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1866.] The Retreat from Lenoir's and the Siege of Knoxville.

21

THE RETREAT FROM LENOIR'S AND THE SIEGE OF

KNOXVILLE.

TATE in October, 1863, the Ninth of a mile east of the village. The camp

L Army Corps went into camp at was laid out with unusual care. In orLenoir's Station, twenty - five miles der to secure uniformity throughout the southwest of Knoxville, East Tennes. regiment, the size of the log-houses see. Since April, the corps had cam- they were to be ten feet by six - was paigned in Kentucky, had participated announced in orders from regimental in the siege of Vicksburg, had accom- head-quarters. The work of construcpanied Sherman into the interior of tion was at once commenced. UnforMississippi in his pursuit of Johnston, tunately, we were so far from our base had returned to Kentucky, and then, in of supplies - Camp Nelson, Kentucky conjunction with the Twenty-third Ar- - that nearly all our transportation was my Corps, marching over the moun- required by the Commissary Departtains into East Tennessee, in a brief but ment for the conveyance of its stores. brilliant campaign under its old leader Consequently, the Quartermaster's Deand favorite, Burnside, had delivered partment was poorly supplied; and the the loyal people of that region from the only axes which could be obtained were miseries of Rebel rule, and had placed those which our pioneers and company them once more under the protection cooks had brought with them for their of the old flag. But all this had not own use. These, however, were pressed been done without loss. Many of our into the service; and their merry ringing, brave comrades, who, through a storm as the men cheerfully engaged in the of leaden hail, had crossed the bridge at work, could be heard from early mornAntietam, and had faced death in a ing till evening. Small oaks, four and bundred forms on the heights of Fred- five inches in diameter, were chiefly ericksburg, had fallen on these widely used in building these houses. The separated battle-fields in the valley of logs were laid one above another, to the the Mississippi. Many, overborne by height of four feet, intersecting at the fatigue and exposure, had laid down corners of the houses like the rails of a their wasted bodies by the roadside and Virginia fence. · The interstices were in hospitals, and had gently breathed filled with mud. Shelter-tents, buttoned their young lives away. Many more, together to the size required, formed from time to time, had been rendered the roof, and afforded ample protection unfit for active service; and the corps, from the weather, except in very heavy now a mere skeleton, numbered less rains. Each house had its fireplace, than three thousand men present for table, and bunk. On the 13th of Noduty. Never did men need rest more vember the houses were nearly comthan they; and never was an order pleted; and as we sat by our cheerful more welcome than that which now de- fires that evening, and looked forward clared the campaign ended, and author- to the leisure and quiet of the winter ized the construction of winter quarters. before us, we thought ourselves the

The Thirty-sixth Massachusetts Vol. happiest of soldiers. Writing home at unteers- then in the First Brigade, First that time, I said that, unless something Division, Ninth Corps — was under the unforeseen should happen, we expected command of Major Draper, - Lieuten- to remain at Lenoir's during the winant-Colonel Goodell having been se- ter. verely wounded at the battle of Blue That something unforeseen was at Springs, October 10. The place selected hand; and our pleasant dreams were for the winter quarters of the regiment destined to fade away like an unsubwas a young oak grove, nearly a quarter stantial pageant, leaving not a rack be

hind. At four o'clock on the morning mained there, he would push bis colof the 14th I was roused from sleep by umns past our right, and get between loud knocks on the new-made door. In us and Knoxville. It was evident that the order which followed, “ Be ready to the place must be abandoned ; and there march at daybreak,” I recognized the was need of haste. The mills and facfamiliar, but unwelcome voice of the tories in the village were accordingly Sergeant-Major. Throwing aside my destroyed, and the wagon-train started blankets, and leaving the Captain dream- north. ily wondering what could be the occa- The morning had opened heavily with sion of so unexpected an order, I hur- clouds, and, as the day advanced, the ried to the quarters of the men of Com- rain came down in torrents. A little pany D, and repeated to the Orderly before noon, our division, then under Sergeant the instructions just received the command of General Ferrero, moved The camp was soon astir. Lights out of the woods ; but, instead of taking flashed here and there through the the road to Knoxville, as we had antitrees. “ Pack up! pack up!" passed cipated, the column marched down the from lip to lip. “ Shall we take every- Loudon road. We were to watch the thing ?” Yes, everything. The shel- enemy, and, by holding him in check, seter-tents were stripped from the houses, cure the safety of our trains and mateknapsacks and trunks were packed. rial, then on the way to Knoxville. The wagon for the officers' baggage A few miles from Lenoir's, while we came, was hurriedly loaded, and driven were halting for rest, General Burnside away. A hasty breakfast followed. Then, passed us on his way to the front. Unforming our line, we stacked arms, and der his slouched hat there was a sterner awaited further orders.

face than there was wont to be. There The mystery was soon solved. Long- is trouble ahead, said the men ; but the street, having cut loose from Bragg's cheers which rose from regiment after army, which still remained in the vicin- regiment, as with his staff and battleity of Chattanooga, had, by a forced flag he swept past us, told the confimarch, struck the Tennessee River at dence which all felt in “ Old Burnie.” Hough's Ferry, a few miles below Lou- Chapin's brigade of White's comdon. Already he had thrown a pon- mand (Twenty-third Army Corps) was toon across the river, and was crossing in the advance; and about four o'clock with his entire command, except the his skirmishers met those of the enemy, cavalry under Wheeler, which he had and drove them back a mile and a half. sent by way of Marysville, with orders We followed through mud and rain. to seize the heights on the south bank The country became hilly as we adof the Holston, opposite Knoxville. The vanced, and our artillery was moved whole movement was the commence with difficulty. At dark we were in front ment of a series of blunders on the part of the enemy's position, having marched of the Rebel commanders in this de- nearly fourteen miles. The rain had partment, which resulted at length in now ceased. Halting, we formed our the utter overthrow of the Rebel army lines in thick woods, and stacked our of the Tennessee. General Grant saw arms, — weary and wet, and not in the at once the mistake which the enemy happiest of moods. had made, and ordered General Burn- During the evening a circular was side to fall back to Knoxville and in- received, notifying us of an intended trench, promising reinforcements speed- attack on the enemy's lines at nine ily. Knoxville was Longstreet's objec- o'clock, P. M., by the troops of White's. tive. It was the key of East Tennes- command; but, with the exception of see. Should it again fall into the en- an occasional shot, the night was a me's hands, we would be obliged to quiet one.

to Cumberland Gap. Lenoir's did The next morning, the usual reveille in Longstreet's path. If we re- was omitted ; and, at daybreak, noise

[graphic]

lessly our lines were formed, and we little as possible, for who could say it marched out of the woods into the would not be needed on the morrow? road. But it was not an advance. Throughout the long night, officers and During the night General Ferrero had men faltered not in their efforts to help received orders to fall back to Le forward the batteries. In the light of noir's. Such, however, was the state subsequent events, it will be seen that of the roads, that it was almost impos- they could not have performed any sible to move our artillery. At one more important service. Colonel Har. time our whole regiment was detailed tranft that night displayed the same to assist Roemer's battery. Near Lou- spirit and energy which he infused into don we passed the Second Division of his gallant Pennsylvanians at Fort our corps, which during the night Steadman, in the last agonies of the had moved down from Lenoir's, in Rebellion, when, rolling back the fiercest order to be within supporting distance. assaults of the enemy, he gained the But the enemy did not seem disposed first real success in the trenches at to press us. We reached Lenoir's Petersburg, and won for himself the about noon. Sigfried, with the Second double star of a Major-General. Division, followed later in the day. Meanwhile, Morrison's brigade reOur brigade (Morrison's) was now mained on the Kingston road in front drawn up in line of battle on the King- of Lenoir's. The enemy, anticipating ston road, as it was thought that the an evacuation of the place, made an enemy, by not pressing our rear, in- attack on our lines about ten o'clock, tended a movement from that direction. P. M. ; but a few shots on our part And such was the fact. The enemy were sufficient to satisfy him that we advanced against our position on this still held the ground. Additional pickroad, about four o'clock, and drove in ets, however, were sent out to extend our pickets. The Eighth Michigan was the line held by the Eighth Michigan. at once deployed as skirmishers. The The Thirty-sixth Massachusetts and Thirty-sixth Massachusetts and Forty- Forty-fifth Pennsylvania still remained fifth Pennsylvania at the same time in line of battle in the woods. Neither moved forward to support the skirmish- officers nor men slept that night. It ers, and formed their line of battle in was bitter cold, and the usual fires the woods, on the left of the road. were denied us, lest they should betray Just at dusk, the enemy made a dash, our weakness to the enemy. The men and pressed our skirmishers back nearly were owered to put their canteens and to our line, but did not seem inclined tin cups in their haversacks, and remain to advance any further.

quietly in their places, ready for any A portion of the Ninth Corps, under movement at a moment's notice. It Colonel Hartranft, and a body of mount- was a long, tedious, fearful night; what ed infantry, were now sent towards Knox- would the morrow bring? It was Sunville, with orders to seize and hold the day night. The day had brought us no junction of the road from Lenoir's with rest, - only weariness and anxiety. No the Knoxville and Kingston road, near one could speak to his fellow; and in the village of Campbell's Station. The the thick darkness, through the long, distance was only eight miles, but the long night, we lay on our arms, waitprogress of the column was much re- ing for the morning. Ah, how many tarded. Such was still the condition hearts there were among us, which, of the roads that the artillery could be overleaping the boundaries of States, moved only with the greatest difficulty. found their way to Pennsylvanian and Colonel Biddle dismounted some of his New England homes, how many, men, and hitched their horses to the which, on, the morrow, among the guns. In order to lighten the caissons, hills of East Tennessee, were to pour some of the ammunition was removed out their young blood even unto from the boxes and destroyed; but as death!

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