Tenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry

Missionary Ridge

NOVEMBER 23-27, 1863.--The Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign.
No. 3.--Organization of the forces under command of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, U.S. Army, engaged in the campaign.



Third Brigade.
10th Indiana, Lieut. Col. Marsh B. Taylor.
74th Indiana, Lieut. Col. Myron Baker.
4th Kentucky, Maj. Robert M. Kelly.
10th Kentucky:
Col. William H. Hays.
Lieut. Col. Gabriel C. Wharton.
18th Kentucky,(*) Lieut. Col. Hubbard K. Milward.
14th Ohio, Lieut. Col. Henry D. Kingsbury.
38th Ohio, Maj. Charles Greenwood.


NOVEMBER 23-27, 1863.--The Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign.
No. 156.--Report of Brig. Gen. Absalom Baird, U.S. Army, commanding Third Division.


Chattanooga, Tenn., December 9, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this division in the recent operations of our forces in this vicinity:

On the 23d of November, I received orders to move with my division from its camps within the line of works surrounding this place, and to display my force in a position near the Rossville road, immediately in front of the rebel intrenchments, strongly threatening attack, but to avoid becoming seriously engaged. During the afternoon of that day, Monday, this order was carried into execution, and, after driving back the pickets of the enemy, my lines were formed between the Rossville and Moore's roads, under the guns of our own works. My position was quite nearly in front of the enemy's center, and on the right of the troops composing our own center. The object of the demonstration I understood to be to aid in the execution of other movements on the extreme flanks. We bivouacked in our position on Monday night, and continued to maintain it during Tuesday and Tuesday night. On that day, while General Hooker on our right assaulted Lookout Mountain, gaining such a foot-hold upon it as to lead to its evacuation during the night, and while General Sherman on our left established himself upon the north end of Mission Ridge, we remained comparatively inactive, only skirmishing slightly with the rebel pickets, and using our artillery upon such points as seemed to promise the most for the object In view.

On the morning of Wednesday, the 25th, it was found that the enemy was no longer in heavy force upon our right, about Chattanooga Creek, <ar55_508> and I sent out parties to feel in that direction, so as to ascertain to what extent he had withdrawn. While engaged in this way orders were brought me, directly from department headquarters, directing me to pass with my division to the extreme left to the assistance of General Sherman, then hotly engaged in the vicinity of Tunnel Hill. The road I was required to take led along the river, and it was several miles to the point where I struck the rear of General Sherman's command. I had barely reached this point with the head of my column when a messenger reached me with orders to return toward the center, and to form my division on the left of the troops occupying that position. I would thus prolong the line formed by General Granger's corps toward the left, and partially fill up the long interval between him and General Sherman. It was then about noon, and owing to the difficult character of the ground, intersected by streams, marshes, and thickets, it was some time before I could reach the spot and get the division into position. When established, my right joined the left of General S. Beatty's brigade, of Wood's division, at a point not far to the north of Orchard Knob, my left extending well off toward the tunnel. My brigades were posted in their order from right to left, General Turchin on the right, Colonel Van Derveer in the center, and Colonel Phelps on the left, and the division was in two lines, the first deployed, with a heavy skirmish line in front and on the left, which was otherwise uncovered. The interval between my left and General Sherman was perhaps 2 miles in extent, communication being open between us by passing round to the rear, but on the direct line lay the rebel masses which were opposing him. I had just completed the establishment of my line, and was upon the left of it, when a staff officer from Major-General Thomas brought me verbal orders to move forward to the edge of the open ground which bordered the foot of Mission Ridge within striking distance of the rebel rifle-pits at its base, so as to be ready at a signal, which would be the firing of six guns from Orchard Knob, to dash forward and take those pits. He added, this was intended as preparatory to a general assault on the mountain, and that it was doubtless designed by the major-general commanding that I should take part in this movement, so that I would be following his wishes were I to push on to the summit. I gave the necessary orders to the Third Brigade, and, passing on to the right, was in the act of communicating them to Colonel Van Derveer, of the Second, when firing from Orchard Knob began. Many more than six shots were fired, and it was impossible to determine whether it was the signal fixed upon or not. Nevertheless, I hastened to the First Brigade, when I found the troops of General Wood's division already in motion, going forward. I at once directed General Turchin to push to the front, and without halting to take the rifle-pits; then conforming his movements to those of the troops on his right, to endeavor to gain the summit of the mountain along with them. I then passed back toward the left to see how things were progressing there, and found the first line of both the Second and Third Brigades in possession of the rifle-pits, from which the enemy had been handsomely dislodged, the second line lying down some short distance in the rear.

The rebel troops which had occupied the works were in retreat up the mountain, while numerous batteries, both in our front and far to our right and left, opened upon us a heavy cross-fire from the crest. For a time this cannonade was indeed severe; the atmosphere <ar55_509> seemed filled with the messengers of death, and shells burst in every direction. It was continued until the guns were captured, but owing, no doubt, to the great depression under which they were fired our loss was far less than might have been expected. Looking toward the right, I saw that General Turchin had passed the line of rifle-pits and was well up on his way to the top of the ridge. Two of his flags, surrounded by a group of the bravest spirits, had passed the rest, and remained for some time perched upon the side of the mountain, quite near its top. I saw, however, that the troops on the right had halted near the rifle-pits, contrary to my understanding when I gave him his instructions, and that he was unsupported. I was in the act of starting forward my other two brigades for this purpose when I received orders not to permit my men to go farther, and not to permit them to become engaged. I was at this much perplexed as to how I should best withdraw General Turchin. It was only, however, momentary, as another order came in less than three minutes for the whole line to charge to the top. This order having been communicated, all of both my lines leaped forward with a shout and rushed up the mountain side. The ridge, more or less steep and difficult throughout, was particularly so in my front, but those striking the more accessible points, and the strongest men and the bravest men, soon passed to the front. Regimental organizations became somewhat deranged, and presented rather the appearance of groups gathering around the colors, which they pushed onward and upward through the storm of bullets.

I cannot too strongly commend to the major-general commanding the heroic gallantry of the officers and men of the division in this charge, which has few parallels in my reading of wars. To say less than this would be unjust to those brave men; to say more might seem out of place, since it occurred under the eye of the general himself. I rode up myself to the interval between the First and Second Brigades, and for a time portions of the line were concealed from my view, but I have taken great pains to collect evidence of what transpired, and it is herewith transmitted. The march of General Turchin's brigade was directed upon a prominent knob on which there were several pieces of artillery, and a small house to the left used afterward as a hospital. It may be recognized readily by these marks. This I believe to be the first point carried by my command. It is difficult to determine questions of slight precedence in point of time in a rivalry of this nature, and, where all act nobly, they are unimportant. The second brigade in line going from my troops toward the right--perhaps that of General Willich--may possibly have reached its point of aim a little before mine reached theirs, and soon after opened communication with us. The intermediate brigade came up, a little later. I mention the first knob taken by General Turchin's command particularly, as marking the extreme point toward the right carried by this division. It was strongly defended by the enemy, who were driven from it by the Eleventh, Thirty-first, and Thirty-sixth Ohio Regiments, and three guns captured. From this point to the left every foot that was gained was due to the stubborn fighting of the men of this division, who drove the enemy steadily before them, and whatever captures were here made are the proper trophies of their valor. Colonel Van Derveer's brigade reached the crest a little to the left of the knob taken by General Turchin, and Colonel Phelps' brigade a little farther yet in that direction. <ar55_510>

The works of the enemy along the crest of the ridge consisted of a slight breastwork of logs and stones, capable, however, of strong defense. During the night much of it was transferred to the opposite side of the ridge, to be used to our advantage. As our men reached the summit they were all turned to the left, the direction of the enemy's resistance, and pressed forward after him. In this movement from the point where my right gained the top to the extreme left, ten or twelve pieces of artillery were captured. My men found them in the possession of the enemy, some with strong infantry supports. They drove him from them and passed over them in the pursuit. One of these batteries was recaptured by a rally of the enemy, but again taken by us. The credit of capturing seven of these guns is claimed by the First Brigade, and the Second claims to have taken five. It is not impossible that two are the same in the claim of each of the parties, for the men got much mingled together at the end of the assault, yet they may be distinct. Certain it is that the men of the division took ten guns out of the hands of the enemy, and that they never returned to him. A map(*) attached to the brigade report of General Turchin shows minutely the position of most of the batteries captured by us, and I invite attention to it. As we gained ground toward the left, we approached closely the large bodies of troops collected by the rebel commander to resist or crush General Sherman, and as the attacks of the latter had been repulsed or were suspended about the time that we commenced our assault, these men were at liberty to be used against us. The time which it took for us to mount the hill was enough for them to recover from their first surprise, and before we had gone far a strong force was found ready to confront us; each knoll was more strongly defended than the previous one. The gallant Colonel Phelps, commanding the Third Brigade, was shot dead soon after reaching the crest, in forming and directing his men, and the great number of the dead, both of our men and of the enemy left upon the ground, attests the severity of the struggle. At length, after having driven the enemy to a knoll, where he had the cover and support of the huts of one of his camps, and could be reached by us only over a long, narrow neck of ground, we found farther progress at the time impossible, and darkness put an end to the conflict. During the night, the enemy abandoned his position and retired.

While thus engaged upon the extreme left, the guns which we had captured, and which we had left in the positions where we had found them, were carried off to the rear, and we have since been unable to identify them, individually, so as to claim them. I learn that all the guns turned over to the chief of artillery have been claimed by those presenting them as their capture, leaving none for this division. I regret for the sake of the brave men who so fearlessly risked their lives in taking them that this is so, but I felt at the time that we had a higher duty to perform, as long as there was an enemy to be encountered, than that of stopping to secure trophies for exhibition after the battle. Indeed, I was not quite sure that without strenuous exertion we would be able to retain what we had already gained. In considering the evidence of these captures which I submit in behalf of my command, I trust that the general commanding will remember that the guns of the enemy being widely scattered along the ridge, very few in one spot, a brigade or division to have captured <ar55_511> an unusual number must not only have taken possession of the works in its own front, but must have passed widely to the right and left along the crest before the arrival of other troops. The prisoners whom we captured, most of them, like the guns, were sent to the rear to be taken care of by others less occupied; out of more than 300 taken we have receipts for less than 200. Along with this report will be forwarded one regimental color and one battle-flag, the former captured by Thirty-first Ohio and the latter by the Eleventh Ohio Regiment, of Turchin's brigade. The division also took about 200 stand of small-arms in good condition and several caissons and limbers.

On Thursday morning, in obedience to orders, I made a reconnaissance with the First Brigade as far as the Chickamauga in our front without coming up with the rear of the enemy, and in the afternoon marched in the direction of Ringgold. On Friday morning I reached that place, and joined the other divisions of the corps. We remained at Ringgold without performing any unusual service until Sunday, when we returned to this place.
In the battle of the 25th, in addition to the brave and gallant commander of the Third Brigade, Col. E. H. Phelps, whose loss to the country, to his family, and to ourselves, his friends, we so much deplore, we have likewise to mourn the loss of many others of our best and bravest officers and men. A list, giving the names of the killed, wounded, and missing, is appended.(*)

Of the living, both officers and enlisted men, who have signally distinguished themselves, mention will be found in the sub-reports, upon which my own is based. To present here a consolidated list of them would not add to their renown, and to mention some might be unjust to those overlooked. I trust, however, that some means may be devised for rewarding their distinguished services. A medal or badge of honor for some, and the promotion they so richly deserve for others, might be awarded.

To my brigade commanders, Brigadier-General Turchin, of the First, and Colonel Van Derveer, of the Second Brigade, I invite your attention. To their skill, bravery, and high soldierly qualities, we are greatly indebted for the results we were enabled to accomplish. I hope that their services will be rewarded. After the death of Colonel Phelps, the command of the Third Brigade devolved upon Colonel Hays, Tenth Kentucky Infantry, by whom the duty was handsomely performed.

To my staff officers who were with me, Captain McClurg, acting assistant adjutant-general; Major Connelly, inspector-general; Captain Swallow, chief of artillery; Captain Johnson, provost-marshal; Lieutenant White, ordnance officer; Lieutenant Dick, mustering officer; and to my medical director, Surgeon Bogue, I am highly indebted both for services in the field and for the efficient aid which they rendered me.

Respectfully submitted.

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Fourteenth Corps.


List of the Casualties in the Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, Department of the Cumberland, in the assault on Mission Ridge, November 25, 1863.
O:Officers, M: Men. A: Aggregate

  Killed Wounded Missing Total
Command  O M O M O M O M A
First Brigade,
Third Division
6 21 11 211   4 17 266 238
Second Brigade,
Third Division
2 20 13 126   2 15 148 163
Third Brigade,
Third Division
2 16 3 97   1 5 114 119
Total Third Division,
Fourteenth Army Corps
10 87 27 434   7 37 528 565


Battle of Missionary Ridge
Battle of Missionary Ridge
Chattanooga and Vicinity, 25 November 1863
Dawn (top) and 1530 hours (bottom)


10th Kentucky - a part of the Phelps Brigade
10th Kentucky - a part of the Phelps Brigade (inset)
10th Kentucky - a part of the Phelps Brigade


NOVEMBER 23-27, 1863.--The Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign.
No. 8.--Return of Casualties in the Union forces.(*)

Return of Casualties in the Union forces--Continued.
O:Officers, M: Men. A: Aggregate

Third Brigade.

  Killed Wounded Captured
or Missing
Command  O M O M O M A
10th Indiana       11     11
74th Indiana   2   16     18
4th Kentucky   2   9   1 12
10th Kentucky   2   10     12
14th Ohio   3   17     20
38th Ohio 2 7 3 37     46
Total Third Brigade 2 16 3 97   1 119
Total Third Division 9 79 30 442   6 566
Total Fourteenth Army Corps 13 130 55 719   14 931
Total Army of the Cumberland 49 482 281 3,178 8 131 4,129

NOVEMBER 23-27, 1863.--The Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign.
No. 173.--Report of Col. William H. Hays, Tenth Kentucky Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.


Chattanooga, Tenn., December 3, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Third Brigade, Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, in the late engagement:

Owing to the death of Col. E. H. Phelps, who commanded this brigade until the evening of the 25th of November, and was killed while gallantly leading the brigade on the last charge to take Missionary Ridge, my report will necessarily be but a brief outline of the movements of the brigade up to that time.

November 23, at 3 p.m., the brigade was ordered out to act as a reserve to the First and Second Brigades of this division, who were posted about three-quarters of a mile in front of Fort Negley, and near the enemy's picket line. This brigade was posted near the center, 200 yards in rear of the First and Second Brigades, where it remained until 3 a.m., November 24, when we were moved to the left of the La Fayette road and advanced near the enemy's lines, where, after posting a strong picket, we were ordered to intrench our position, which was done very effectually during the night, and by 9 o'clock the next day our position was very secure behind a strong line of breastworks.
We remained in this position until 10 a.m., November 25, when we were ordered to move to the left. After moving in that direction about 4 miles up the river, we were faced about and marched back 1 mile. We then halted, and after a few minutes were moved to the front across a small stream and the railroad, and took up a position on the left of the division, one-quarter of a mile from the enemy's works, at the foot of Missionary Ridge. Here a strong skirmish line was thrown to the front and left flank, the Second Brigade being on our right.

The regiments of this brigade were posted as follows: Tenth Kentucky, Fourth Kentucky, Seventy-fourth Indiana, and Thirty-eighth Ohio in the front line; Tenth Indiana and Fourteenth Ohio in the rear line as a reserve, two companies of the Thirty-eighth Ohio on the left as skirmishers to protect our left flank, as there were no <ar55_541> troops connected with this brigade on the left. We lay in this position for about one-half of an hour, when we were ordered to advance, which we did for about 100 yards at quick time, when we were ordered to double-quick to gain the rebels' works from which our skirmishers had driven the enemy. During the time we were passing the open space between the woods and the enemy's works, and while we were lying on the ground at their works, we were exposed to a heavy flanking fire of artillery from the top of Missionary Ridge.

We, however, maintained our position for ten or fifteen minutes, when we were ordered to charge the ridge, which we did at double-quick, but the hill being very steep and rough, a great many of the men gave out before they reached the top, but they all succeeded in getting up in good time. On reaching the top we found the enemy in line 25 or 30 yards to our left, who delivered a murderous fire on our men as they ascended the crest of the hill, but our rear having got up by this time, we were enabled to hold our position and drive the enemy back in confusion. We then strengthened our position by removing the logs from their works and placing them on the opposite side of the ridge; bivouacked during the night. In the meantime, we received orders to draw four days' rations and be ready to move at a moment's notice.

In the morning we buried our own and the enemy's dead that were left on the field. We did not move until 3 p.m. the next day, when we moved to the right, following the First and Second Brigades, and after marching until after dark, we bivouacked 2 miles east of Rossville.

The next morning, at 4 o'clock, we marched to Chickamauga Creek (about 1 ½ miles), where we halted for two hours until a bridge could be completed to cross that stream, when we again started and marched to Ringgold, where we arrived at 12 m., and bivouacked for the night.

November 28, received orders to go 3 miles south of Ringgold and destroy the railroad, which we succeeded in doing, destroying four bridges, tearing up track and burning the ties for about 1 mile, and returned to Ringgold, where we bivouacked for the night.
November 29, ordered to return to Chattanooga, where we arrived at dark.
I herewith submit a summary of casualties.

The Eighteenth Kentucky Infantry Volunteers, being on detached service, were not in the engagement.

During the engagement a great many prisoners were taken by the brigade, but they were immediately turned over to the provost guard of the brigade and division, and no memorandum kept of the number.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. A. C. McCLURG,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


O:Officers, M: Men. A: Aggregate

  Killed Wounded Missing
Regiment  O M O M O M A
Staff 1           1
38th Ohio 1 7 3 31     42
10th Indiana       11     11
4th Kentucky   2   9   1 12
74th Indiana   2   16     18
14th Ohio   3   17     20
10th Kentucky   2   10     12
Total(*) 2 16 3 94   1 116


NOVEMBER 23-27, 1863.--The Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign.
No. 177.--Report of Lieut. Col. Gabriel C. Wharton, Tenth Kentucky Infantry.


Chattanooga, Tenn., December 2, 1863.

SIR: In obedience to orders just received from the headquarters of the division, I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Tenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry in the actions in front of Chattanooga on the 23d, 24th, and 25th of November, 1863:

At 3 p.m. on the 23d, Col. E. H. Phelps, commanding Third Brigade, Third Division, ordered this regiment, together with the other regiments of this brigade, to take their respective positions in the rifle-pits in front of their camp, to the right of Fort Negley; in which position we remained (showing ourselves as much as possible to the enemy) until 5 p.m., when we were moved to the front, through the sally-port in front and to the left of the same fort, and took position about one-fourth of a mile in front of Fort Negley, fronting the Rossville road, with the regiment on the right of the brigade formed in column of division closed en masse in support of the First and Second Brigades of our division. Here we bivouacked for the night.

At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 24th, we were again moved to the left about one-fourth of a mile, and to the front near 1 mile, and took position with the right of the regiment on the Ringgold road, protected by a field battery of twelve guns, supported by the Second Brigade of our division, with our left joining the Fourth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. By noon we had thrown up strong rifle-pits in our front, parallel with Mission Ridge, and a traverse protecting our right flank. All this was done in full view of the pickets of the enemy, but they did not fire a gun. We remained quietly at this point until about 11 a.m. of the 25th, when we were ordered to the left. We moved rapidly by the left flank along the whole line of the army of General Thomas, crossed Citico Creek near where it empties into the Tennessee River, thence up the bank of the river some 2 ½ miles in rear of the position held by the army of General Sherman; when we were ordered to countermarch, and took our position between Citico Creek and Mission Ridge, in an open field behind a skirt of wood, our right joining the Ninth Ohio Volunteers, of Second Brigade, Third Division, on our left the Fourth Kentucky Infantry. We immediately advanced two companies of skirmishers, under command of Captains Hill and McKay, to cover our front.

The enemy were in full view in our front, in their rifle-pits at the foot of Mission Ridge, and in larger force on the top of the ridge beyond. We were ordered at the sound of the bugle to storm these rifle-pits, but before the signal was sounded our skirmishers had dislodged the enemy and occupied their fortifications. The brigade then went forward double-quick to these works, a distance of one-fourth of a mile, where we were compelled to allow the men to regain strength for the final assault on Mission Ridge.
During the ten minutes we remained in these works, although under a furious fire from a full battery with shells and spherical case-shot at easy range, the officers and men became wild with enthusiasm and desire to advance, although it seemed from there that it would be to a harvest of death, but they could see their comrades in Wood's <ar55_548> and Sheridan's divisions struggling and fighting their way up the hill to their right, in some places having gained the crest, in others almost to the top, and the flag of the Eighty-sixth Indiana proudly waving within 20 feet of the crest of one of the hills, its brave defenders unable to advance without assistance and determined never to fall back.

When the bugle did sound, and Colonel Hays gave the command forward, one wild yell went up, and forward they swept, over an open plain, through the camp of the enemy, and gained the foot of the ridge under a terrible enfilading fire of artillery from Tunnel Hill, knocking down the huts of the enemy's camp and tearing up the ground in every direction, but the men never wavered or faltered. When the foot of the hill had been gained and ascent commenced, the line of battle was lost, the strongest men got the right of the regiment and went first, and the weakest men formed the left of the regiment. In fact, they were not formed according to letters of their companies, but in accordance with individual strength. Many fell going up the hill as if exhausted, but would rest a moment, take a sup of water from a mountain stream, and then forward again. Having reached the top of the ridge and driven the enemy from their first line of works toward Tunnel Hill, Col. W. H. Hays, in obedience to orders from General Baird in person, formed the regiment on the left of the Second Brigade, Third Division, and advanced with this brigade about 150 yards, when the enemy were again discovered in force and making another stand.

They drove back our skirmishers, when Colonel Hays rapidly formed the regiment on the right of Colonel Van Derveer's brigade, in an open field on a plateau, about 30 yards from a gorge which divided the ridge we were on and the one on which the enemy were posted, and opened on them a destructive fire, but they continued to advance, when the regiment was ordered to charge up to the gorge, which it did in splendid style, which caused the enemy to waver. At the same moment the other regiments of our brigade, having gained the hill, charged down the ridge to the left of the Second Brigade, and the enemy broke and fled precipitately. This fight did not last more than twenty-five minutes, yet for that time it was very hot. The officers and men behaved with great courage, many refusing to take cover when ordered to do so. The fighting closed at or near 5.30 p.m., and it had scarcely ended when Captain McClurg, acting assistant adjutant-general, Third Division, brought the sad intelligence that the gallant Colonel Phelps had fallen at the head of his brigade, and also ordered Colonel Hays, as the ranking officer, to assume command of the brigade, which he did, leaving the regiment under my command. In this engagement our loss was very slight, 2 killed and 10 wounded, a list (*) of which will be hereunto appended.

We bivouacked for the night where we had fought. The morning of the 26th was spent in burying the dead and caring for the wounded. At 3 p.m. we again moved to the front in support of the pursuing columns, stopping for the night on West Chickamauga Creek, about 8 miles from this place.

On the 27th, we caught up with the advance of the army at Ringgold.

On the 28th, we aided the other regiments of our brigade in destroying four railroad bridges over East Chickamauga Creek, and tearing up 1 mile of the railroad. <ar55_549>
On the 29th, we marched back to our old camp at this place, where we now are.
The campaign, though short, was very trying upon the soldiers, as many of them had no shirts, socks, or blankets, and all were on very short rations, yet there was never a complaint heard, and each seemed to strive to outdo his comrade in endurance of exposure.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Lieutenant-Colonel Tenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.

Capt. A. J. DAVIS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.