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towards Big Creek Gap-and Montgomery, Tenn., where the four columns formed a junction and pushed rapidly forward to Kingston. The fifth column, composed of cavalry, marched from Williamsburg directly on Jacksboro', passing through Wheeler's Gap, and occupied Knoxville on the same day upon which the infantry reached Kingston. Headquarters were at Crab Orchard on the 21st of August; at Mount Vernon on the 22d; at London on the 24th; at Williamsburg on the 25th; at Chitwoods on the 26th, 27th and 28th, delayed by the nonarrival of the supporting columns from Glasgow and Columbia, and of the supply trains; at Montgomery on the 30th; at Kingston on the 1st of September; and at Knoxville on the 3d of September.
Placing out of view the hardships of the road, the march over the mountains was not without beauty and picturesqueness. One officer* declared it to be "the most beautiful march of the war." The scenery of Tennessee has many attractive points. The mountains are not too high, and, seen at a distance, their lines are harmonious and graceful. The valleys are green, fruitful and, in some instances, of enchanting loveliness. The route travelled by the army lay through portions of the State that presented alternate beauty and wildness, and, as the troops emerged from the fastnesses of the mountain range, the valley of East Tennessee lay at their feet in all the luxuriance and mellowness of the early autumn.
But there was other business in hand than the enjoyment of the pictures which Nature offered to the contemplative eye. General Burnside entered East Tennessee as the deliverer of a cruelly treated and long suffering people. He was received as such. The troops were everywhere greeted with joyful accla-. mations. They were overwhelmed with kindness, and a generous welcome was offered them on all sides. The old flag, concealed under carpets, between mattrasses, buried in the earth itself, was taken from its hiding place and floated to the
* Captain W. H. Harris.
breeze from every staff. "Bless the Lord! the Yankees have come!" "The old flag's come back to Tennessee!" were the shouts that gave expression to the people's abounding joy. Gray-haired men, with tears streaming down their cheeks, women who had lost their all, children whose tender age had not escaped the cruelty of the rebel rule, came forth to greet the General and his officers at every turn, and to express their gratitude for the redemption which he had brought.
Dr. William H. Church, of General Burnside's staff, in a communication published at the time, gives a very interesting account of the reception of the troops. "The East Tennessee troops," he writes, "of whom General Burnside had a considerable number, were kept constantly in the advance, and were received with expressions of the profoundest gratitude by the people. There were many thrilling scenes of the meeting of our East Tennessee soldiers with their families, from whom they had been so long separated. The East Tennesseeans were so glad to see our soldiers that they cooked every thing they had and gave it to them freely, not asking pay and apparently not thinking of it. Women stood by the roadside with pails of water and displayed Union flags. The wonder was where all the stars and stripes came from. Knoxville was radiant with flags. At a point on the road from Kingston to Knoxville, seventy women and girls stood by the roadside waving Union flags, and shouting: 'Hurrah for the Union.' Old ladies rushed out of their houses and wanted to see General Burnside and shake hands with him, and cried: 'Welcome, General Burnside, welcome to East Tennessee!" The people felt that it was the time of their deliverance. It was also a time for action. They begged for arms, that they might join our forces and drive from their land the oppressors whose tyranny had lasted already too long. General Buckner was only too willing to escape before the swelling tide of popular indignation should rise and overwhelm him with its surges.
*Rebellion Record, Vol. VII., pp. 407-8.
On the 1st of September, General Burnside entered Kingston unopposed, and on the same day Colonel Foster with his cavalry occupied Knoxville without resistance. General Burnside, scarcely waiting for the thanks of an emancipated people, left Kingston, and passing through Lenoir's on the 2d, entered Knoxville, the objective point of his march, on the 3d of September. A considerable amount of public property, an arsenal, machine shop, cars, locomotives, pikes, &c., fell into his hands. From that day the rebel rule in East Tennessee was ended, the great Western line of rebel communication was taken from the hands that had abused its facilities, and the power of the Union became supreme. The frantic and desperate attempts which the rebels subsequently made to regain their lost authority were all completely foiled. Their season of triumph had passed. Their doom was sealed.
It was no matter of surprise, therefore, that General Burnside and his troops who had thus successfully carried out this great enterprise, should be welcomed at Knoxville with a joy which baffles all attempt at description. Their progress had already been a complete ovation. But here the people seemed to surpass all former demonstrations. An hour like that compensated for all the toils and anxieties of the wearisome march. As the general sought his quarters at the close of the day, he had the satisfaction of feeling, that he rested in the midst of as loyal a people as could be found in the land, who looked upon him as their saviour from the terrible and grinding despotism of the insurgent government. East Tennessee was now free, and he who had restored her liberty was the almost idolized commander of the army of the Ohio. The joy of such a triumph might well repay for the disappointment and defeat at Fredericksburg!
In the meantime the garrison at Cumberland Gap under General Frazer had fallen into direful straits. On the morning of the 4th of September, General Shackleford was sent forward from Knoxville to assist in capturing the garrison and occupying the Gap, and on the 7th General Burnside left Knox
ville, with infantry and artillery, to assume a personal direction of the enterprise. A forced march of sixty miles was made in two days, and on the 9th General Burnside put his forces in position, and demanded the surrender of the post. Colonel De Courcy and General Shackleford had previously made the same demand, and had been refused. But the army now opposing the rebel commander was not to be trifled with. General Frazer endeavored to secure mild terms. General Burnside insisted upon an unconditional surrender. The rebel officer finding resistance useless gave up the post on the evening of the day of General Burnside's arrival. The captures consisted of a large quantity of ammunition, two thousand stand of small arms, eleven pieces of artillery, with their carriages and caissons and twenty-five hundred prisoners.
A portion of the garrison was composed of troops who had been taken on Roanoke Island a year and a half before, and now found themselves again in the hands of their former captor. The loss in this entire movement was but one man killed who fell at Tazewell as our advance was approaching Cumberland Gap. Thus expeditiously and successfully was the great enterprise carried through. Never again were East Tennessee and its loyal inhabitants to pass beneath the rebel yoke.
CONQUEST AND OCCUPATION.
ENERAL Burnside and his troops had successfully ocupied the principal commanding points in the section of East Tennessee to which they had been directed. What was doing by the coöperative column that was moving on Chattanooga? While at Cumberland Gap, General Burnside received the most gratifying intelligence from General Rosecrans. Every thing had gone forward in the most satisfactory manner, and so promising was the situation, that it seemed as though the work of the army of the Ohio had been completed. General Crittenden sent a despatch to General Burnside in terms of exultation and victory. It was dated at Chattanooga on the 10th, and was written at two o'clock in the morning of that day. Said General Crittenden: "I am directed by the General commanding the department of the Cumberland to inform you, that I am in full possession of this place, having entered it yesterday at twelve M., without resistance. The enemy has retreated in the direction of Rome, Ga.; the last of his force, cavalry, having left a few hours before my arrival. At day light, I make a rapid pursuit with my corps, and hope that he will be intercepted by the centre and right, the latter of which was at Rome. The general commanding department requests that you move down your cavalry and occupy the country recently covered by Colonel Minty, who will report particulars to you and who has been ordered to cross the river."
From this despatch, General Burnside naturally concluded, that General Rosecrans was making a very satisfactory and indeed an uninterrupted progress. If the enemy had been driven