Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 1863: Wheeler's cavalry raid spotted

Map of Wheeler's raid by Hal Jespersen.
On this day 150 years ago, the Confederate cavalry under Major General Joseph Wheeler were spotted as they moved around the Union Army of the Cumberland's left flank into the rear of the Union forces at Chattanooga. Wheeler's mission was to disrupt Rosecrans' lines of supply.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION CAVALRY,
Camp near Smith's Cross-Roads, September 30, 1863- 4 p.m.

Major SINCLAIR,

Asst. Adjut. General, Chief of Cavalry, Chattanooga:

The enemy have crossed the river with a very heavy force. They crossed below and above me in several places simultaneously, so that it was impossible for me to prevent them. They have a great deal of mounted infantry that they fight on foot. I fought them for an hour or so, but as they were about to surround me I have retreated to this point, where they will have to approach me in front. The Fourth Ohio being up the river trying to prevent the rebels from crossing there, is cut off, but I sent them word to come in on a rear road, and I think they will come in all right. There were no roads running up and down the river banks, so that my patrols could not watch all the river, as the jungles along the banks were impassable. My loss is comparatively slight. I cannot form any idea of their numbers. A great many persons report infantry, but I think it only dismounted cavalry.

Generals Wheeler and Forrest with their commands are both there. General Wheeler sent in a flag of truce demanding my surrender. I consider that I was very fortunate in saving all my train. I learn that they issued their men five days' rations before starting, and told their men that they must last them until they crossed the mountains. Their horses are reported in good condition. The force that crossed at a point half way between Washington and Kingston said that they were going to Crossville, on the Sparta road. My impression is that they intend making a raid on our communications. I shall await orders here.

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

GEORGE CROOK,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

P. S.- I shall send scout to Washington in the morning.

G. C.
The Union forces in Chattanooga would soon be on very short rations as the result of Wheeler's raid.

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