September 18, 1863
---Chickamauga Prelude: On this date, in an attempt to surprise Rosecrans, Bragg’s Confederates attempt to cross the Chickamauga River at two points, and are opposed at both crossings by only one brigade each. Col. Minty’s cavalry blocks the crossing of Gen. Bushrod Johnson’s division at Reed’s Bridge, at the Confederate right flank. Assisted by Forrest’s cavalry, Johnson pushes across. At that point, Maj. Gen. John B. Hood, just arrived from Virginia, takes command of the column and pushes Minty back through the heavy woods. Farther south, Col. John Wilder’s Lightning Brigade---an infantry brigade equipped with repeating rifles and mounted---fights at Alexander’s Bridge against the vanguard of Confederate Gen. Walker’s corps, Brig. Gen. St. John Liddell’s division, and holds off the Rebels for some time, inflicting heavy casualties. However, the Southerners find another crossing farther south, and Wilder withdraws to the west and forms another block. Gen. Buckner gets one brigade across the river, but darkness is falling, and Bragg’s hoped-for surprise of the Yankees must wait until tomorrow.
|Chickamauga: Opening Moves|
(maps by Wikipedia)
Of the fight this day at the bridges, Col. Wilder writes:
All this talk of generalship displayed on either side is sheer nonsense. There was no generalship in it. It was a soldier's fight purely, wherein the only question involved was the question of endurance. The two armies came together like two wild beats, and each fought as long as it could stand up in a knock-down and drag-out encounter. If there had been any high order of generalship displayed, the disasters to both armies might have been less.
---Gen. Rosecrans now understands that Bragg intends to strike his army piecemeal, and separately attack Thomas’s corps before Crittenden and McCook can come up to support Thomas, hopefully trapping the Yankees and cutting them off from their escape routes back into Chattanooga. Rosecrans pushes his men on the march, swiftly up the Chickamauga Valley.
---The Richmond Daily Dispatch publishes this notice on women who have been able to infiltrate the army ranks:
More female Warriors.
The female warrior business is not dead yet. A fine looking young woman was arrested in Mobile last week for wearing male apparel. The Tribune says:
She stated that she had been fighting and travelling under the cognomen of “Charley Green;”that her father and four brothers enlisted in March, 1861, in New Orleans. She joined the Tiger Rifles, Capt. White, and was with that company in the battle of Manassas, where she says she received a wound in her right side. She says, also, that she was in the battles around Richmond and other places, was taken prisoner, paroled in Illinois, and has since been strolling about from company to company, and was never stopped or interrogated before, which is another evidence of the efficient energy displayed by our Provost-Marshal, Major Dennis, who is determined not to allow anybody to pass without “coming to a showing.” “Charley Green” was taken in and cared for. Several Louisianian called to see her, and, after questioning her for some time, were fully satisfied that she was not a spy, nor disloyal to the country.