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History of Cambria County, V.2

lost 8,684. Dana wired: The day is ours. Missionary Ridge has been carried by a magnificent charge of Thomas' troops.


    The battle of Chickamauga was fought September 19 and 20, 1863, and Gen. Rosecrans' army, with the exception of the Fourteenth Corps, under Maj.-Gen. George H. Thomas, were routed and fled to Rossville that night, then retreating to Chattanooga, took possession of that city. Burnside was at Nashville, and was in great danger of being captured.
    This was the situation in the War Department on the evening of September 23d. Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton were sorely depressed, they feared Rosecrans and Burnside would be defeated, and the Confederates would take possession of the middle west unless reinforcements could be got to them; there were none in that vicinity, and the assistance must be furnished at once.
    Secretary Stanton resolved that the only troops he could furnish would be the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, from Meade's Army of the Potomac, between whom and Nashville lay over 1,300 miles. The question was, could it be done in time? At 10 o'clock that night he was in conference with Col. Thomas A. Scott and John W. Garrett, the latter the president of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. Mr. Stanton laid the situation before these gentlemen, and said the troops would have to be taken to Nashville within six days. It was a new proposition to transport 15,000 men, horses and artillery that distance, with the equipments the road then had. Mr. Garrett did not see how it could be done. Mr. Stanton insisted that it must be done, as it was the only thing which would save the Union army in that locality, and probably the life of the nation. It was argued pro and con until 3 o'clock in the morning, when Mr. Garrett said he would undertake the task. Then Mr. Stanton sent the following telegram:
War Department,
Washington, September 24,1863,
3:30 a. m.
MAJOR C. A. DANA, Chattanooga:
    We have made arrangements to send 15,000 infantry, under Gen. Hooker, from here, and will have them in Nashville in five or six days from today, with orders to push on immediately wherever Gen. Rosecrans wants them.
Secretary of War.

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Created: 16 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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