Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/287
Operations About Lookout Mountain. 275
I sent the troops from the top of the mountain down, and then proceeded myself to a point near its base, where General Cheatham and myself had appointed to meet. Here, as senior officer, he as- sumed command, and I then gave no further directions with regard to the retirement of the troops, except such as I received from him for those of my own division. Brown was directed at once to cross Chattanooga creek (about 11 o'clock P. M.), Gumming at 1 o'clock, and Cheatham's division afterwards, all with directions to await further orders on the eastern side. General Cheatham then left me, as I understood, to get further orders from General Bra^g.
About 12 o'clock at night, two staff officers of General Bragg's rode up to where I was (General Cumming's quarters), and stating that they could not find General Cheatham, handed me orders to him from General Bragg, to send all the troops that had been west of Chattanooga creek to the extreme right. This order was immedi- ately given, and was executed as quickly as possible.
The conduct of the troops was all that could have been desired, and they accomplished all that could have been expected of them. The withdrawal of Walker's division, on the night of the 23d, in my opinion, rendered the position on the left untenable, opposed by so large a force, and it was beyond the power of the troops there to do more than to secure the road communicating with the top of the mountain until the general commanding the army could decide whether he would reinforce them sufficiently to hold the line or abandon it. His decision I have already given. The moun- tain was held till 2 o'clock of the next morning, and the troops, artillery and trains were withdrawn in order to the eastern side of Chattanooga creek.
Report of General E. C. Walthall.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, December 13, 1863. Major JAMES D. PORTER, JR., A. A. #., Cheatham's Division :
Major I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the affair on Lookout mountain, 24th November, 1863.
About dark, on the evening of the 23d, I received orders from Brigadier-General Commanding to hold my command in readiness to move at a moment's notice, and, later in the night, to have three days' rations prepared; but in view of the movements of the enemy on the previous day, my command, which occupied a position on the west side of Lookout mountain, and near the northern slope, was ordered to "stand to arms." Before daylight, on 24th of November, my picket line, which extended along Lookout creek from the turnpike bridge, near its mouth, to the railroad bridge across it, and thence up the mountain side to the cliff, was strength- ened by increasing its reserves early in the morning, troops having been observed moving rapidly up the creek.