Re: [civilwarwest] Re: Sgt E Hart Diary 40th Ill Missionary Ridge Part 3
- November 22d. The Fortieth was detailed a train guard, and required to bring up the train of the second, third and fourth divisions. The entire command drew one hundred rounds of cartridge to the man. The column moved at one o'clock, and the Fortiethh was expected to bring up the train and reach Brown's Ferry, on the Tennessee river, two miles below Chattanooga, sometime during the night - seven miles distant. The roads were desparate, and would have been pronounced impassable for other than army trains. The train moved slowly, and such was the delay, the regiment did not reach the river until the day following at 10 o'clock A.M. Upon reaching the river, we found the pontoon bridge broken by drift, and no posibility of crossing, except in a small horse ferry-boat. ((This was on the 23rd. and one of the reasons that historians have said that Sherman was slow to move)
The regiment was detained at the river until night (23rd) when Gen. Corse sent Maj. Hall a dispatch, telling him if he desiredto participate with his regiment in the fight, he must cross and join the brigade immediately; it being determined that the grand attack should be made the following morning. Gen. Ewing, division commander, also sent an order for a heavy detail to unload rations from wagons on the ferry-boat, take them across the river, reload them into the wagons on the opposite shore, and send them forward to the division. This work was completed at ten o'clock at night, and Major Hall, having possession of the boat for the purpose above-mentioned, determined to cross his regiment before releasing it, as he had no desire that the fight should be made and his regiment laying behind. We made the crossing at eleven o'clock at night, left the train, set out to rejoin the brigade and came up to it at one o'clock in the morning. We're called up by reveille at three and prepared to move immediately . The division was ordered to begin crossing the Tennessee river below the mouth of the Chickamauga, three and a half miles above Chattanooga, at day light on the morning of the 24th and marched two and a half miles to the river where Gen Sherman's command was having difficulty in crossing with pontoon boats. The regiment was crossed over with the division at eight o'clock (a.m.) The troops had been crossing since midnight - two divisions had crossed in advance of the Fourth, and had stolen the enemies pickets without firing a gun, also two officers of the day.
The troops then marched one and a half miles, and rested three hours, when they received orders to advance immediately and take the first hill of the Mission Ridge at all hazards.
Now it has been said that Sherman lost the chance of taking Tunnel Hill on the 24th. You can be assured that Cleburne knew of the movements of Sherman's troops. Maps of the area were faulty in that they did not show a hill that had to be taken before going up to the main objective - Tunnel Hill. Early in the morning of the 24th, he still had troops crossing the Tennessee, and thus did not have his full compliment of troops. Remember, as a result of recent rains, the river was up and swift making the crossing hazardous at the most, especially moving many divisions. Cozzens in Shipwreck of their Hopes shows a map of Sherman's troop placement (p 138-139) on the night of the 23rd where Sherman's troops were still North of Chattanooga and NWW of South Chicamaugua Creek . This coincides with Sgt Hart's description that at that time, they still had not crossed the river and had not until the morning of the 24th. Once again, where is the possibility to surprise and take Tunnel Hill when the troops still have not crossed the Tennessee for the most part until mid-morning.
More to follow,