Illustrations of the War in AmericaThe Illustrated London News, vol. 43, no. 1237, p. 662.
December 26, 1863
Some more sketches by our Special Artist and Correspondent in the South have, after considerable delay, reached us through one of the many gaps in the blockade. Three of these are engraved on pages 661 and 664 of our present Issue, and appended are some details by our Correspondent respecting them:--
Receiving his Wound.
The battle of Chicamauga, of which your readers will doubtless have heard long before this sketch can reach you, was one of the most brilliant victories ever gained by the South, though, unfortunately, not decisive in its results, for, owing to the incompetency or apathy of the Confederate Commander-in-Chief, the Federal General was allowed to collect his scattered columns behind the intrenchments of Chattanooga. The fight commenced on the 19th of September, and fluctuated throughout the day with varying chances, both armies occupying their respective positions when darkness put a stop to the conflict. At twelve o'clock on that night General Longstreet, to the great delight of every one, arrived on the field from Virginia, and immediately assumed command of the Confederate left wing, consisting of his own corps of tried veterans from the banks of the Rappahannock and Potomac, and Buckner's division from the army of East Tennessee. On the morning of the 20th the battle was renewed, General Longstreet sweeping everywhere from his front the right of the Federal host, crushing them back before the advance of his victorious brigades. From the nature of the ground, which was thickly wooded, I found it impossible to make anything like a drawing of the battle, not being able to see more than a hundred yards either way; but I have selected an incident for illustration, which occurred in almost the only open portion of the field. You will recollect that General Hood was severely wounded in the arm at Gettysburg, and though still suffering, and compelled to carry the injured limb in a sling, he accompanied his glorious division to the banks of the Tennessee. General Hood is, to my mind, the Bayard of the Confederate army, literally sans peur et sans reproche, and those who have seen him, as I have seen him at Fredericksburg and elsewhere, at the head of his gallant Texans, will admit I eulogise him no more than he deserves. About two o'clock on the 20th General Hood found his division in front of an opening in the woods, which ascended abruptly for some three or four hundred yards to a most formidable Yankee position on the skirt of a dense piece of forest. Fallen timber served to make its natural strength much stronger, and behind this fortification of logs were posted large bodies of Federal infantry and numerous pieces of artillery. General Hood determined at once to carry the position by assault, and, forming his men into two lines, gave the order to advance. The leading column moved forward halfway across the opening, under a most withering fire, then paused for an instant and discharged their rifles, rushing on, with the bayonet, through the smoke. At this moment General Hood was cheering forward the second column when an Enfield ball passed through his right thigh, smashing the bone to pieces, and as he was removed from the field he heard the shouts of his soldiers proclaiming their success and his revenge.
In this view the exact positions of Chattanooga and General Rosecranz's [i.e., Rosecrans's] army are, I think, tolerably well defined, the town and camps of the Federalists lying in a bend of the Tennessee river, which here forms the letter U. By drawing a curved line across the superior portion of the letter you have the defensive line of works thrown up by the Northern Commander, and will thus see that his is a position of great strength from the fact that his forces are concentrated in a small space, his left and right resting on each bend of the river. The Confederate lines run from the river at the base of Lookout Mountain, extending along Missionary Ridge, and terminating again on the river to the extreme right, the Federals having the inner side of an arc, and the Confederates the outer. Missionary Ridge is formed by the range of hills running from the right across the middle distance, and from amidst the foliage may be seen peeping here and there the sparse tents of the Southern army. Beyond, still to the right, are the lofty peaks of the Unaka mountains, forming a portion of the Alleghany chain [sic] , and the whole scene of valley and distant purple hills, with cloud shadows sobering the rich tints that sparkle in the golden autumn sunshine, make up a landscape that requires no further assistance of nature to make it perfect.
The Left Centre Of The Confederate Lines.
The point of view of the accompanying Illustration was the lower slope of Missionary Ridge, near General Preston's head-quarters. The lofty hill on the left is Lookout Mountain, round the base of which, extending to the Tennessee River, the extreme left of the southern line runs. Beyond, to the right, is Racoon Mountain, and next comes Waldron's Ridge. These are spurs of the Cumberland Range, clustered round the town of Chattanooga, which lies under the shelter of Cameron's Hill, a thickly-foliated mamelon. In the middle distance are the Yankee camps. On this side of them, near the centre of the Engraving, lies the Star Fort, while on the extreme night is indicated another very strong redoubt, both being united by lesser works and a continuous chain of trenches. At the foot of the elevation from which my sketch was taken may be seen the Confederate line of breastworks, and in the wooded middle ground the pickets of the opposing armies confront each other within speaking distance. The drawing, however, which I made from the lower ridge of Lookout Mountain, will, I think, give a better idea of the relative positions of the contending forces, as in that the Tennessee River is seen, and even the inside of the Federal works.