Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: The Reminiscences of a Confederate Cavalryman

By Geo. Dallas Mosgrove | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII.
GENERAL LONGSTREET IN TENNESSEE-THE SIEGE OF KNOXVILLE- ASSAULT UPON FORT SANDERS-MINOR INFANTRY AND CAVALRY ENGAGEMENTS.

"Through the sounding woods there come
Banner and bugle, trump and drum."

GENERAL LONGSTREET and his veteran army corps, covered with scars and carrying tattered red battleflags, had come from sanguinary Eastern battlefields to reinforce Bragg at Chattanooga. Having fought with the Western troops at Chickamauga, defeating Rosecrans, the veterans of the East turned their faces toward Knoxville, and after a sharp engagement at Campbells Station, where the gallant Federal general, W. P. Sanders, only twenty-eight years old, was killed, General Longstreet began to besiege General Burnside at Knoxville, November 15, 1863.

Longstreet's environment of the city was so complete that it seemed to be merely a question of time when Burnside, cut off from his supplies, would necessarily be forced to capitulate. Hood's division of infantry was stationed at a point whence it could readily move upon Burnside, should he attempt to retreat. Our cavalry was kept busy guarding and watching the numerous roads, intercepting supply trains, etc. Cavalry fights were of almost daily occurrence, and the infantry lines had so closely invested the Federal works that skirmish firing was almost incessant. Finally General Longstreet determined upon making an assault, and several consultations were held as to the most vulnerable point in the enemy's works of defense.

General Longstreet, who always rode over his battlefields,

His line to marshal and to range.
And ranks to square and fronts to change,"

says that on the night of November 25th, in company with

-98-

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