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Chattanooga Campaign
New York Times Article - December 7, 1863

The following article is transcribed from The New York Times, dated December 7, 1863:

FROM CHATTANOOGA; Interesting Rebel View of the Late Defeat. Bragg's Strategy

and How It Was Thwarted. Intercepted Letter from an Officer on Gen. Hardee's Staff.

          We have received the following copy of a private letter, written by an officer on Gen. HARDEE's Staff to a friend in Macon, Ga., and captured by our forces at Ringgold, Ga., by a Union officer, to whom we are indebted for it. It presents a most interesting inside rebel view of their late discomfiture: RINGGOLD, Ga., Nov. 26, 1863. The papers have prepared you for the unfortunate issue of yesterday's battle, of which I can now give you but a hurried sketch. The enemy, instead of sending aid to the relief of BURNSIDE, as I supposed Gen. BRAGG felt convinced of, quietly waited until we were shorn of more than a third of our strength in attempting the East Tennessee expedition, when on Monday they began operations by attacking in tremendous force and carrying by assault the Lookout Valley slope of the mountain. Our force on the Mountain, much inferior in numbers, had to fight their way down at night and united with the balance of the army on Missionary Ridge the following morning. Owing to our reduced strength, Gen. H. advised falling back until Longstreet and other force sent to East Tennessee could unite, but 'twas determined otherwise. On Monday morning the enemy twice attempted to carry our position on the right, but on each occasion was repulsed with great slaughter; having given a full share of attention to that part of the line he massed heavily on our centre, (immediately under the command of Gen. ANDERSON, but in HARDEE's corps,) moving against the single line that defended it, in overwhelming force; but as our artillery and musketry mowed their advance line down, another was ready to take their place. With the aid of the fourth, he took the position, cutting the two wings asunder. At this juncture matters looked terrible, and I will never forget the look of anguish written on poor Gen. HARDEE's face. He sent me hurriedly to make some changes in his other divisions yet intact, and to hurry one forward to stem the tide of defeat that was rapidly assuming a dreadful proportion. On returning I found him with a fragment of the broken division, attempting to rally them; a hard task we found it, while the leaden hail of the exultant Yankees showered around us; and it is most remarkable how he or those of his Staff with him escaped so easily. Just before I arrived, Major WHITZ had his horse killed under him, and I had found the General but a little while before his horse was wounded. Dr. BREYSACKER had his cap cut, while HUNT and myself escaped unhurt. At the juncture I spoke of, the balance of the staff were off at other points executing various orders. I cannot approximate our loss -- perhaps from three to four thousand killed, wounded and missing -- which I fear means too plainly, desertion. Of artillery our loss is heavy. HARDEE's corps lost twelve pieces and BRECKINRIDGE's twenty-six. I cannot tell when or where the next battle will be fought. I am not sure that the enemy will come out as far as Dalton where, I think a stand will be made."

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