August 21 and 22, 1863. “Our uncivil salutation”

From the journal of William O. Crouse, Capt. Eli Lilly’s 18th Indiana Battery, Wilder’s Brigade, writing the day after his battery’s arrival opposite Chattanooga:

August 22nd

[From Poe’s Tavern] the brigade separated, 4 guns with mountain howitzers marching south towards Chattanooga and 2 guns with 98th Ills to Harrison’s Landing. . . . The main body, marching down the valley seventeen miles to Chattanooga, took possession of the heights north of town and began shelling the city. It was a day of fasting for the citizens, and having no intelligence of our coming, were no doubt surprised by our uncivil salutation.

Surprised they were. Lilly’s shells caught Chattanoogans – soldiers and civilians alike – completely off-guard. President Davis had declared August 22nd to be a day of fasting and prayer across the Confederacy, a spiritual scourging to make up for the loss of Vicksburg and the depressing news out of Pennsylvania that summer. 

 Colonel Newton Davis of the 24th Alabama, Manigault’s Brigade, Hindman’s Division; reported that same scene in a letter home: 

Camp on Lookout Creek, August 22nd, 1863,

Dear Bettie,

Yesterday the little city of Chattanooga was in a state of excitement all day. The Yanks made their appearance very suddenly on the opposite side of the River and commenced shelling the town. The streets are always crowded with soldiers & citizens, men, women & children. You never saw such skidadling in all your life. Shopkeepers, peach & apple vendors, and speculators of all descriptions, both Jews and Gentiles, commenced running in every direction. The shelling was kept up nearly all day. I understand that four persons were killed and some seven or eight wounded, mostly citizens. One lady was killed and a little girl had her thigh broken. . . . All the floating population . . . are leaving on the trains as fast as they can get off.

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