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[527] Chickamauga River, which from Gordon's Mills runs in an easterly direction, while the road to Chattanooga via Rossville is nearly north or south. We hold the river at Gordon's Mills, but on our left the enemy's pickets were reported to be between the road and the river. I was informed by the General Commanding that we also occupied the bridge across the Chickamauga at Reid's Mills with one brigade of infantry, situated north-west of Gordon's Mills, and distant about three and a half miles; and thus the space between the two mills was in a great measure open to the enemy.

Report of the operations of the twenty-First army corps during the engagements of the nineteenth and Twentieth September, on Chickamauga River, Georgia.

For continuation of my report of the movements of the Twenty-first army corps since crossing the Tennessee River, and ending the eighteenth ultimo, the day preceding the battle, I have now the honor to report the operations of my command during the last engagements. It was four o'clock in the morning of the nineteenth before the last brigade of Major-General Palmer's division arrived at its position on the left of Brigadier-General Van Cleve. During the evening and night of the eighteenth, my command was placed in position as directed by the General commanding the Department, the right resting at Gordon's or Lee's Mills, and the left running north-easterly along the Chickamauga and the road to Rossville. On the morning of the nineteenth I rode to the extreme left of my line, and there being no appearance of the enemy in my front, at forty minutes past seven A. M. I ordered Colonel Gross, Major-General Palmer's division, with his brigade, then in reserve, to make a reconnoissance down the road, and in the direction of Reed's Mills, on the Chickamauga, to ascertain if the main road from Gordon's Mills to Rossville was clear, and if practicable to ascertain if Colonel McCook with his brigade held the bridge at Reed's Mills, from which direction I had just heard the report of four or five cannon. On arriving at this position I found all quiet. Colonel Wilder, with his command, supported by two regiments of Brigadier-General Van Cleve's division, being on the extreme left. I found Colonel Wilder in the edge of the woods, some one hundred and fifty yards west of the road leading to Rossville, his men dismounted and behind a breastwork of rails. It was here reported to me that the command of General Thomas had been heard passing in our rear toward Chattanooga. I immediately directed an officer to go to the rear until he came to the road on which these troops were passing, and to report at once the character of the country which intervened, the distance, etc. I remained until the officer returned, and reported all still being quiet. I rode rapidly to Department Headquarters with this information, which I thought important, and which I believed would be gladly heard by the Commanding General. I promptly returned, and on my arrival at the left of my lines, about eleven A. M., I heard heavy cannonading about one and a half or two miles to my left. Musketry firing began, and soon became so heavy that I was satisfied the battle had commenced. For a moment I felt embarrassed. The General commanding the department had inquired of me several times if I could hold my position, and I knew the importance to the movements of the army then going on of my ability so to do. I was on the left and thrown forward, covering a movement by which the entire army was to pass in my rear, leaving me on the right, should the movement take place without interruption. I hesitated but for a moment as to whether I should weaken myself by sending aid to Major-General Thomas, who, having passed to my rear, was already engaged on my left. All being quiet on my front, I ordered Major-General Palmer to the support of Major-General Thomas. I at once informed the General commanding the army of this movement, who approved of it in his note of twenty minutes past twelve P. M., when he informed me that from present appearance General Thomas will move in echelon, his left advanced, threatening the enemy's right. At twenty minutes past eleven I received a note from Captain Willard, Aid-de-Camp to Major-General Thomas, dated Mrs. Daniels's house, September fifteenth, (intended for nineteenth,) forty-five minutes past ten, stating that if another division can be spared it would be well to send it up without any delay. At the time of the receipt of this note I heard very heavy musketry in the direction of General Palmer, then advancing to the fight, and I at once sent Major Mendenhall, my Chief of artillery, and Colonel McKibbin, of General Rosecrans's staff, to see General Palmer, and learn particulars. They returned quickly without seeing him, having been halted and shot at by the enemy, which led me to believe that General Palmer was not only fighting in his front, but was also attacked in his rear, and perhaps surrounded. I at once despatched Lieutenant-Colonel Loder, my Inspector-General, and Colonel McKibbin to Department Headquarters, (which at this time had been moved to the Widow Glenn's, distant about a mile from my position,) to report facts, and ask permission to bring up General Van Cleve to support Major-General Palmer, as I was then well satisfied that the enemy was crossing the Chickamauga at several points, and at one near my position. During their absence I sent to General Van Cleve to move up where I then was stationed, and just at the time of his arrival Lieutenant-Colonel Loder returned with permission to send General Van Cleve in, which I immediately did. He brought with him but two brigades, leaving his Third brigade, Colonel Barnes, in position on the left of General Wood. At twelve M. I received your note of ten minutes past eleven A. M., ordering me to send Colonel Minty, with his cavalry brigade, to Chattanooga, and to report for orders at Widow Glenn's, which I at once complied with. I was then stationed in the woods in reserve.

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