Citation
Deas, Z.C. to Major J.P. Wilson – Dec. 8, 1863 – Dalton, GA

Material Information

Title:
Deas, Z.C. to Major J.P. Wilson – Dec. 8, 1863 – Dalton, GA
Creator:
Baker, Christopher A. ( Transcriber )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Civil War
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- Georgia -- Dalton
North America -- United States of America -- Florida
North America -- United States of America -- Tennessee
North America -- United States of America

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
41jc

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Head Qts Deas Brigade Hindman's Divn
Breckenridge's Corps Army of Tenn.
Dalton Georgia Dec 8th 1863

Major,
I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the troops
under my command in the Battle of "Missionary Ridge."
On Tuesday Nov 24th 1863, I was put in command of the troops in the
breastworks at the foot of Missionary Ridge, consisting of the halves of Vaughan's,
Deas's, Manigault's, and Anderson's (Commanded by Col. Tucker) & the whole of
Reynolds' brigades forming a portion of Hindman's Division, commanded by Brig. Genl.
Patton Anderson, & in line as recited above, from right to left with a strong line of
skirmishers, well advanced, in my front. The balance of the Division was posted on the
crest of the Ridge, under the immediate command of Genl. Anderson. This formed the
centre of our line of battle on Missionary Ridge, as our forces were disposed on
Wednesday the 25th, my orders were to hold this position to the last.
On examination of the ground, I became satisfied that this position was very
disadvantageous especially so with the orders I had for the reason that if the men
made a stubborn resistance as ordered, & were overpowered by numbers, capture or
annihilation were the alternatives; as retreat with the enemy close on us, up the steep
ascent of the hill behind, would have been impossible. For this & other reasons I went to
Genl. Anderson & begged that he would order the troops in the flat to the crest of the
ridge, where I was satisfied a much better fight could be made.
He told me that he was satisfied of this also, & wished to make the change, but
could not do so without orders. He then went to ask this permission, but the answer was
"No, remain as you are." Sometime after 10 o'ck on Wednesday morning, the
skirmishers along the whole front of the Division were driven in to my line, when the
enemy was checked and driven back handsomely; Col. Tucker capturing a few prisoners.
Subsequently, I recurred an order not to fight at the breastworks, but fall back when the
enemy's line approached within two hundred yards, skirmishing up the hill, & form on
the crest with the balance of the Division.
About 3 o'ck PM the enemy advanced in four lines, & the command fell back as
ordered, & I resumed command of my Brigade. In a few minutes the firing along the
whole front became very heavy, & at one point the enemy were advancing against me in
solid columns. After a while I saw the troops a long way to my left breaking, & the
enemy coming over our breastworks. After awhile one of my staff officers rode up and
told me that he could see the enemy's colors on the crest of the ridge on my left: & riding
a few paces, I became convinced of the painful fact: & in a few minutes they got
possession of some of our artillery and opened fire on me, enfilading my lines with both
artillery & small arms. At this time none of our troops could be seen on the crest of the
ridge to my left as far as the eyes could reach: & the enemy had commenced forming a
line of battle on our slope at right angles to our original line. About this time also, I
could see three Yankee colors on my right front, where they were advancing in columns,
almost up to the logs behind which the men were. Resistance now had ceased to be a
virtue.









I gave the order to fall back, but rallied the Brigade again in about three hundred
yds, without an effort. My intention was to move against the enemy immediately, & I
had given the order to that effect when I found that my ammunition was exhausted, & my
ord. train had retired across the Chickamauga after the enemy had got on our slope of the
Ridge. I now sent for ammunition & moved a short distance to the rear, where I halted to
wait for it, when I rec'd an order to cross the Chickamauga, "The battle had been fought
& lost." I moved across the bridge in perfect good order, & formed in line of battle to
hold the crossing, if it became necessary.
While acting in the two different capacities where I had the honor to command in
this battle, with but few exceptions, the officers & men behaved well: and to other causes
then want of courage & capacity on their part, must be attributed the disaster of that day.
Referring to the accompanying reports of Regt Commanders
I remain, Maj. very respy
Yr Obt. Svt.
Z.C. Deas
Brig. General
Maj. J.F. Wilson
A.A.G.
Hindman's Division


Transcribed by Christopher A. Baker, University of Florida, 2008.




Full Text

PAGE 1

Head Qts Deas Brigade Hindmans Divn Breckenridges Corps Army of Tenn. Dalton Georgia Dec 8th 1863 Major, I have the honor to submit the followi ng report of the part taken by the troops under my command in the Battl e of Missionary Ridge. On Tuesday Nov 24th 1863, I was put in command of the troops in the breastworks at the foot of Missionary Ridge, consisting of the halves of Vaughans, Deass, Manigaults, and Andersons (Com manded by Col. Tucker) & the whole of Reynolds brigades forming a portion of Hi ndmans Division, comma nded by Brig. Genl. Patton Anderson, & in line as recited above, fr om right to left with a strong line of skirmishers, well advanced, in my front. The balance of the Division was posted on the crest of the Ridge, under the immediate command of Genl. Anderson. This formed the centre of our line of battle on Missionary Ridge, as our forces were disposed on Wednesday the 25th, my orders were to hold this position to the last. On examination of the ground, I became satisfied that this position was very disadvantageous especially so with the orders I had for the r eason that if the men made a stubborn resistance as ordered, & we re overpowered by numbers, capture or annihilation were the alternatives; as retrea t with the enemy close on us, up the steep ascent of the hill behind, would have been impossi ble. For this & other reasons I went to Genl. Anderson & begged that he would order th e troops in the flat to the crest of the ridge, where I was satisfied a much better fight could be made. He told me that he was satisfied of th is also, & wished to make the change, but could not do so without orders. He then we nt to ask this permi ssion, but the answer was No, remain as you are. Sometime af ter 10 ock on Wednesday morning, the skirmishers along the whole front of the Divisi on were driven in to my line, when the enemy was checked and driven back handsomely; Col. Tucker capturing a few prisoners. Subsequently, I recurred an order not to fight at the breastworks, but fall back when the enemys line approached within two hundred yards, skirmishing up the hill, & form on the crest with the balance of the Division. About 3 ock PM the enemy advanced in four lines, & the command fell back as ordered, & I resumed command of my Brigade. In a few minutes the firing along the whole front became very heavy, & at one point the enemy were advancing against me in solid columns. After a while I saw the tr oops a long way to my left breaking, & the enemy coming over our breastworks. After awhi le one of my staff officers rode up and told me that he could see the enemys colors on the crest of the ri dge on my left: & riding a few paces, I became convinced of the painful fact: & in a few minutes they got possession of some of our arti llery and opened fire on me, enfilading my lines with both artillery & small arms. At this time none of our troops could be seen on the crest of the ridge to my left as far as the eyes coul d reach: & the enemy had commenced forming a line of battle on our slope at right angles to our original li ne. About this time also, I could see three Yankee colors on my right fron t, where they were advancing in columns, almost up to the logs behind which the men were. Resistance now had ceased to be a virtue.

PAGE 2

I gave the order to fall back, but rallie d the Brigade again in about three hundred yds, without an effort. My intention was to move against the enemy immediately, & I had given the order to that effect when I found that my ammunition was exhausted, & my ord. train had retired across the Chickamauga af ter the enemy had got on our slope of the Ridge. I now sent for ammunition & moved a shor t distance to the rear, where I halted to wait for it, when I recd an order to cross the Chickamauga, The battle had been fought & lost. I moved across the bridge in perfect good order, & formed in line of battle to hold the crossing, if it became necessary. While acting in the two different capacities where I had the honor to command in this battle, with but few exceptions, the offi cers & men behaved well: and to other causes then want of courage & capacity on their part, must be attribut ed the disaster of that day. Referring to the accompanying reports of Regt Commanders I remain, Maj. very respy Yr Obt. Svt. Z.C. Deas Brig. General Maj. J.F. Wilson A.A.G. Hindmans Division Transcribed by Christopher A. Baker, University of Florida, 2008.