14 Southern Historical Society Papers.
And that charge took place. It was well planned and gal- lantly executed. But was there any "fighting" worthy of tlie name? Very little. Our men knew the trap they were in, saw the "Yankees" close in on them on front flank and rear. They fought, and fought well, until that fact was unmistakable, and then they "broke" and ran out of the "trap." That charge on our left and center (from front flank and rear) was made about 4 P. M. Up to that time no "fighting" of any general or sustained character occurred in that section of the field at all. Moore's Alabama Brigade, Bates' Tennessee Brigade and a number of our batteries resisted desperately in the "center" when the "big charge" came, but the most of our men made but a feeble stand. They saw the "trap," and refused to stay in it. I do not blame them. To realize how literally true this is, take the testimony of Dana, Lincoln's Attorney-General, who was back near Chattanooga, watching events. Says he, in his book: "The frontal attack began at 4 P. M.. and took just 40 minutes" (by his watch, held open in his hand). Why? His men met with little or no resistance. Our troops were pre- paring to leave that trap. That frontal attack would never have gained the crest at all had not our men known that a force much larger than our whole army was already in their rear.
These facts explode the commonly accepted idea that "Mis- sionary Ridge" was a "magnificent illustration of Yankee heroism." Beyond losing their breath in pulling up the steep ridge (several hundred feet in height), the chargers suffered little inconvenience. The slight casualties reported (slight for such an army and such a charge) and the absurd shortness of time taken to gain the crest both tell the story.
And again, I say, our men did right in leaving such a palp- able trap.
Was there no "blame" anywhere, then? Oh, yes! But not on our men. The blame was on our General for egregious blun- ders committed, the culminating one being his getting his army in such a position. Bragg, indeed, after letting his opportunity slip at Chickamauga. seemed to lose his head. The whole two