August 28, 1863: Pontoon bridge at Battle Creek

Gen. George Thomas

Map of Chickamauga

The Union command, as already noted, was looking for multiple crossings on the Tennessee river, in order to move large numbers of troops across rapidly. Here some of his commanders have found a possible site at the mouth of Battle Creek (near Jasper in the map above, now South Pittsburg, TN). Thomas is planning to use a pontoon bridge to cross his corps.

Official Records:

Bolivar Springs, August 28, 1863-7.35 p.m.
General Brannan,
Commanding Third Division:

I saw a dispatch at department headquarters that you would be prepared to cross a regiment of infantry over the river at mouth of Battle Creek. How do you propose to do it? I wish you to have crossing examined, and if you can hold the older side do so. We wish to throw a pontoon bridge a cross at that place. Report what can be done as soon as possible.

Very respectfully,
Major-general, Commanding.


Official Records:

Stevenson, Ala., August 28,!863.
Major-General McCOOK,
Commanding Twentieth Army Corps:

The general commanding directs you to superintend the transportation and putting in position near the river bank a sufficient number of pontoons for a bridge across the Tennessee. He desires you to take the pontoons to the river by a route which will shield them from observation by the enemy from the hills beyond the Tennessee. Lieutenant Burroughs rode over the route yesterday with the general commanding as far as General Davis’headquarters. General Davis selected a route from thence to the river. The place for crossing is just below the mouth of Crow Creek, near Caperton’s Ferry. Select the exact spot for the bridge, and arrange a line of pontoons at each end of the mile for ferrying over two regiments, and place the balance of them as near the place of crossing as possible, the whole to be sheltered from observation. Place a sufficient guard for their protection, and conduct the whole movement as silently and unobserved as possible. The general commanding desires all arrangements for laying the bridge to be completed by nightfall. Lieutenant Burroughs has been ordered to report to you for orders immediately.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.

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