The Great Rebellion ~ The American Civil War
Accounts of Action and Rosters of the Men From
Wabasha County, Minnesota

THE CRACKER LINE OPERATIONS
BROWN'S FERRY AND WAUHATCHIE
October 26-30, 1863


Information Gathered by Dave Frederick


(In this case, "cracker" refers to a piece of hardtack, one of the staple items of the soldiers' daily fare. The name had nothing to do with the derogatory nickname which Georgia plantation owners had for upcountry farmers, whose wheat had to be "cracked" before it could be used.)

Following the battle of Chickamauga, the Confederacy occupied positions that required the Union to transport supplies by wagon from the railroad at Stevenson via a 60-mile roundabout route which ended on the opposite riverbank from Chattanooga, Tennessee. To gain a shorter, direct route the Union needed to capture and control Brown's Ferry, Kelly's Ferry and the Lookout Valley in between.


BROWN'S FERRY



Hazen's Men Come Ashore
From The New Century Courtesy Random House

Brig. Gen. William F. Smith commanding Second Brigade, Third Division, 4th Army Corps:

Monday, October 19, 1863: Gen. Smith received orders to occupy the left bank of the Tennessee River. He reconnoitered the river and selected a landing spot called Brown's Ferry, at the mouth of Lookout Creek. The spot was in a position to control a road from there through Lookout Valley, which would be used for the movement of supplies after a pontoon bridge was assembled to replace the small ferry. The supply route for the entire Union Army forces would be in place, for the final capture of the Chattanooga region. This would set the infrastructure for a future campaign against the Confederate stronghold of Atlanta, Georgia.

Sunday, October 25, 1863: Brig. Gen. Smith informed Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen, commanding the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 4th Army Corps, that his division would be used in the assault. The troops were divided into the assault formations, as:

50 pontoons, each to carry a crew and 25 armed men
crew3 men each vessel150 total
officer1 man each vessel50 total
soldiers24 men each vessel1200 total
1 flatboat carrying 40 men
soldiers40 men each vessel40 total
crew3 men3 total
1 flatboat carrying 75 men
soldiers75 men75 total
crew5 men5 total


Tuesday, October 27, 1863: The flotilla of flatboats followed by pontoons set off from the city of Chattanooga, nine miles upstream from Brown's Ferry. Due to the large bend of the river, they actually circled a northern arc to arrive at a point due west of their departure, and attack back in the direction of Chattanooga. They drifted silently past long lines of Confederate pickets and were not seen until landing at about daylight. The 115 men of the two flatboats headed for the high ridges on either side and commenced making picket lines. Three or four of the pontoon companies landed and headed down the roadway in the middle. Confederate forces attacked and originally repulsed them. The counter-attack succeeded in driving back the Confederates, and the Union forces landed and secured the pontoons to form a bridge. Lt. Col. Langdon led the remnant of Hazen's brigade across the bridge, engaged the Confederates and drove them farther back. Gen. Turchin's Brigade then crossed the bridge and went into position. The southerners kept up constant skirmishing at the perimeters of the Union troop placements.

Officers in the landing party:
  1. Lt. Col. Timothy R. Stanley - 18th Ohio Infantry*, commanding
  2. Capt. Perrin V. Fox - 1st Michigan Engineers
  3. Capt. G.W. Dresser - 4th Artillery
*Lt. Col. Stanley was in overall command, and led the brigade of companies aboard the pontoons. The requirement of fifty officers to function as company captains under Smith's battle plan severely strained Hazen's brigade command structure. Undoubtedly any available officers were ordered into the force. Captain Fox led the landing party aboard the two flatboats, which was to secure the immediate area of Brown's Ferry and connect the pontoon bridge. Stanley's men fanned out and became the advance skirmishers and pickets for a single occupation force made up of the remnant of Hazen's division; and the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 14th Army Corps commanded by Brig. gen. John B. Turchin. Captain Dresser led a small roup which placed guns on the hill which protected Brown's Ferry.

Officers in the remnant of Hazen's Brigade:
  1. Lt. Col. Bassett Langdon - 1st Ohio Infantry, commanding his regiment and:
  2. Lt. Col. James C. Foy - 23rd Kentucky Volunteers
  3. Major Richard T. Whitaker - 6th Kentucky Infantry
  4. Major William Birch - 93rd Ohio Infantry
  5. Lt. Col. John L. Treanor - 5th Kentucky Infantry
  6. Major Calvin D. Campbell - 6th Indiana Infantry
  7. Col. Aquila Wiley - 41st Ohio Infantry
  8. Lt. Col. James Pickands - 124th Ohio Infantry
  9. Lt. Col. Alexander C. Christopher - 6th Ohio Infantry

Added to Hazen's Brigade after the initial fight:
  1. Lt. Col. Charles H. Wood - 51st Ohio Infantry
  2. Col. Sydney M. Barnes - 8th Kentucky Infantry
  3. Col. Bernard F. Mullen- 35th Indiana Infantry
  4. - artillery battery
  5. - artillery battery

Officers in Turchin's brigade:
  1. Brig. Gen. John B. Turchin, commanding:
  2. Lt. Col. Ogden Street - 82nd Indiana Infantry
  3. Maj. Benjamin F. Butterfield - 17th Ohio Infantry
  4. Lt. Col. Frederick W. Lister - 31st Ohio Infantry
  5. Lt. Col. Hiram F. Devol - 36th Ohio Infantry*
  6. Capt. John H. Jolly - 89th Ohio Infantry
  7. Lt. Col. Douglas Putnam Jr. - 92nd Ohio Infantry*

Field Command Staff:
  1. Brig. Gen. William F. Smith
  2. Brig. Gen William B. Hazen
  3. Lt. Col. Kimberly - 41st Ohio Infantry, Staff Officer to Gen. Hazen
  4. Lt. Ferdinand D. Cobb - 41st Ohio Infantry, Staff Officer to Gen. Hazen
  5. Major Mendenhall, commanding the Artillery batteries
  6. Capt. P.F.C. West, US Coast Survey
  7. 1st. Lt. Ernest F.C. Klokke - Signal Corps, US Volunteers
  8. Lt. Fuller - Signal Corps
  9. Lt. Hopkins - Signal Corps
  10. 2nd Lt. Samuel J. Brent - Signal Corps, US Volunteers

Killed In Action at Brown's Ferry:
(All six men are buried in Chattanooga National Cemetery, 1200 Bailey Avenue, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37404. Information from the National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors system is italicized.)

NamePlotInformationCorrectionsBattle
Henry BaylesB 451Lt. Co. D 5th Minnesota InfantryHenry BaillyBF
H. DrakeB 587Pvt. Co. C 36th Ohio Infantry-BF
John FreedlineC 1068Co. A 92nd Ohio Infantry-BF
W. HardickA 230Pvt. Co. C 9th Ohio Infantryempty grave?BF
William HartigA 273Co. C 9th Ohio Infantry-BF
Isaac ParishC 1069Pvt. Co. I 92nd Ohio InfantryIsaac B.BF
Charles Van VleekA 294Pvt. 4th Michigan Artillery-BF

NOTE: "W. Hardick" and "William Hartig" are the same man. One of the graves has one of the missing men in it, misidentified; or one of the graves is empty. The NPS, CWSS system does not list the 4th Michigan Artillery as a regiment, but artillery batteries used a wide variety of confusing designations. It was probably the same battery as the "4th Artillery" in Gen. Hazen's report.

The commanding officers reported the casualties as:


WAUHATCHIE


Major Gen. Joseph Hooker, commanding the 11th and 12th Army Corps:

Once the bridgehead was in place Major General Joseph Hooker commanding the 11th and 12th Army Corps, was to cross the river and approach Brown's Ferry from the opposite direction, clearing all Confederate opposition along the way.....and opening the supply road. He commenced on October 27, and finished on the 29th. The opposition engaged his pickets in constant skirmishing, and artillery placed on top of Lookout Mountain periodically rained fusillades on them. The Confederates attempted to attack Brig. Gen. John Geary's 12th Division at Wauhatchie on the night of Oct. 29 but were unsuccessful and withdrew. In the early morning of the 30th the steamboat Chattanooga arrived at Kelly's Ford with 40,000 rations and tons of forage. The newspapers claimed that soldiers shouted "The Cracker line is open!"

Headquarters Staff:
Headquarters Guard:
Also serving under Major Gen. Hooker's command:
Killed in Action in the Wauhatchie portion of the re-opening of Lookout Valley:
(All of the burials at the Chattanooga National Cemetery were dated October 29, 1863 except two which were dated the 27th.)

NamePlotInformationCorrectionsBattle
Austin BareB 645---
C. BarkerC 1105Pvt. Co. B 18th Ohio Infantry-Wau
William BinteyB 935Pvt. Co E 75th Ohio Infantry-Wau
E.R. ChurchillB 549Cpl. Co E 33rd Mass. InfantryElias R.Wau
C.H. ClarkB 545---
William P. CookB 665Pvt. Co. F 33rd Mass. Infantry-Wau
William CrotchettB 555Cpl. Co. E 33rd Mass. Infantry Crockett-Wau
Thomas CrowB 1010Pvt. Co. B 36 Indiana Infantry 86th Indiana-Wau
Daniel CurrA 330Pvt. Co. A 5th Ohio InfantryDaniel Carroll, Co BWau
John M. DavisB 534Pvt. Co. K 33rd Mass. Infantry-Wau
Charles DavisonB 641Pvt. Co. E 73rd Ohio Infantry-Wau
John M. DonaldB 652Cpl. Co. K 73rd Ohio Infantry-Wau
J.M. DrakeB 535Sgt. Co. K 33rd Mass. Infantry-Wau
James W. FarrerB 533Pvt. Co. K 33rd Mass. Infantry-Wau
Rufus T. FisherB 531Pvt. Co. K 33rd Mass. Infantry-Wau
Herman C. GardnerB 537Pvt. Co. C 136th New York Infantry-Wau
M. GergenB 642Pvt Co. B 136th New York Infantry-Wau
Roswell HartongA 331Pvt. Co. D 100th Illinois Infantry-Wau
N.F. HowardC 1119Pvt. Co. B 5Th Kentucky S.S.Melville F., InfantryWau
L.R. HowlandB 544Sgt. Co. I 33rd Mass. InfantryLothropWau
A.H. JohnsonB 666Cpl. Co. K 33rd Mass. InfantryAddisonWau
O. JonesB 1031Lt. Co. C 33rd Mass. Infantry OswecoJonesWau
J.R. KaufmanA 181Co. E 21st Ohio InfantryJonathanWau
E. KnappB 542Sgt. Co. F 33rd Mass. InfantryFreemanWau
A. LamonB 934Pvt. Co. K 49th Ohio Infantry-Wau
J.D. MayoB 552Cpl. Co. E 33rd Mass. InfantryJohnWau
J. McLaughlinB 532Pvt. Co. E 33rd Mass. InfantryJohnWau
D. McMahanB 541Pvt. Co. H 33 Mass. InfantryDanielWau
Benjamin C. MerrillB 556Pvt. Co. E 33 Mass. Infantry-Wau
Isaac MillerB 644Pvt. Co. D 33 Mass. Infantry-Wau
J.C. NuttonB 450Cpl. Co. C 137th New York Infantry-Wau
O.C. SmithB 549Sgt. Co. E 33rd Mass InfantryOctavius C., Co IWau
Charles PriceB 539Pvt. Co. K 73rd Ohio Infantry-Wau
Chas. E. RubleB 454Pvt. Co. A 111th Pennsylvania Infantry-Wau
James SandersA 232Pvt. Co. K US Soldiers 149th New York Infantry-Wau
M.J. SimondsA 234Pvt. Co. K 42nd Illinois InfantryMerrit J.Wau
William SimpsonB 547Pvt. Co. C 33rd Mass. Infantry-Wau
E. L. StohleB 1003Pvt. Co. G 40th Ohio Infantry-Wau
Robert StuderC 1097Pvt. Co. F 22nd Michigan Infantry-Wau
John SwiftB 534Pvt. Co. D 73rd Ohio Infantry-Wau
Moses TappenB 572Pvt. Co. E 147 New York Inf.William, Co. K, 149thWau
David WaresB 546Pvt. Co. E 33 Mass. Infantry-Wau
J.C. WheatB 536Pvt. Co. F 33 Mass. Infantry-Wau
Leonard WhiteB 562Pvt. Co. C 137th New York InfantryLenard, Co. HWau
Nelson WithcottB 933Pvt. Co. I 75th Ohio Infantry(detached)Wau
F.S. WrightB 533Pvt. Co. E 33rd Mass. InfantryFranklin S.Wau

The commanding officer reported the casulaties as:


SOURCES



LINKS
The Civil War: Battles of Chattanooga
The Battle Above The Clouds