September 9, 1863. “We find the enemy has departed for Ringgold.”

Lieutenant Colonel Edward Kitchell Diary, 98th Illinois Mounted Infantry, Wilder’s Brigade. Kitchell and his regiment were still north of Chattanooga as part of the Union deception force when they learned that Bragg’s army pulled out. 

September 9, 1863.

We moved down this forenoon 13 miles to Chickamauga Ford. The enemy opened with two pieces of artillery. Lieut. Riptoe [of] Lillys battery replied. A deserter came over soon after, and informed us they had left. 6 cos. of our regt. and about same number of 72nd forded, deepest up to mid-side. River clear & rapid, near a mile the length of ford. We find  the enemy has departed for Ringold. The 92nd Ill. planted our flag in Chattanooga this afternoon first. Crittenden’s Corps now occupy it. We are six miles above Chattanooga at the farm of Widow Lumpkins, sister to Crutchfield of Chattanooga. Bal[ance of] Brig. and teams will cross tomorrow. Several deserters came in.


Meanwhile, far to the south…


Lieutenant William D. Ward of the 37th Indiana was part of Negley’s Division, the 14th Corps. Negley’s men were toiling over Lookout Mountain, leading the advance into McLemore’s Cove: Their ultimate objective, La Fayette, Georgia. Ward’s journal describes the difficulties presented by what passed for roads up Lookout Mountain. 

9th Day of September, 1863,

Reached the foot of the Lookout Mountain Range at the foot of Stevenson’s Gap [Actually, Johnson’s Crook.]  On the morning of that day we started over, having in charge the artillery and division wagon train. We found what was called the Gap to be about as high a place as there was on the mountain, but a place where teams occasionally crossed & although the route was very difficult,[we] crossed.

The road ran zig zag across the mountain and at points where the course changed it was very steep and the men had to assist in getting the cannon and wagons up the mountain although the teams were doubled on each gun. Indeed, at a few points it was so steep that it required eight horses and one hundred men pulling at a rope tied to the gun to get it over the steep point.

The day was spent in getting trains and guns up the mountain and we bivouacked that night at the top.

(Note: Ward’s journal was re-written after the war, expanding his much shorter wartime diary entries.)

5 Responses to “September 9, 1863. “We find the enemy has departed for Ringgold.””

  1. Mitchell Werksman Says:

    Dave, I was reading your first book on Chickamauga and on page 238 Reed’s Bridge 9/18/63 you say Johnson’s artillery were firing on the yankees.i am following this on The Maps of Chickamauga book on page 41, map set 3.4 you do not show any confederate batteries, so my question is where were they on the field?……mitch

  2. Dave Powell Says:


    The Rebel artillery accounts are all pretty vague. There was a battery engaged briefly on the west side of Peavine Ridge, and Bledsoe’s guns (IIRC) unlimbered briefly near the Reed House, apparently in the road between the house and the barn.

  3. Michael A. Peake Says:

    Dave, I’ve been enjoying your posts but noticed a slight error regarding William D. Ward. Indiana Adjutant General Report, Volume V, shows Williamson Ward, resident of Howard County, Indiana, mustered as private Company D, 39th Regiment Indiana Infantry 8-29-1861, veteran and mustered out as sergeant 7-20-1865. I didn’t check the Indiana State Digital Archives, but that source would indicate age and enrollment site, and likely date of promotion. I’ve used portions of Ward’s diary that covers his entire service. The 39th was brigaded with the 32nd Indiana for most of the first three years, and after August 1862, they became some of Willich’s “phoys.” The 32nd was supposed to be mounted as well, but it never happened.

  4. Dave Powell Says:

    Michael, this is not actually Williamson Ward, different guy. I have both. the Original of William D. Ward’s Diary is at DePauw University, in Greencastle IN, though I think that the Indiana Historical Society has a copy as well.

    William D. Ward will eventually rise to rank of Lt Colonel of the 37th.

  5. Closing In on Chickamauga in the Words of the Soldiers Themselves | Emerging Civil War Says:

    […] “I am inclined to think we will get Bragg in Chattanooga…” predicted Sgt. George Marsh of Company D, the 104th Illinois Infantry. Lieutenant Colonel Edward Kitchell of the 98th Illinois Mounted Infantry, had a different prediction: “We find the enemy has departed for Ringgold.” […]

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