25 November 1863: “Ah the bitter humiliations of this disastrous day.”

Item description: Entry, dated 25 November 1863, in the D. Coleman Diary, describing engagements in Tennessee.  Captain Coleman describes in detail the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Missionary Ridge, following the Battle of Lookout Mountain in the Chattanooga Campaign.

[transcription available below images]

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Item citation: From the D. Coleman Diary #3317-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Wednesday, Nov 25th.  Sure enough the enemy did attack Lookout last night and carry it – It is a great blow to us – Reported that a large portion of [?] Brigades was captured – We are aroused early and in line – Genl Bragg & his staff ride by us – His presence with us indicates [?] work at our point to day – Several Brigades come up to reinforce us – About 8 1/2 A. M. we are moved from our position at the tunnel & carried still further to the right – put in position on the side of a hill & ordered to prepare temporary breastworks – The enemy are close upon us while we build our log breastworks – About 10 1/2 A. M. we complete out works & take our position behind them – They are very rude but give us a good deal of shelter – At about 11 A.M. the enemy are seen moving in line of battle against the Brig (Smith’s) on our left – from behind our works we observe them calmly – without danger – It is the first opportunity to observe without participating I had ever had – The enemy move in bad order – Their line becomes broken at the first halt to fire & they retreat in confusion pressed by our men before they get within 200 yds – Our men fired too soon – They ought to have waited until the enemy came closer when they would have done more execution – The enemy retire but soon come again to the charge only through to be again repulsed – Again & again they charge only to be again & again repulsed – They show great determination but our brave troops are not to be moved – At the last repulse our gallant fellows leap their works & pursue the enemy capturing several stand of colors & many prisoners – We hold our position against every attack until dark when the order comes for us to move back quietly  – our line on the left & centre have given away in confusion & while Cleburne’s gallant division had won imperishable on this trying day, & done its whole duty, yet on account of the disgraceful conduct of the troops on other parts of the field we have to retire – We soon reach Chicamauga & there we find out what has taken place – Everything is confusion – stragglers innumerable hunting their commands – Cleburne’s Div’s alone seems to maintain any order – Ah the bitter humiliations of this disastrous day – That day should not have been lost – There was bad conduct somewhere & I don’s know where – Time will develop – We bivouac near Chicamauga Station sleeping about 3 or 4 hrs –

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