Battle Of Missionary Ridge And Lookout Mountain
From: Doctor Jones' Picnic
Will had not neglected to take numerous photographs of Summit Island,
the flag and staff; and with his kodak he had stepped outside the circle
and taken a "shot" at them as they circled about the mast, protected
from cruel Jack Frost by a wall of fire, as they awakened the echoes in
these hyperborean regions in the lively strains of North Pole March.
He exhibited this photograph to them on the following day, and all were
delighted with it.
"Oh, I wish you would give me several of these, Mr. Marsh!" cried
Mattie. "I wish to give them to my friends."
"You shall have all you want of them, Mattie, upon just one condition,"
"And what is that?"
"Don't call me Mr. Marsh again on this trip. No formalities should be
allowed among the Children of the Skies."
"Agreed, Mist--Will," replied Mattie, gaily. "You may put me down for
one dozen on those terms."
"Well, won't they be a sensation, when we show them in Washington?" said
Will, viewing the picture critically. "I really think I will make it the
subject of an oil painting."
"And I want that painting at any price, if you will ever sell it," cried
"I will paint one for each of the company--except Sing. That apathetic
heathen would not care half so much for it as he would for a highly
"Don't be so hard upon poor Sing. I am sure that he would be just
delighted with one of those paintings," said Mattie.
"Call him in and let's see. If there is a particle of the aesthetic
about him, I have failed thus far to see it," declared Will.
So Mattie called Sing from the kitchen. He looked so neat in his white
apron and cap that Will began to fear that he had slandered the poor
fellow. He was shown the photograph, and Mattie said:
"You sabe that picture, Sing?"
"Yes, me sabe."
"What is it?"
Sing grinned a moment as he looked slyly around upon, the company, and
"Allee samee makee foolee lound flagpole."
All roared with laughter.
"That is about what we did, and no mistake," said the Doctor, wiping his
"Well, Sing," said Mattie, looking her very pleasantest at the wily
Mongolian, "I have called you in to prove that you heap likee pretty
things. Now, you would likee a pretty oil painting, big picture, allee
samee that?" pointing to the photograph.
Sing's face was a picture of indifference, and he said,
"Me no care."
"What! not care for beautiful oil painting?" cried Mattie, desperately,
seeing Will's eyes twinkling with fun and triumph. "Well, there is
something in the world that you think pretty, isn't there Sing?"
"O, yes!" promptly replied Sing, his face breaking out in smiles, "me
tinkee Miss Mattie heap pletty. Me heap likee Miss Mattie."
This open avowal of admiration was more than Mattie had bargained for,
and she blushed furiously. The whole party clapped their hands and
laughed, while Will fell upon the floor and rolled about in an ecstacy
of fun and laughter.
"Didn't I tell you, Mattie, that he was an incorrigible case?" cried
Will, as he assumed a sitting posture on the floor.
"And do you mean to say that Sing has no taste at all, simply because he
admires me?" said Mattie very severely.
"O, no! Mattie. I really admire Sing's taste, and acknowledge that I
have shamefully abused the poor fellow," said Will, rising to his feet.
"But the way he turned the tables on you and made you blush is the best
fun I have seen on the trip."
And so they indulged in light hearted conversation, music, reading,
painting, chess, etc., as they sped over the frozen seas, homeward
bound. Toward evening a strong north wind set in and the Professor
declared that they were heading straight for the mouth of the Mackenzie
"In two or three days we shall be in the United States if this gale
continues," said the Professor. "We are traveling at tremendous
speed--nearly sixty miles an hour."
"I only hope that it continues, for I do not doubt that the friends have
long since given us up as dead," replied Dr. Jones. "We have been gone
now nearly four months, and have had no opportunity to communicate with
them since we left. What a glorious time it will be when we get back and
tell them how easily and comfortably we accomplished our object."
And so they enjoyed many an hour in anticipation of their reception by
friends who were mourning them as lost forever. And they were assured of
hearty expressions of admiration from a generous public. And the
Government would make proper acknowledgments.
"Doctor," said Fred in the evening after dinner, "I wish you would tell
us about the siege of Chattanooga, and Battle of Missionary Ridge and
"All right," returned the Doctor. "If agreeable to all, I don't mind
spinning a war yarn. Let me see; I left off at our entrance into
Chattanooga. Well, Bragg's army was sitting upon the surrounding hills
and mountains, watching us with eagle eyes. They cut off our lines of
communication and supplies, and we soon began to feel the pangs of
hunger. I saw stalwart men upon their hands and knees in the mud hunting
for grains of corn that had rattled from the army wagons into the road.
I saw horses in a battery adjoining my regiment gnaw nearly through
great oak trees in the torments of hunger. And when they were fed their
miserable pittance of corn, guards were necessary to keep the gaunt,
hungry men from stealing it from the perishing brutes.
"Desertions became exceedingly frequent; so much so that nearly every
roll-call noted one or more missing from each regiment. What with
sickness, deaths, and desertions, our ranks were becoming rapidly
decimated. A council of war was held. General Sheridan, commanding at
that time the 2nd division, 4th army corps, volunteered to make an
example of two captured deserters in one of his regiments. His offer was
accepted, and a morning or two later the whole army was notified to
witness the execution of these deserters. Such extremities had not been
resorted to for simply running away home (for they had not attempted to
desert to the enemy), and we could not believe that they would be shot.
But we did not know Phil Sheridan.
"Who could have dreamed on that morning that this trim little man, who
sat his horse like a centaur as he watched with critical eye the
carrying out of the horrible details of this double execution, was soon
to take rank among the greatest generals in the world's history?
"At the appointed time we gathered informally in a great mass in an open
plain south of the town. The brigade to which the doomed men belonged
was formed into the three sides of a hollow square, two ranks, open
order. Two graves were dug in the fourth side of the square, and there
the execution was to occur. Soon were heard the unearthly wailings of
Dead March in Saul, played by a brass band. Behind the band were two
coffins in a hearse, draped in black. Following these walked the
condemned men, surrounded by guards with fixed bayonets. The firing
party brought up the rear of the procession. They marched slowly around
the three sides of the square between the silent ranks, finally reaching
the graves and upon the edge of each was set its respective coffin. The
two men were marched up beside the coffins, and who can imagine their
feelings as they thus looked down into their deep, cold graves, where
they were to lie a few moments later, until the trump of God should
resurrect their dishonored dust to stand before his dread tribunal! One
would have thought that under these awful circumstances they surely
would have cried to God for mercy! One of them did; and kneeling near
his coffin the poor wretch received the last rites of the church of
Rome. But the other scornfully refused the consolations of religion in
any form, and cried out a few moments later, as he sat blindfolded upon
his coffin and heard the ominous clicking of the cocking of the muskets
that he knew were aimed at him, 'Boys, take me there!' Accompanying
these words he tore open the bosom of his shirt, exposed his bare
breast, and a moment later each fell upon his face to the ground--a
corpse! Thus ended the most tragical event I ever witnessed.
"And so the weary siege dragged on. We made a night descent upon the
enemy in boats. They were encamped upon the river a few miles below
Chattanooga, where they effectually cut off our communications with
Bridgeport. We attacked them in the blackness of a very dark night, and
completely routed them. This opened up communications with our base of
supplies, and our rations were greatly increased from that time on.
"On the morning of November 23d, a little before noon, the 3d division
of the 4th Army corps, the one to which I belonged, was ordered into the
open plain that lay between us and Missionary Ridge. Here we deployed
into line of battle. Sheridan's division followed and formed on our
right. The eleventh corps, commanded by General O.O. Howard, massed in
the rear. Then followed the 3d division of the 14th corps, General Baird
in command, while the 1st division of the same corps, under General
Johnston, stood at arms in the rear of the center in the intrenchments.
"From their aerie upon the surrounding hills the Confederates
complacently viewed the magnificent pageant, mistaking it for a grand
review. So secure were they in their apparently impregnable positions
that we carried Orchard Knob and captured nearly the whole picket line
before they realized that we were not dress parading. And so, under the
immediate eye of General Grant, who stood upon Fort Wood, a very
commanding position, from which he could see every man of us, we carried
two miles of the enemy's first line of defense. Probably a more
inspiring sight was never seen by mortal eye. Upon us were the eyes of a
whole city, many of our own comrades, and tens of thousands of brave and
"So we rested upon Orchard Knob that night, having taken thus the
initiative in the great battle of Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain.
That night was a busy one all along the lines of both armies. Mystic
signs were written upon the skies all night by the signal corps of each
army. Hooker upon the right was preparing to assault Lookout Mt. We of
the center spent the night strengthening our line of breastworks upon
Orchard Knob. Sherman, on the left, succeeded in crossing the Tennessee
River before morning in small boats with two divisions of his army, the
remaining two divisions crossing early in the day upon a hastily
"And the Confederates were equally active. All night long their signal
torches were working upon the mountain and hilltops. The Southern
commander, General Bragg, evidently considered Lookout Mountain
impregnable, and withdrew many troops from that point, concentrating
them upon his extreme right, in anticipation of Sherman's attack.
"Lookout was enveloped in dense fog the first part of the following day,
which enabled Hooker to dispose of his troops from that point as he
desired, preparatory for attack, with little or no opposition. At eleven
o'clock the fog began to lift, the attack commenced, and to us below was
unveiled one of the grandest, most soul-stirring exhibition of courage
and love of country ever witnessed! Thousands of blue-coated boys
pressed their way up the steep slopes of this mighty mountain, in spite
of the desperate resistance of a foe well worthy of their steel. Well
might we below raise a great shout of exultation and sympathy. The guns
of Wood and adjacent forts thundered out salvos of praise and
encouragement. On they went, step by step, until far into the night, and
achieved that victory that immortalized every man of them. The following
morning we beheld 'Old Glory' proudly waving from the great barren rock,
Point Lookout, and it seemed as if we should burst the very skies with
the shout that went up from thousands of loyal throats.
"While Hooker and his boys were thus making one of the most glorious
pages of history, Sherman had completed preparations for an assault upon
Bragg's right wing. Nearly all day on the 25th, the third day of the
battle, Sherman vainly endeavored to turn the enemy's right flank. They
were strongly entrenched, and hurled the Union forces down the slopes of
Missionary Ridge time after time, though the assaults were made with the
utmost courage and determination. Grant, Thomas, and Sheridan, from
Orchard Knob, watched these desperate efforts upon the part of Sherman.
He was sent all the reenforcements that could operate, and Baird's
division was returned because there was not room for them to
"All day long we of the center of this great battle line had stood at
arms, watching the grand spectacular movements of the two wings,
expecting momentarily to be ordered forward. The sun was getting well
down the western slope when we received the signal from Fort Wood to
charge the lower line of works at the foot of Missionary Ridge. This we
did easily, but the cross-fire from the second line midway up the Ridge
was so galling that the position was untenable. One of two things must
be done: retreat or carry the Ridge. The first alternative I do not
think occurred to anyone, for they leaped the breastworks, and in spite
of the enemy's utmost endeavors and natural obstructions, the second
line in a few moments was ours. But not a moment did they stop, and in
an incredibly short time the Ridge was carried, the captured artillery
wheeled about and was pouring shot and shell into the fleeing ranks of
"As the visitor now stands and contemplates the acclivities, and
considers what it meant to charge such a foe so well fortified, if he be
a Bible student, he will be reminded of the case of the Edomites. They
were the direct descendants of Esau, and inhabited Mount Seir. This
mount is an immense pile of rock in the southern part of Palestine. Here
the Edomites dug out their homes in the solid rock, and so fortified
themselves that they were the Gibraltar of ancient times. From these
mountain fastnesses they made predatory incursions upon their neighbors,
and for ages easily repelled all efforts at reprisal. And so they came
intolerably insolent, and feared neither God nor man. But one day
Jeremiah prophesied of them: 'Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and
the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the cleft of the rock,
and holdest the height of the hill! Though thou shouldst make thy nest
as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the
"He is but an indifferent reader of history who does not see the hand of
Almighty God displayed upon the side of Liberty and Union throughout all
this tremendous war. Even so great a man as W.E. Gladstone, the 'Grand
Old Man' of England, said that the eighteen millions of the North could
not subdue the eleven millions of the South. But he did not know that
the edict had gone forth from the court of Heaven that these who
arrogantly held the height of the hill must come down from thence. And
so we fought and won this grandest battle of the war--and perhaps of the
Here the Doctor paused and looked around upon his audience. He had
worked himself into a fine glow as these splendid reminiscences passed
before his mind. To his horror he found his hearers fast asleep, except
the Professor, and his eyes were winking and blinking suspiciously.
"Well, if you are not an interested lot of fellows!" cried Dr. Jones.
Fred roused at this juncture and said:
"Go on, Doctor. That is the most thrilling story I ever heard."
"Do you really think so?" asked the Doctor very sarcastically.
"O yes! Doctor, I assure you that I heard every word of it."
"And what was I just talking about?"
"Um--ah--O yes, I remember. It was where the two deserters were sitting
on their coffins and were just about to be shot. I want to hear that
out," and Fred looked the picture of anxiety and interestedness.
"Do you, though!" snorted Dr. Jones. "If I served you right, I would
drop you through the manhole, just to wake you up."
Next: Things Material And Spiritual
Previous: The Planting Of The Flagstaff