The Battle of Lookout Mountain
Chapter 37 (November 23, 1863 – November 24, 1863)
The first thing we did upon taking our position was to arrange with the Rebels that neither side would shoot, as it was impossible to settle the war at that particular time and place. The agreement was faithfully kept as long, at least, as we were there. We became very friendly, passed many jokes between us and to have seen or heard us talk no one would for a moment have imagined that we were enemies. Among other incidents a trade was proposed. The Rebels were short of knives and our boys short of tobacco, so the Confederate said he would give a piece of tobacco (holding it up) for a knife. “All right” said the Yankee, “and I will throw the knife over to you and you can then throw the tobacco over to me.” “All right”, said the Yankee and as he threw the knife it struck a limb of a tree overhanging the creek and dropped into the water, and as the creek was deep, of course, it could not be found. The Johnnie said “now I have you, you have no knife but I have my tobacco.” “But” said he, “a trade is a trade and I am going to live up to my part of it. Here goes the plug and I am going to be very careful that it does not strike a limb.” He threw it over, and this incident was one of many that produced general good feeling on both sides. A few days later these same men were exchanging shots at the battle of Lookout Mountain.
During the night one of the Rebel pickets called a number of times for the Corporal of the guard and next morning a second lieutenant in charge of the line came along, when Ed R. Smith, of Company G, saluted him (he returned the salute) hallooed across the creek and said: “Lieutenant, your Corporal on duty last night had a hard time of it. Can’t you use your influence to get him to resign.” We all had a hearty laugh in which the Lieutenant joined, as he walked quietly away.
Being relieved from picket, we joined our regiment and soon were on the move. Everything now indicated a forward movement, but we were in the dark as to where or when the army would move. Rumor had it that Hooker’s Corps was to storm Lookout Mountain, and as we belonged to Hooker’s Corps, we knew full well that it would fall to our lot, as the balance of the Twelfth Corps was back guarding the railroad, to form with the attacking party. We were in full view of the Rebels on the mountain, and we also knew that if we attempted to storm old Lookout it would require the hardest kind of work.
BATTLE OF LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN
Tuesday, November 24, 1863
We were ready early for the fray. We moved about over hills, thru ravines, marched in one direction then counter-marched until at last we quietly moved along Lookout Creek at the base of the mountain to a dam where a bridge was laid for our crossing, Before reaching the place of crossing, orders were given to unsling knapsacks. Nothing should be carried save our guns and accoutrements with from 60 to 80 rounds of ammunition, canteen and haversack, the latter at this time being extraordinarily light. Guards were to watch our knapsacks, and others to do guard duty along the mountain and thru the valley. A goodly number of Company G boys were on this detail. It was proposed that we carry the mountain in a short but decisive battle and arrangements were made accordingly. Only a small number of the company participated in the battles of Lookout Mountain, Pea Vine Ridge, Missionary Ridge, and Ringgold. All being in readiness, the order to advance was given, while the Rebel skirmishers never dreamed that we would attack their position so far back from the point of the mountain. Artillery was put in action, troops marching hither and thither, attracting the attention of the Rebels down in the valley towards Chattanooga, while the White Star Division of Hooker’s Corps was coming in on their flank as fast as it was possible for it to do so. Our men were compelled to climb over rocks, fallen trees, scramble over gullies and the roughest kind of places. In climbing over these rocks Colonel Candy, our brigade commander, fell and dislocated his hip. Then Colonel Creighton, of the 7th Ohio Regiment, assumed command of the brigade. Forward was the order of the day and in due time we sprung on a Rebel camp on the side of the mountain striking it in the rear, and entirely surprised them in the act of getting their supper. They dropped all and ran only to be captured a few moments later. A few of the prisoners asked permission to let them get their coffee, still on the fire, which the guards granted. Two pieces of artillery were also captured. As our Division rounded the mountain nearly the entire army of General Grant lay within three miles of us, down in the beautiful valley just outside of Chattanooga.
They sent up a wonderful cheer, to which we on the mountain side responded just as heartily.