Saturday, July 11, 2009

Reports of Lieut. Col. George Burton, Fourth Iowa Infantry.

Lookout Mountain, November 25, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, agreeably to your order, about 7 a.m. of yesterday the Fourth Iowa Infantry moved forward and took a position on a hill immediately in front of Lookout Mountain, and near the Tennessee River, supporting the First Ohio Battery (Battery K, First Ohio Artillery) there planted.

About 11 o'clock, when the engagement became spirited on the right by the personal order of Brigadier-General Osterhaus, I sent forward 50 of my regiment as skirmishers, under command of Major Nichols, to the bank of the creek skirting the base of the mountain near the river, and engaged the attention of the enemy at that point. I also shortly afterward, by further direction of General Osterhaus, moved the regiment down the hill in advance of the battery, sustaining and relieving.

About 4 p.m. I received an order from Colonel -------, on the staff of Major-General Hooker, to report forthwith with the regiment to Brigadier-General Geary, commanding (Second) Division, (Twelfth) Army Corps.

I thereupon crossed the creek, and under the direction of General Geary, arrived and ascended the mountain, reaching a position assigned us near the cliffs about dark, and awaited orders. Soon afterward I relieved the Twenty-fourth (?) Ohio Infantry., who represented themselves as out of ammunition. Here our right rested on the base of the cliffs connecting onto the left of the Thirty-sixth Indiana, on line extending directly down the mountain, our left joining at right angles the right of the Thirty-first Iowa. While here the regiment assisted materially by its enfilading fire in repulsing two charges of the enemy, and must certainly have inflicted upon them a severe loss.

About 1 a.m. of to-day we were relieved by the Seventh Ohio. Too much praise cannot be awarded both officers and men for the coolness, promptness, and firmness with which they advanced to and held the various positions assigned them, in nearly every case under a heavy fire. Our loss in the day's engagement was 1 killed and 6 wounded, a list(*) in detail of which is hereby appended.

I have the honor to subscribe myself, sir, your most obedient servant,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Fourth Iowa Infantry.

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


Camp near Ringgold, Ga., November 28, 1863.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report that, about 10 a.m. of yesterday, we arrived at Ringgold, and were immediately ordered by Col. J. A. Williamson to follow the Seventy-sixth Ohio Infantry, and move by the right flank in rear of the center of that regiment for the purpose of supporting it. The Seventy-sixth Ohio at this time was in advance of us, moving to a point at the base of Taylor's Ridge, a short distance to the east of the town. On arriving at the base of the hill, I obeyed the order strictly until the regiment was half way up the ascent, when, at the request of the major commanding the Seventy-sixth Ohio, I brought my regiment into line immediately in his rear, still moving steadily forward. When near the crest of the hill, the men of both regiments, from the steepness and ruggedness of the ground and the heaviness of the enemy's fire, being somewhat deployed, the regiment was ordered to fix bayonets, and charge in line with the Seventy-sixth. The order was gallantly obeyed; the crest of the hill was taken and held for about ten minutes, when the enemy, being in heavy force, rallied in our front and charged upon our right and left flanks simultaneously, at the same time pouring upon us a heavy direct and enfilading fire. Under these circumstances, having no support, we were compelled to fall back about 30 yards down the hill, where we succeeded in holding our position until re-enforcements arrived. About 2 o'clock we again advanced and scaled the hill. The enemy, however, had by this time evacuated his position. Under the order of Col. J. A. Williamson, who was present, we now moved a short distance along the ridge toward the gap near the town, when we advanced down the hill and drove the enemy from the railroad bridge, which they were endeavoring to destroy. While the regiment was putting out the fire on the bridge nearest the gap, by further order of Colonel Williamson, I sent Major Nichols, with 40 men, to save the railroad bridge in advance on the road by which the enemy had retreated, which was also in flames.

Both officers and men merit the highest praise for their coolness and bravery during the day's engagement.

Our casualties were 7 killed, 24 wounded, and 1 missing. A list(*) in detail is hereto appended.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Fourth Iowa Infantry.

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


SOURCE: The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies During the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 31, part 2: NOVEMBER 23-27, 1863. – The Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign, p. 618-9

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