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avenue ; and is to be crowned, according to the chaplain's plan, with a grand central monument, an historic temple overlooking the whole.
The place will abound in groups of trees, verdant lawns and slopes, magnificent vistas, and concealed views designed to surprise the visitor at every step. Outcropping ledges and bold, romantic rocks afford a delightful contrast to the green of the trees and grass, and to the smoothness of the slopes.
Beside the avenue which girds the base of the hill is a cave with galleries and chambers sculptured in a variety of forms by the action of water on the limestone rock. The chaplain, who accompanied me on my visit to the cemetery, sent for a guide and a light, and we explored this natural grotto a hundred feet or more, until we came to passages too narrow to admit us into the unknown chambers beyond. Besides the entrance from the avenue, there is an opening which affords a glimpse of the blue sky by day, or of the stars by night, through the roof of the cave.
The hill rises from the Valley midway between Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, commanding a view of all that historic region. The Tennessee is visible, distant a mile or more. The chaplain told me that when the river was very high, water came in and filled the galleries of the cave ; thus showing that they were of great extent, and mysteriously connected with the stream.
The work on the cemetery had thus far been performed by details from the army. The post-fund, which amounted to twenty-seven thousand dollars, had defrayed all expenses. But this cannot continue. The time is coming when the people of the States will be called upon to pay the debt they owe to the heroic dead, in liberal contributions towards the completion and adornment of this spot, where probably will be gathered together a more numerous host of the slain than in any other national cemetery. From Chickamauga and Mission Ridge, from Lookout Mountain and Wahatchie, from the scones of many lesser fights, from the hospitals, and pos sibly also from the fields of Sherman's Atlanta campaign, thousands upon thousands they will come, a silent host, to this goal of future pilgrimages, this “ Mecca of American memories."
Nine thousand had already been interred there at the time of my visit. No attempt was made to bury the dead by States. "I am tired of State Rights,” said General Thomas; “let's have a national cemetery.” Out of six thousand interred before the removal of the dead of Chickamauga was begun, only four hundred were unknown. A military record is kept, in which are inscribed all ascertainable facts respecting each, - his name, rank, company, arm of service, native State, age; time, place, and cause of death ; address of nearest friends, and so forth ; accompanied by a full regimental index, and an individual index ; so that persons in search of the graves of friends can learn by a brief examination all that is known about them, and be guided at once to the section and number where their remains are deposited. The chaplain told me that many who had come with a determination to remove the bodies of their dead, immediately on seeing the cemetery had changed that determination, convinced that they could have no more fitting resting-place.
The dead of Chickamauga were being interred while I was there ; and the chaplain kindly offered to accompany me to the battle-field, where a regiment of colored soldiers were at work exhuming the buried, and gathering together the remains of the unburied dead.
MISSION RIDGE AND CHICKAMAUGA. ACCORDINGLY, one cloudy December morning the chaplain, accompanied by two ladies of his household, took me up at my hotel, and drove us out of Chattanooga on the Rossville Road.
Leaving the open valley behind us we crossed a bushy plain, and passed through a clump of oaken woods. Before us, on the east, rose Missionary Ridge, forest-covered, its steep sides all rasset-hued with fallen leaves, visible through the naked brown trees.
The chaplain who witnessed the scene, described to us the storming of those heights by the Army of the Cumberland, on the twenty-fifth of November, a little more than two years before. It was the finishing stroke to which the affair at Lookout Mountain was the brilliant prelude. It was the revenge for Chickamanga. There was a Rebel line of works along the base of the ridge ; and the crests were defended by infantry and heavy artillery. The charge was ordered; and forward across the plain and up the slope swept a single glittering line of steel six miles in length. The Rebels were driven from their lower works by the bayonet. The army rushed forward without firing a shot, and pausing only to take breath for a moment in the depressions of the hill; then onward again, storming the heights, from which burst upon them a whistling and howling storm of iron and lead. General Thomas says the Ridge was carried simultaneously at six different points. The attack commenced at three o'clock in the afternoon ; at four the crests were taken, and Bragg's army in flight. The first captured gun was turned upon the enemy by Corporal Kramer of the Forty-first Ohio regiment, belonging to Hazen's brigade of Wood's division. He discharged it by
firing his musket over the vent. It took six men to carry the colors of the First Ohio to the summit, five falling by the way in the attempt. Corporal Angelbeck, finding a Rebel caisson on fire, cut it loose from the horses and run it off down the hill before it exploded. These instances of personal intrepidity (which I give on the authority of Major-General Hazen, whom I saw afterwards at Murfreesboro') are but illustrations of the gallantry shown by our troops along the whole line.
The plain we were crossing was the same which General Hooker's forces swept over in their pursuit of the enemy. We passed the Georgia State-line; and, amid hilly woods filled with a bushy undergrowth, entered the mountain solitudes ; crossing Missionary Ridge by the Rossville Gap. Rossville, which consisted of a blacksmith-shop and dwelling in the Gap, had been burned to the ground. Beyond this point the road forked; the left-hand track leading to Ringold, the right to Lafayette.
Driving southward along the Lafayette Road we soon · reached the site of Cloud Spring Hospital, in the rear of the battle-field. A desolate, dreary scene : the day was cold and wet; dead leaves strewed the ground; the wind whistled in the trees. There were indications that here the work of disinterment was about to begin. Shovels and picks were ready on the ground ; and beside the long, low trenches of the dead waited piles of yellow pine coffins spattered with rain.
A little further on we came to traces of the conflict, — boughs broken and trees cut off by shells. We rode southward along the line of battle, over an undulating plain, with sparse timber on one side, and on the other a field of girdled trees, which had been a cotton-field at the time of the battle. These ghostly groves, called “ deadenings," sometimes seen in other parts of the country, are an especial feature of the Southern landscape. When timbered land is to be put under cultivation, the trees, instead of being cut away, are often merely deadened with the axe, which encircles them with a line severing the bark, and there left to stand and decay slowly through a series of years. First the sapless bark flakes and
falls piecemeal, and the wind breaks off the brittle twigs and small boughs. Next the larger branches come down; and the naked trunk, covered in the course of time by a dry-rot, and perforated by worms and the bills of woodpeckers, stands with the stumps of two or three of its largest topmost limbs upstretched in stern and sullen gloom to heaven. There is something awful and sublime in the aspect of a whole forest of such. The tempest roars among them, but not a limb sways. Spring comes, and all around the woods are green and glad, but not a leaf or tender bud puts forth upon the spectral trunks. The sun rises, and the field is ruled by the shadows of these pillars, which sweep slowly around, shortening as noon approaches, and lengthening again at the approach of night, Corn and cotton flourish well; the powdery rot and halfdecayed fragments which fall serving as a continual nourishment to the soil. It takes from ten to twenty years for these corpses standing over their graves to crumble and disappear beneath them. Sometimes they rot to the roots ; or, when all is ready, a hurricane hurls his crashing balls, and the whole grove goes down in a night-time, like ten-pins.
Dismal enough looked the “ deadening," in the cold and drizzling rain that morning on the battle-field. Scarcely less 80 seemed the woods beyond, all shattered and torn by shot and shell, as if u tornado had swept them. On the northern side of these was Kelly's house. The Dyer Farm was beyond; upon which we found two hundred colored soldiers encamped, in a muddy village of winter huts near the ruins of the burned farm-house. The Dyer family were said to be excellent Rebels. Dyer served as a guerilla ; and it was his wife who burned her feather-bed in order that it might not be used by our wounded soldiers. After that patriotic act she wandered off in the woods and died. Her husband had since returned, and was now living in a new log-hut within sight of the camp.
The camp was a strange spectacle. The men were cooking their dinners or drying their clothes around out-door fires of logs which filled the air with smoke. Near by were piles of coffins, — some empty, some containing the remains of soldiers