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1863 October 24: General Rosecrans Congratulates His Troops

October 26, 2013

In this order General William S. Rosecrans thanks his troops for their performance at the Battle of Chickamauga.  It is taken from The Prescott Journal of October 24, 1863.

Gen. Rosecrans’ Congratulatory Order.

HEADQUARTERS DEP’T OF THE }
CUMBERLAND, CHATANOOGA [sic] }
Oct. 2, 1863. }

Order No. 3.

ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND.—You have made a grand and successful campaign ;  you have driven the rebels from Middle Tennessee.  You crossed a great mountain range, placed yourselves on the banks of a broad river, crossed it in the face of a powerful opposing army, and crossed two other great mountain ranges at the only practicable passes, some forty miles between extremes.  You consentrated [sic] in the face of the superior numbers ;  fought the combined armies of Bragg [Braxton Bragg], which you drove from Shelbyville to Tullahoma, of Johnston’s [Joseph E. Johnston] army from Mississippi, and the tried veterans of Longstreet’s [James Longstreet] corps and for two days held them at bay, giving them blow for blow, with heavy interest.  When the day closed you held the field, from which you withdrew in the face of overpowering numbers, to occupy the point for which you set out, Chattanooga.

You have accomplished the great work of the campaign ;  you hold the key of East Tennessee, of Northern Georgia, and of the enemy’s mines of coal and niter.¹

Let those achievements console you for the regret you experience that arrivals of fresh hostile troops forbade your remaining on the field to renew the battle ;  for the right of burying your gallant dead, and for caing [sic: caring] for your brave companions who lay wounded on the field.—The losses you have sustained, though heavy, are slight considering the odds against you, and the stake you have won.

You hold in your hands the substantial fruits of victory, and deserve, and will receive, the honor and plaudits of a greatful [sic] nation, which ask nothing of even those who have been fighting us, but obedience to the constitution, and laws established for our common benefit.

You hold in your hands the substantial fruits of a victory, and deserve, and will receive, the honors and plaudits of a grateful nation, which asks nothing of even those who have been fighting us, but obedience to the Constitution and laws established for our own common benefit.

The general commanding earnestly begs every officer and soldier of this army to unite with him in thanking Almighty God for his favors to us.  He presents his hearty thanks and congratulations to all the officers and soldiers of this command their energy, patience and perseverance and the undaunted courage displayed by those who fought with such unflinching resolution.

Neither the history of this war, nor probably the annals of any battle, furnish a loftier example of obstinate bravery and enduring resistance to superior numbers—when troops, having exhausted their ammunition, resorted to the bayonet, many times to hold their position against such odds—as did our left and center comprising troops from all the corps, on the afternoon of the 20th of September, at the battle of “Chickamauga.”

(Signed,)    W. S. ROSECRANS,

Major General Commanding.

1.  Niter is the mineral form of potassium nitrate, also known as saltpeter, which is one of the major components of gunpowder.

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