Burgess Elliott

Report of Col. Sidney M. Barnes, Eighth Kentucky Infantry.

Report of Col. Sidney M. Barnes, Eighth Kentucky Infantry.

Lookout Mountain, December 1, 1863.
LIEUT.: In obedience to orders from brigade headquarters, I
herewith submit to you, for the information of the commanding general,
a report of the operations and part taken by the Eighth Kentucky
Volunteers, under my command, in the storming of Lookout Mountain,
to wit:

I have the honor to report that at 8 a.m., 23d November, 1863, my
command, together with five other regiments of the Second Brigade,
Gen. W. C. Whitaker commanding, marched from Shellmound to the
front to engage the enemy, and at 6 p.m., or about that time of same
day as above, arrived near the headquarters of Maj.-Gen. Hooker,
opposite Lookout Mountain and near the foot of Raccoon Mountain, and
encamped for the night. Early next morning, at 6 a.m., we were
ordered by Gen. Whitaker forward into action, the Eighth Kentucky
in the advance of the brigade. We proceeded by the way of Gen.
Geary’s headquarters to the rear of a chain of hills on the west side of
Lookout Creek and Mountain.

When the Second Brigade formed line of battle and prepared for action
and the storming of Lookout Mountain, we formed on the left of the
Twelfth Army Corps, or Gen. Geary’s division, and from there we
moved by the flank, in rear of Geary’s division, crossing Lookout Creek
near mouth of Wauhatchie, after which three lines of battle were
formed, Geary’s command having the advance. The Eighth Kentucky
formed on the right of the second line, and the whole force moved along
the slope or side west of the summit of Lookout Mountain, the lines of
battle extending from near Lookout Creek to the cliff of Lookout
Mountain, which cliff extended along the entire slope and right of the
line. The advance was rapid and over deep ravines, large rocks, high
ridges, and very uneven and rough ground. We advanced in a northerly
direction toward the point of Lookout Mountain, a distance of 3 miles,
perhaps. The enemy was encountered about 1 mile from the point of the
mountain. They made a stubborn resistance, but were ultimately driven
around the point of the mountain in splendid style, many prisoners being
captured and sent to the rear. The Eighth Kentucky was not really
engaged in the action, although subjected to a heavy fire from the enemy
on the mountain above for a mile at least. During our advance we
advanced in supporting distance of the first line and sufficiently near to
be repeatedly fired into by the enemy in front. After reaching the ridge
or spur of the mountain, immediately opposite the point of Lookout
Mountain and to the left off and immediately under the point where the
rebel artillery had been stationed, and there operated, we were ordered
to halt and hold the ridge or spur at all hazards, which we did. Here we
remained from about 12.30 o’clock in the day until next morning, the
25th November, about sunrise, in line of battle, all the time without
water, overcoats, or blankets, suffering considerably. An attempt was
made, at the request of Brig.-Gen. Whitaker, by Lieut. Jones, of Company
F, Eighth Kentucky, to reach the summit, but it failed on account of the
superior force of the enemy on the summit and the
use of hand grenades by the enemy. Here, however, the party killed 1
rebel, and sustained no loss. Early next morning, about sunup,
Brig.-Gen. Whitaker approached the Eighth Kentucky and asked
if they could not furnish a party to ascend the summit and plant the flag
of the Eighth Kentucky, in honor of the Second Brigade. Immediately
Capt. Wilson, Company C, Eighth Kentucky, who commanded the
color company, volunteered to try the experiment, the officers and men
of the Eighth Kentucky agreeing to sustain and support him. Five of the
regiment ascended with Capt. Wilson. In a few minutes they planted
the colors of the Eighth Kentucky on the summit or top of Lookout
Mountain. I then forwarded the regiment immediately to the summit to
his support, and threw out a strong skirmish line and formed line of
battle and advanced the line several hundred yards from the point, and
continued the skirmish line to Summertown and to the rebel
encampment, finding most of the enemy had retreated, capturing a
considerable amount of commissary stores, a large number of tents and
camp equipage, several boxes of artillery ammunition, about one
hundred and eighty small-arms, and some little corn. The Twelfth Army
Corps have taken possession of most of the commissary stores and
artillery ammunition, and a considerable quantity of the other captured
property has been hauled away by order of Col. Mackay, assistant
quartermaster, Department of the Cumberland. We captured during the
25th, the day we took the mountain, 100 prisoners, and sent them to the
rear. We now hold, together with the Ninety-sixth Illinois [Col.
Champion], Lookout Mountain. He and his command have rendered me
valuable assistance in securing the captured property and other necessary
duties in fortifying, &c. The Ninety-sixth Illinois belongs to the Second
Brigade, and was ordered on the mountain to support the Eighth
Kentucky; in fact, many of them rushed up after the Eighth Kentucky
to assist without being actually ordered.

The Eighth Kentucky, under my command, numbered when we formed
line of battle and crossed Lookout Creek, 18 commissioned officers,
including field and staff, and 184 enlisted men; in all, 202 officers and
enlisted men. Company G having been left in rear by order of
Brig.-Gen. Whitaker to guard wagons, &c., they did not
participate in the action.

All my officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, with the
exceptions hereinafter named, did their duty and are entitled to praise,
except Corpl. Burges Elliott and Privates John W. Ward and George
Aldridge, of Company B; John Brandenburgh, John Ashcraft, William
Hall, William H. Ross, Henry Fike, Company D; Privates William
Maes and Daniel Edwards, Company F, and Privates William Aldridge,
Hardin Moore, and John Selby, Company H. They are reported by their
company commanders as having without permission fallen out and to the
rear after crossing the creek and the advance commenced. Corporal
Elliott contends he was sent to the rear with a prisoner by Lieut.
Phipps, of Gen. Whitaker’s staff, about which I am not advised. He
has heretofore been a good soldier.
 The others contend they broke down
and could not keep up. They are stout men, and I regret to say that I
fear they did not altogether discharge their duty. They all rejoined the
command on the mountain after the enemy were driven off.

We lost no officers in killed, none were wounded and none missing.
Four enlisted men were wounded, none of them seriously. I cannot
account for the loss being so small except from the dense fog that
enveloped the whole country during part of our advance and while we
lay in line of battle. The fog continued from 1 p.m. to about 11 p.m.,
and obscured the scene.

I have the honor to especially mention Capt. John Wilson, Company C,

and Sergt. Harris H. Davis, Company A; Private William Witt, same
company; Sergt. Joseph Wagers, Company B, and James G. Wood,
Company B; also Private Joel Bradley, Company I, for their
extraordinary daring and gallantry in ascending the summit of Lookout
Mountain and planting the colors of the Eighth Kentucky on the summit
in advance of every other person, in the presence or sight of both
armies. I trust they may be promoted. I also have the satisfaction in
mentioning Maj. John S. Clark and Adjt. Thomas Edgar Park and Sergt.
Maj. John Mosely for their coolness and daring in and during the whole
action. They rendered me essential service, and they each deserve

I herewith return a tabular statement* of those wounded, &c.

All of which I respectfully submit.

Col. Eighth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, Comdg.

Acting Assistant adjutant-Gen.

N. B.–By way of supplement to my report I beg leave to report that
Corpl. Burges Elliott, Company B, Eighth Kentucky, was really sent
back with prisoners by Lieut. J. P. Phipps, aide-de-camp to Gen.
Whitaker, and he should be honorably mentioned. All of which is
respectfully submitted.

Source: Official Records
[Series I. Vol. 31. Part II, Reports. Serial No. 55.]

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