstreet making, and what are your chances for defending yourself?”

It is frustrating hearing second hand reports of what is going on in Knoxville.  I wrote Gen. Burnside,

CHATTANOOGA, November 17, 1863-10.30 a.m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

I have not heard from you since the 14th. What progress is Longstreet making, and what are your chances for defending yourself? Sherman’s forces commenced their movement from Bridgeport, threatening the enemy’s left flank. This alone my turn Longstreet back, and if it does, the attack will be prosecuted until we reach the roads over which all their supplies have to pass, while you hold East Tennessee. Are Dana and Wilson with you?

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 405

O.R., I, xxxi, part 3, p 177

Halleck: “Unless you can give him immediate assistance he will surrender his position to the enemy”

I received a telegram from Gen. Halleck.  The government is worried that Gen. Burnside will retreat and lose East Tennessee.  The inhabitants of that region were largely loyal to the Union and losing it would be a political disaster.  He writes,

WASHINGTON, November 16, 1863-10.30 a.m.

Major-General GRANT,

Chattanooga, Tennessee:

Dana left Burnside on the 14th to return to you? Burnside was then hesitating whether to fight or to retreat. I fear he will not fight, although strongly urged to do so. Unless you can give him immediate assistance he will surrender his position to the enemy. I have ordered to give him more troops from Kentucky, but he says he cannot supply them. Immediate aid from you is now of vital importance.

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee, November 16, 1863-3 p.m.

I replied,

Maj. General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief:

I am pushing everything to give General Burnside early aid. I have impressed on him in the strongest terms the necessity of holding on to his position. General Sherman’s troops are now at Bridgeport. They will march to-morrow, and an effort will be made to get a column between Bragg and Longstreet as soon as possible.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General, Commanding.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 404

O.R., I, xxxi, part 3, p 163

“I do not know how to impress on you the necessity of holding on to East Tennessee in strong enough terms”

I received the following telegram from Gen. Burnside indicating that a rebel attack is imminent.

KNOXVILLE, November 14, 1863.

Major-General GRANT:

The enemy are reported by General White to have thrown a regiment of infantry across in boats at Huff’s Ferry, 6 miles below Loudon, and to be engaged in throwing a pontoon bridge at that place. It is almost definitely ascertained that Longstreet is at or near Loudon with the main body of his force.

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General.

 

I replied,

November 15, 1863.

Major General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE:

I do not know how to impress on you the necessity of holding on to East Tennessee in strong enough terms. According to the dispatches of Mr. Dana and Colonel Wilson, it would seem that you should, if pressed to do it, hold on to Knoxville and that portion of the valley which you will necessarily possess. Holding to that point, should Longstreet move his whole force across the Little Tennessee, an effort should be made to cut his pontoons on that stream, even if it sacrificed half of the cavalry of the Ohio Army. By holding on and placing Longstreet between the Little Tennessee and Knoxville, he should not be allowed to escape with an army capable of doing anything this winter. I can hardly conceive of the necessity of retreating from East Tennessee. If I did so at all it would be after losing most of the army, and then necessity would suggest the route. I will not attempt to lay out a line of retreat. Kingston, looking at the map, I thought of more importance than any one point in East Tennessee. But my attention being called more closely to it, I can see that it might be passed by, and Knoxville and the rich valley about it possessed, ignoring that place entirely. I should not think it advisable to concentrate a force near Little Tennessee to resist the crossing, if it would be in danger of capture, but I would harass and embarrass progress in every way possible, reflecting on the fact that the Army of the Ohio is not the only army to resist the onward progress of the enemy.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-general.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 401-2

O.R., I, xxxi, part 2, p 30

O.R., I, xxxi, part 3, p 147

“Dear Julia, I have not heard from you since you left Louisville except through the Georgetown paper which announced your being there”

I wrote Julia,

Chattanooga Nov. 14th/63

Dear Julia,

I have not heard from you since you left Louisville except through the Georgetown paper which announced your being there. I have received a letter from Mr. Page however saying that Sis was with you. I know you had a nice pleasant plain visit which both of you enjoyed very much. How long did you stay in Cincinnati? who did you see? and who did you find to abuse me half as much as you do when you are mad.
Things will culminate here within ten days in great advantages with one or other parties.—I am certainly happily constituted. At present I am confronting a large force here. The enemy are at work on the Mobile & Ohio road towards Corinth; on the Mississippi Central towards Holly Springs; moving a force up East of me towards Knoxville, thus threatening Memphis, Corinth, East Tennessee & Chattanooga: and the responsibility of guarding all, to a great extent, devolves upon me. With all this I loose no sleep, except I do not get to bed before 12 or 1 o’clock at night, and find no occasion to swear or fret. I am very hopeful and fully believe, if not failed by any officer in immediate command, that all will show the Union forces in a more favorable position twenty days hence than they have been in since the beginning of the rebellion. Some small point may give way, possibly Corinth. That will depend on who Sherman left in command.  I will know to-morrow all about this; but Sherman is so fine an officer, and possessed of such fine judgement that he will leave no point in improper hands. You know Sherman now commands the Department of the Tennessee? my old Department. William Smith is here. He will probably stay a couple of weeks or more.—Tell Mr. Page his letter was duly received and I feel much obliged to him for writing. If I do not answer it now I shall write to him after you leave. While you are there he will hear from me every few days.—Wilson has been made a Brigadier Gen. At present I have him, and Dana, (that you did not like) at Knoxville. I shall put Wilson in command of a large Cavalry force and fully expect he will eclipse all Cavalry officers the war has produced.  I did not intend writing to you thus when I commenced but we are on the point of important events and I have been receiving, and answering, important dispatches, bearing on the subject, and whilst I write, long after 12 o’clock, other dispatches are being deciphered which I have to answer.—Since Vicksburg fell this has become really the vital point of the rebellion and requires all the care and watchfulness that can be bestowed upon it. It has all mine, and no fault shall rest upon me if we are not successful.
The Staff with me are well. I have but few however and none but thinking working men are necessary. Bowers and Rowley are still at Nashville and I do not know but I will have to keep them there for several weeks. There is so much dependent upon getting up everything promptly, (and all the means of carrying on War here have to pass through Nashville,) that I have found it necessary to keep some one there, that I could order by telegraph, to attend in person to see that every order is carried out. Bowers and Rowley are the best of men for this.
Do you think of going to St. Louis? or will you remain in Louisville for a while? If you are so inclined you might remain where you are until the result of impending events ends. Give my love to your Uncle, Aunt and family.—Kisses for Jess and yourself.

 

Ulys.

 

P. S. Endorse your note against Orvil and send it to J. R. Jones, Chicago 111. for collection. I will write to Mr. Jones and Orvil about it. I am going to invest my savings in Chicago Horse railroad stock. Also write to Mr. J. the name of the Banker with whom our Bonds are deposited. I presume the first interest $150 0O in gold has been collected. This will sell for about $220 00 at present rates and pay that much towards the stock I am going to purchase.

 

Ulys.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 395-97

“It is of the most vital importance that East Tennessee should be held.”

Yesterday I received the following from Gen. Burnside,

KNOXVILLE, November 13, 1863.

Major-General GRANT,

Chattanooga:

It is reported by General White, who occupies the heights opposite Loudon, that the enemy are placing guns in position this evening in the works on the south side of the river.

I am satisfied that Longstreet is on that side with his corps, and probably with a considerable portion of Wheeler’s cavalry, and intends to cross either the Big or Little Tennessee.

In either case, I think it would be advisable to concentrate the forces in East Tennessee and risk a battle. If we concentrate in the neighborhood of Loudon, the enemy will have the advantage of being able to re-enforce from the railroad; whereas if we concentrate near this place, not only the present force of the enemy, but all re-enforcements would have to march some 40 miles before fighting. In view of this condition of affairs, I would be glad to withdraw the brigade of infantry that is now at Kingston. Should be cross either river and move up to attack us in this neighborhood, he will be so far from the main body of Bragg’s army that he cannot be recalled in time to assist it, in case Thomas finds himself in a condition to attack after Sherman gets up. I take it that Sherman is in Chattanooga now.

Colonel Wilson and Secretary Dana sent you a long cipher dispatch this evening, which will explain to you the situation of affairs here, as also my views in regard to the campaign. I should be glad to have as early an answer as possible to both these dispatches.

E. A. BURNSIDE,

Major-General.

 

I replied in two parts,

CHATTANOOGA, November 14, 1863-10 a.m.

Major-General BURNSIDE,

Knoxville:

Sherman’s advance has reached Bridgeport. His whole force will be ready to move from there by Tuesday at farthest. If you can hold Longstreet in check until he gets up, or by skirmishing and falling back can avoid serious loss to yourself, and gain time, I will be able to force the enemy back from here and place a force between Longstreet and Bragg that must inevitably make the former take to the mountain passes by every available road to get back to his supplies. Sherman would have been here before this but for the high water in Elk River driving him some 30 miles up that river to cross.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

CHATTANOOGA, November 14, 1863-10.30 p.m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

Colonel Wilson’s dispatch is just coming. Cannot be deciphered before morning. I will answer in full as soon as received. It is of the most vital importance that East Tennessee should be held. Take immediate steps to that end. Evacuate Kingston if you think best. As I said in a previous dispatch, I think seven days more will enable us to make such movements here as to make the whole valley secure if you hold on that time.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 393-4

O.R., I, xxxi, part 3, p 138, 145-46