« PrejšnjaNaprej »
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 cap
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.
ENERAL Burnside and his troops had successfully oc
upied 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
as far as Rome, East Tennessee was safe. Scarcely more was needed, than to occupy the principal strategic points with sufficient garrisons. He felt that such a work as that could as well and as easily be done by any other officer, as by himself. The principal duty had been performed. Subsequent events proved that General Crittenden had written in too enthusiastic terms. The enemy had not retreated so far as he had thought nor had our advance penetrated so far into the enemy's lines. But General Burnside had nothing to guide him but the information which General Rosecrans had sent. He was also suffering, at the time, from a severe attack of the disease which had prostrated him during the summer, and he considered that he required some relief from his constant and harassing duties. He had done his work well and he needed rest. He therefore tendered his resignation on the 10th, and, on the following day, returned to Knoxville. On the 12th, telegraphic communication was established with Washington, and on the 13th, General Burnside received from President Lincoln a kind but decisive despatch declining to receive his resignation. It was in the following words : “ A thousand thanks for the late successes you have given us. We cannot allow you to resign, until things shall be a little more settled in East Tennessee.” General Burnside accordingly proceeded, without further delay, to effect a more complete settlement of affairs, in the district which he had wrested from the enemy. He had sent troops up the valley of the Holston, immediately after the occupation of Knoxville, for the purpose of dismantling the railroad or occupying it as far as the Virginia line, and of threatening the salt works near Abingdon in Virginia. He had also stationed cavalry at Kingston under Colonel Byrd, who was directed to communicate with the cavalry of General Rosecrans. General Halleck's orders on the subject were positive. On the 11th, he sent a despatch to General Burnside as follows : “ I congratulate you on your success.
Hold the gaps of the North Carolina mountains, the line of the Helston river or some point, if there be one, to prevent access from
Virginia, and connect with General Rosecrans, at least with your cavalry. General Rosecrans will occupy Dalton, or some point on the railroad to close all access from Atlanta, and also the mountain passes in the West. This being done, it will be determined whether the movable force shall advance into Georgia and Alabama or into the valley of Virginia and North Carolina."
In accordance with this order, General Burnside disposed his troops. He put his forces in motion to occupy the different points necessary to guard his line of defence, the Holston river, and to hold the gaps of the North Carolina mountains. But these points were threatened by General Samuel Jones with a force of ten thousand troops, who were vigilant and active. The enemy had no intention of leaving East Tennessee in our undisputed possession. Its conquest was a severe loss to him, and the ease with which it had been accomplished was a source of especial mortification. He was by no means willing to sit down quietly and submit to such a derangement of his lines. General Jones was therefore occupied with harassing our outposts and carefully watching our lines, to take advantage of
any weakness or negligence on the part of our officers. It was necessary, both for the safety of our own posts, and for a thorough obedience to General Halleck's order, to expel General Jones from the Department. Colonel Foster's brigade of cavalry had already been pushed out to observe the enemy and hold him in check. Colonel Carter, with his brigade, was acting in support of Colonel Foster. General Shackleford had the direction of the entire cavalry force. General Hartsuff was ordered to send all his infantry except Colonel Gilbert's brigade, together with Colonel Wolford's cavalry, to reënforce the troops, that were already in the presence of the enemy. General White's division and all of General Hascall's except Gilbert's brigade, were accordingly sent forward. The troops moved on the 13th and 14th, and made good progress on their march towards the threatened points. Every disposition was thus made to guard a line of
one hundred and seventy-six miles in length from the left of General Rosecrans, with whom General Burnside was in direct communication, nearly to the Virginia boundary. The reader can easily understand what unceasing vigilance and vigor were necessary to maintain this long line, and to preserve an uninterrupted connection with the coöperating army.
But General Rosecrans himself was now in greater danger than had been supposed, and needed reënforcement. The enemy under General Bragg had not been so completely discomfited as had been believed. The information sent by General Rosecrans was of somewhat too hopeful a character. It was too good to be altogether correct. The enemy, instead of retreating into the interior of Georgia, was standing at bay a short distance beyond Chattanooga on the line of Chickamauga creek.
It was known at Washington that General Lee had sent General Longstreet's corps to the West to reënforce General Bragg, who could thus prevent any further advance by General Rosecrans, and who, it was feared, might take the offensive. General Halleck, accordingly, telegraphed in all directions, soliciting aid for General Rosecrans.
The following despatch, dated Washington, Sept. 13th, went forward to General Burnside: "It is important that all the available forces of your command be pushed forward into East Tenneesee. All your scattered forces should be concentrated there. So long as you hold Tennessee, Kentucky is perfectly safe. Move down your infantry as rapidly as possible towards Chattanooga, to connect with Rosecrans. Bragg mạy merely hold the passes of the mountains to cover Atlanta, and move his main army through Northern Alabama to reach the Tennessee river and turn Rosecrans right and cut off his supplies. In this case Rosecrans will turn Chattanooga over to you and move to intercept Bragg.”
On the reception of the above order, on the evening of the 16th, General Burnside immediately telegraphed for the Ninth Corps to move with all possible despatch from its camping