November 18, 1863

Lookout Valley, Tenn.

To the Editor of the Portland Press:

I notice in the Eastern Newspapers a great deal of misconception relative to the operations of that part of the Army of the Cumberland (including the recent reenforcement from the Army of the Potomac), which undertook and accomplished the opening of the Tennessee River and thereby relieve the starving forces at Chatanooga.

The enclosed order from Gen. Thomas gives so clear a statement of the results combined with a complimentary mention of prominent parties engaged that I hope you will find space for its publication.

The accompanying characteristic order of Gen. Howard was received with unusual marks of gratification by the officers & soldiers of his Command.

Please insert in large type in some conspicuous place in your Paper that the Rebels still hold Lookout Mountain. If some of the Editors of Northern Newspapers or some Correspondents who furnish vivid accounts of scenes and operations here, though themselves never nearer than Bridgeport, (30 miles off), could pass along this Valley during any one of the Day-light hours and have one of these air rending, earth-shattering shells come swooping down from the Upper Regions, past his head – he would appreciate both what is meant by Lookout and the possession of it; at if the lesson is not too dearly learnt – he will be able to inform his readers that the River is in our possession all the way to Chatanooga with the exception of about a mile opposite Lookout Point commanded by the guns of the Enemy not yet dislodged from the Mountain. The Peninsula across from the Pontoon bridge at Brown’s Ferry to that at Chatanooga is less than two (2) miles wide. Lookout Point is above three (3) miles from the city. So that there is an actual gain of distance in landing supplies at Brown’s Ferry. But the “Suck” (or shallows) between Kelly’s & Brown’s doesn’t permit <you> easy passage of the boats and so by crossing another peninsula formed by the Tennessee wagons can reach Kelly’s in a distance of five (5) miles from Brown’s, the boats usually leave their cargoes at Kelly’s. The Rebels did hold all of this portion of the Tennessee as also twenty miles more of it towards Bridgeport.

This was adroitly wrested from them by Gen. Hooker’s Command cooperating with forces from Chatanooga. The Southern papers say it is incomprehensible how the Federals got so complete possession of Lookout Valley in so short a time and not less so that Bragg should have suffered <there do so>.

Charles Henry Howard to Editor of the Portland Press [Charles Henry Howard Collection]