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[365] Dalton's Fords. Bate's. brigade was being thrown forward to a commanding position, supported by Clayton and Brown, but before getting into line the enemy opened a severe fire with musketry and artillery. General Bate soon formed his brigade in a skirt of woods immediately in front and opened fire, the Eufaula battery at the same time unlimbering and playing with such admirable effect on the enemy's guns, that he was soon induced to retire from his position, near Mr. Alexander's house, which was set on fire by our shells and destroyed. Stewart's division then camped near the ford which was held by Pegram's cavalry during the night, while Preston's division effected an unobstructed passage at Hunt's Ford, a mile higher up. Thus was secured the crossing of the Chickamauga by our army, to the astonishment of the enemy, who was surprised to find that we had really advanced upon him in force. That night Adams's brigade, of Breckinridge's division, guarded Childress Bridge, on the extreme left of our army, and Ector's brigade was in front of Reid's Bridge on our right.

While our army was thus advancing toward Lafayette to check the main body of Rosecrans's army, Crittenden's corps was vainly dreaming of a triumphant march toward Atlanta. The enemy's cavalry had advanced as far as Tunnel Hill, from where they were driven back, on the eleventh of September, by Forrest's and Scott's cavalry, General Bushrod Johnson's forces occupying the ridge back of the railroad tunnel. To show that Rosecrans. had no idea of being attacked by Bragg, on the eighteenth, while he was securing the bridges and fords across the Chickamauga, the enemy's cavalry made a dash on Ringgold, shelling the town, but were driven back by our cavalry with considerable loss. It is stated that at this time, some of our people informed Crittenden that we had received large reinforcements from Virginia, which caused him to make a precipitate retreat. On the same day, Brigadier-General Hodge's Kentucky cavalry, which had been serving in Virginia, drove the enemy out of Cleveland, after a severe skirmish, in which some sixty of the enemy were killed and wounded, and thirty of a Michigan regiment taken prisoners.

Early on Saturday morning, the nineteenth, General Bragg came up to Tedford's Ford, and the commands of Hood and Johnson and Walker and Buckner were advanced for formation into line.

All our forces, but a portion of Hill's and Longstreet's, were across the river, being on the west side of the west fork of the Chickamauga, which is a very tortuous stream, its general direction running north by east. Our position was in the extreme north-west corner of Georgia, about eight miles west of Ringgold, and seven miles south of Chattanooga. The battle-ground extended from the right, four miles from the Tennessee State line, and across the boundary line of the counties of Catoosa and Walker, in Georgia, to about six miles, near Lee and Gordon's Mills on our left. The nature of the ground is undulating and heavily timbered with oak and a thick undergrowth. Toward the west, approaching Missionary Ridge, the ground becomes broken into hills and valleys. Our line of battle rested on the bends of the river, forming an obtuse angle, and was formed that morning without much regard to corps organization as follows: General Walker's corps, composed of Liddell's and Gist's divisions, the former commanding his own brigade, under Colonel D. C. Govan, and Walthall's brigade; and Gist commanding Ector's brigade, and another, under Colonel Wilson, took position on our right, with Cheatham's division in reserve. Stewart's division, composed of Clayton's, Bate's and Brown's brigades of Buckner's corps, formed the centre; and Bushrod Johnson's division, composed of his own brigade, under Colonel Fulton, and McNair's and Gregg's, with Hood's division, commanded by General Law, and Preston's and Breckinridge's division, formed on our left wing, under command of General Hood, General Longstreet not having come up. Our right wing was commanded by General Polk.

It was contemplated by General Bragg to make a flank movement and turn the enemy's left, so as to get our forces between him and Chattanooga, and thus cut off his retreat, believing that the main force of the enemy was at Lee and Gordon's Mills, and upon which he had intended to move. But, unfortunately, General Thomas, who commanded the left of the Abolition army, had that very morning, at nine o'clock, sent a despatch to General Palmer, commanding the Abolition centre, ordering him to attack our front immediately, while Thomas proceeded to flank us on the right. Thus, before we were prepared, the enemy commenced a counter attack, while General Walker at the time was awaiting orders to move into position. General Forrest, who was on our right flank, in front, annoying the enemy and retarding his movements, was now being sorely pressed by Thomas, and requested Ector's brigade to support him, Colonel Wilson's brigade at the same time moving forward. After a gallant fight, against tremendous odds, these two brigades were driven back. At this time General Walker was ordered by General Bragg to ascertain the cause of such heavy firing. Walker and Liddell, after a reconnoissance, then ascertained that a corps of the enemy, under Thomas, was moving to turn our right wing, and Liddell's division was immediately advanced to support Ector and Wilson, who had been badly repulsed. It was now about noon when Walthall's and Govan's brigades, under Liddell, gallantly met the enemy, and such was the impetuous charge made by these troops that they broke through two lines, driving back the Fourteenth, Sixteenth, and Eighteenth United States regulars, and capturing two batteries; Walthall's brigade capturing the whole of the Fifth United States infantry, four hundred and eleven officers and men; and Govan's, one hundred prisoners, and the celebrated Loomis battery, a captain of which refused

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