Report of Col. Tucker
Comdg Anderson's Brigade of the part taken by the Comd in the actions of the 23rd, 24th
and 25th Nov. 1863
[Battle of Missionary Ridge]
December 4th 1863
I have the honor herewith to report the part taken by Anderson's Brigade in the
action of the 23rd, 24th and 25th ult.
On the 23rd Genl. Mangault picketed the immediate front of Anderson's Brigade
while a part of the 7th Miss & the 9t Battln S.S. [9th Mississippi Battalion Sharpshooters]
picketed on Managault's [Manigault] left, connecting with Genl. Breckenridge's right.
Lt. Col. Johns of the 7th Miss with 5 Cos of that Regt was guarding the bridges across
City Cove [?] Creek on the Knoxville and Atlanta Rail Roads as well as a bridge on a
country road across the same stream between the Rail Road.
About 2 o'ck PM, on the 23rd, the enemy advanced in force along the whole Divn
front. The main object of the enemy's attack, apparently, being the possession of the two
Commanding hills in front of Anderson's and Managault's [Manigault] encampment.
The pickets from Anderson's Brigade, on the left of these hills, were not pressed & easily
held their ground, falling back at their leisure to connect with Managault's [Manigault]
left. Lt. Col. Johns' gallantry held his own on the extreme right repulsing every effort of
the enemy to cross the bridges which he defended. Loss during the day 2 officers & 9
At night one half of the Brigade was removed to the top of Missionary Ridge. On
the 24th everything was quiet on the left. Lt. Col. Johns was compelled to fall back to the
entrenchments at the foot of Missionary Ridge by the withdrawal of the troops on his
right & left. In this movement he lost 16 men captured by the enemy.
On the 25th Anderson's Brigade had no picket in front: one half of the Brigade in
one sank in the trenches & the other half busily engaged entrenching at the top of the
Ridge. About 11 AM the enemy advanced a heavy line of skirmishers & drew
Managault's [Manigault] pickets (still in our immediate front) into trenches. Not
satisfied with this, they advanced within gunshot of the trenches & were driven back with
some loss. Soon after this orders were received, that if the enemy advanced in force the
men at the foot of the Ridge were not to fight where they were, but to fall back
skirmishing to the top of the Ridge. At 3 o'ck PM the enemy advanced in heavy forces,
& these instructions were obeyed. The Brigade was reformed in the works (if they
deserve the name) on the top of the Ridge, a part of the 44th & a part of the 41st Miss
Regts being held in reserve. At every point when the enemy could be seen in our front,
he was checked or repulsed: but unfortunately the works were so constructed as not to
command a view of the front part of a high projecting point about the centre of the
Brigade. Behind this the enemy massed their force &, secure from our fire, climbed the
hill. When they suddenly appeared in front of our men at this unexpected point, seized
with a panic, they gave way before them, & in spite of the efforts of their officers ;
continued to break on each side of the point where the enemy entered our lines, until the
whole Brigade fell back in disorder. Learning the point above referred to was threatened,
I lead [led] up apart of the 41st Miss to support it: halting the reserve & hurrying forward
in person to see precisely when they were needed. I met the men who had been in the
works retiring before the enemy. Failing to rally these, I hastened back to bring up the
reserve only to find it stampeded with the rest. Nothing could now be done, except to
rally the Brigade as soon as possible. This, with the aid of the officers of the line & a
very efficient staff, I succeeded in doing a half mile in rear of our former line reported
immediately to Genl. Deas for duty, Genl. Anderson having been cut off from us, & was
marched off by order to Chickamauga Station at dark, without taking further part in the
I wish to place upon record as an excuse, which may be given for the behavior of
these men, who have always heretofore acted well in the presence of the enemy. The
men who were brought up from the trenches below were completely exhausted when they
arrived at the top of the hill & unfit for action. Many had to be carried off by the
Infirmary Corps while numbers of others who remained were so sick they could scarcely
stand. When it was also recollected that the men could not be carried up the hill in order,
it is not to be expected that every man would fall into his proper place under fire, & soon
confusion & mixture of commands was the necessary result. By this movement our men
became somewhat demoralized & the enemy flushed & encouraged. However, had the
enemy's onset been checked by the men in the trenches, for even two minutes, they could
have been swept from the hill or into eternity with scarcely an effort on our part.
Loss of the Brigade 11 killed, 13 wounded, and 182 missing.
I remain, Major, very respectfully
To Maj. J.R. Wilson
Transcribed by Christopher A. Baker, University of Florida, 2008.