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Gen. Thomas’s Reconnaissance.


November and December 1863

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, November 25, 1863.



Splendid Success of the Movement.

Full Particulars of the Operations.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24. – The Star of this afternoon contains the following account of the brilliant preliminary movements of General Thomas:

CHATTANOOGA, Nov. 23 – the reconnaissance in force made by General Thomas has been completed in the most brilliant and successful manner.

The troops employed were the divisions of General Wood and Sheridan, of the 4th Corps, under the immediate direction of General Granger. The object of the movement was not only to ascertain the strength of the enemy, but to occupy and hold the knolls in front of our left, half way between our lines and Missionary Ridge.

The principal attack was made by General Hazen’s brigade, commanded by him and supported on the left by General Willich’s brigade, and on the right by the whole division of Sheridan. The entire field was distinctly visible from and in front of Fort Wood, where General Hazen’s line of battle was formed. General Howard’s corps was formed into a solid column as a reserve to the attacking party.

The field being commanded by the heavy guns of the fort, only one field battery was taken into action. This was planted on an elevated knoll in the center of which General Sheridan’s line of battle was formed.

Before the order to advance was given, the troops moved out of their position, just before one o’clock, and remained in line for three-quarters of an hour in full view of the enemy. At last everything being ready, General Granger gave the order to advance, and Generals Hazen and Willich marched out simultaneously.

The first shot was fired at two p. m., and in five minutes the lines of General Hazen were hotly engaged, while the artillery of Fort Wood and General Thomas opened upon the rebel rifle pits and camps, behind the line of fighting.

The practice of our gunners was splendid, the camps and batteries of the enemy being about one and three-quarter miles distant; but our fire elicited no reply, and it was soon evident the rebels had no heavy artillery in that part of their entrenchments.

Our troops rapidly advancing as if on parade occupied the knolls upon which they were at 20 minutes past two o’clock. Ten minutes later General Willich, driving across an open field, carried the rifle pits in his front as occupants fled as they fired their last volley, and General Sheridan, moving through the forest that stretched before him drove in the rebel pickets and halted his advance in obedience to orders on reaching the rifle pits where the rebel force was.

His attack was however made, the design being to recross the h[e]ights on our left, but not to assault the rebel works. We have taken about 200 prisoners, mostly Alabama troops, and have gained the position of great importance to the rebels still attempt to hold Chattanooga Valley, as with those h[e]ights in our possession call, a column moving to turn Missionary Ridge is secure from a flank attack.


Desperate Battle Fought – Accounts up to the Night of the 24th – The Situation at That Time – Sherman’s Position – He is Ready to Renew Hostilities – No Report of Casualties.

CHATTANOOGA, November 24 – Operations to-day have been confined to movements on the left. An assault was made by Hooker, with Geary’s and Stanley’s divisions and one division of Sherman’s corps, on Lookout Mountain, and part of the force being cut off from Hooker, I can only send the result up to dark, as sent to General Thomas.

We had advanced halfway up the mountain, driving the enemy before us. The engagement has been very desperate. On the center we have sustained our position as taken yesterday by Granger’s corps.

Palmer has been demonstrating down the Chattanooga valley without becoming engaged are pushing very far.

General Howard’s corps crossed Clatico Creek to-day and by noon had formed a junction with Sherman. Sherman’s corps was thrown across the river near the mouth of the Chickamauga at daylight and the river was pontoon.

During the afternoon General Sherman moved up and took a position on the north end of Missionary Ridge, the enemy making no resistance, but remained quiet on next peak of the ridge south from Sherman.

Sherman and trench disposition and is ready for work to-morrow. No casualties are reported. Hooker’s losses are reported light. It is said that we have captured about 700 prisoners. Sherman took 100 rebels building rafts in Chickamauga Creek.