8 December 1863: “Wednesday our army retired to Chickamauga, pursued by Grant. It was a serious disaster. Our loss is 6000 and of artillery very heavy.”

Item description: Entry, dated 8 December 1863, in the Samuel A. Agnew Diary.

[Transcription available below images]

18631208_01 18631208_02 18631208_03Item citation: From folder 9 of the Samuel A. Agnew Diary #923, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

December 8, 1863

The battles before Chattanooga–rainy

        It was raining when I awakened this morning. Evidently during the night a good deal of rain fell. It ceased to rain soon after day but the day throughout has been dark & misty.

        Mary came up from Uncle Young’s, she says they left for S. C. this morning as determined. Jno. Galloway got back from Bragg’s army last night. He was wounded in the arm in a skirmish above Ringgold–I suppose between Ringgold and Tunnell Hill–on the 27th He has a 30 days furlough. Tonight rode down with Margaret to stay with Laura. She sent to Galloways for some late papers, viz Augusta Constitutionalist of the 3d and News and Mississippian of the 5th.

See today also Mobile News of the 27th and 28th. From these papers gather something definite in reference to the recent movement. The Battle of Chattanooga was fought the 25th. On the 24th we were dislodged from Lookout. On the 23rd there was a short engagement before Missionary Ridge. Our right under Hardee sustained it’s position. The left under Breckenridge gave way, and the enemy getting up Missionary Ridge by an Enfilading fire threw our forces into confusion. Bragg exposed himself greatly, and finding he could not rally his troops, shed tears freely. Manigault’s and Deas’ Brigades first gave way. Wednesday our army retired to Chickamauga, pursued by Grant. It was a serious disaster. Our loss is 6000 and of artillery very heavy. Hardee’s wing retired in good order. Cleburn’s division was under him. Co. B 32d Miss. did not lose a man in the battle on Missionary Ridge, which some style the battle of Chattanooga. Cleburn formed the rear guard on the retreat and on friday morning made a stand S. of Ringgold and repulsed the enemy who retired towards Chattanooga obstructing the way. The main army by this time was at Dalton, and the pursuit being stopped by Cleburn’s stand the army halted and Dalton is the Head Qrs of the army, the front extending to near Ringgold. On the 21st Bragg was at his own request relieved of his command, and Hardee was placed over the army temporarily. He now commands. Bragg has been abused wonderfully by the editors of the land and the people re-echo the same feeling, but there is no doubt that he is a brave, gallant and able general, who has done all that he could do.

        Longstreet has not taken Knoxville as we heard. He fought Burnsides at Campbell’s Station about the 17th and B. retired to his entrenchments about Knoxville. Longstreet had him closely beseiged. On Saturday the 28th he made an attack on Burnside but was unsuccessful, and at latest accounts was retreating towards Abingdon, Va. No doubt the disaster at Chattanooga contributed to this result. A General Vaughan who was about Loudon is retiring towards North Carolina. From what I see I judge that our efforts to regain E. Tennessee have resulted in a failure. Gen. Morgan and Staff have escaped from the Ohio Penitentiary. A large reward is offered for them. C. Godfrey Gunther (McKeon Democrat) has been elected Mayor of New York City by 5000 majority. A Corps (Federal) of 15000 passed through Cleveland going towards Benton. So says a dispatch of the 2d. The enemy are “booming away” at Charleston. Some shells have been thrown by their long range Guns into the city. Banks has landed with 5000 men at Brownsville on the Rio Grande.

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