Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/104

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96 Southern Historical Society Papers.

" 'CHATTANOOGA, September 2ist.

" ' Rosencranz has issued orders for all our troops to be concen- trated here to-night. Thomas will get in about eleven P. M., unless prevented by the enemy, who have been fighting him this afternoon,

  1. * # There is no time to wait for reinforcements, and Rosen-

cranz is determined not to abandon Chattanooga and Bridgeport

without another effort. * * *

(Signed.) " ' C. A. DANA.

WHAT BRAGG WOULD HAVE MET.

' ' Since General Bragg is so severely criticised for not pushing on it is interesting to inquire what he would have met had he followed General Forrest's advice.

" Rossville Gap, in Missionary Ridge, is a deep defile, a mile in length, through its highest crests, which, with its flanks on the ridge and in the valley fully protected, formed one of the strongest defens- ive military positions held by either army anywhere, throughout the war.

" During the closing hours of the battle of Chattanooga that is during the afternoon of Sunday, September 2oth Rossville Gap was occupied in force by General Negley, with at least a division of those Union troops which had been forced from the Union right and centre, had passed to the rear through Missionary Ridge, and turning to the right, had taken possession of Rossville Gap, and so stood once more across the Lafayette road, which was Bragg' s line of advance to Chattanooga. Not only this, but Sheridan's Division entire, had moved through the gap, and marching out three miles on the Lafay- ette road toward Bragg, and stood across the road, in close contact with General Bragg' s left, at the time the battle ended. These troops had all recovered from the confusion, into which a portion of them had been thrown by the break at noon at Chickamauga.

"On the morning of September 2ist, when Forrest moved up within a mile of the gap, to reconnoitre, and when he supposed that the Union army had reached Chattanooga, and was, ' evacuating as hard as they can go,' it was, as already stated, in position, formed, and ready for battle on such impregnable ground as above indicated.

" General Thomas's report tells how his army was here disposed for battle, at the very time General Forrest, in close proximity to these lines, concealed by the forests, was writing his dispatch to General Polk. After initiating and superintending the movement