| American History Stories, Volume IV|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of the great conflict from the time Lincoln became president and the southern states seceded, through the battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, until the close of the war. Includes poems, songs, and illustrations commemorating the events. Ages 8-12 |
"BATTLE IN THE CLOUDS"
THOMAS'S army had now grown quite large. Sherman
had joined him, and Hooker had joined him—both able
generals, and both in command of brave soldiers.
Bragg's army lay on Missionary Ridge and on Lookout
Mountain. They had enjoyed their position up there
greatly. Those on Lookout Mountain could look down
upon the Union soldiers, and, with their field glasses, tell
every move they made.
This was all very well in pleasant weather, under a cloudless
sky; but there came a day, so "misty moisty" that
the Unionists could not look up the mountain, neither could
the Confederates look down.
Did you ever see a mountain with its summit all lost to
sight in a big cloud of mist and rain? The little boys and
girls who have lived all their lives close to the beautiful
 hills, have seen this hundreds of times. It is nothing new
to them; but I hope they will never grow to be so used to
it that they think it not worth noticing. It is, I almost
think, the most beautiful sight in nature. I shall never
forget the first mountain I ever saw. It was away down
in Maine, up close to the New Hampshire line. As our
train steamed out of the forests round a curve, we came all
at once upon a broad clear place, with the mountains straight
ahead. It was a heavy, cloudy "dog-day" in August;—one
minute it would be dark and rainy, with big black
clouds overhead, and the next minute, perhaps, the sun
would be shining out from the rifts in the very blackest of
the clouds. It was in one of these sunshiny minutes that I
caught this first glimpse of the mountains. On one of
them, settled way down half-way to its base, was a black,
black cloud. Above this cloud, the mountain peak stood
out bright and clear, in the sunshine. On the side of the
mountains, in the cloud, was a rift. Slowly this opened,
letting in the sun-light, and showing a little white cottage,
nestling there among the trees. Then it closed again,
and nothing was to be seen but the black circle of cloud.
The light from the top slowly died away, the rain fell, and
all was dark again. For a few minutes I felt dazed; it
seemed as if I had been dreaming; indeed, it seemed
almost as if I ought to rub my eyes to see if I really were
not half asleep.
 Now, it was just such a day as this, I fancy, that the
Battle of Lookout Mountain, or, as we call it, the "Battle
in the Clouds," took place.
Hooker started up the mountain to attack Bragg's force.
It must have been a strange sight from the valley to watch
these men go up, up, higher and higher, until they were
lost to sight in the mountain mist.
It was a strange sight to Bragg's army, too, I imagine,
when, on the other side of the mist, these blue-coats suddenly
came into view.
We often hear people say, "Why, where did you come
from? Did you drop from the clouds?" I never heard
that Bragg said this to his unexpected visitors, but I'm sure
he was surprised enough to have said it.
Grant, from a hill near by, watched the troops climbing
up the mountain side until they were lost in the mist.
After that, now and then, the clouds would break away, as
if to give the watcher a peep at the battle going on. But
little use was that after all, for no one could tell which side
was winning. It was an anxious time indeed. At last,
out burst the gray-coats from the cloud; down the mountain, pell-mell
over the river they went—the blue-coats
close at their heels. "The gray-coats are running! The
gray-coats are running! The Union soldiers are driving
them down the mountain!"
The gray-coats were indeed running; and they did not
 stop until they were safely over the river, and had joined
their comrades on Missionary Ridge.
Night had now fallen, and Hooker must wait until
morning to follow them farther. When morning came, it was
found that the enemy had destroyed the bridge, and were
now centered on Missionary Ridge.
Sherman advanced first upon them, and had a sharp fight
of it for eight or nine hours. Then Sheridan came to his
aid. Again they charged up the mountain side, and again
the enemy fled into the valley below. Now Lookout Mountain,
Missionary Ridge (so called because there had once
been an Indian mission school on its brow), and Chattanooga
Valley, all were in the hands of the Union soldiers.
On the following morning, again Sherman and Hooker
set out in pursuit of the flying enemy. The contest for
Tennessee was now over,—the Confederates were indeed
driven beyond its limits, and far into Georgia.
Quite a difference, children, between the quick, active
following up of battle after battle under these generals,
and the slow, crawling movements of the Army of the
Potomac under McClellan.
"We don't propose," these generals used to say, "to
give the enemy time to get rested and fed—and so ready
to fight us again the next day. No! we are upon them at
once—before they have time to get back their breath from
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