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[533] eight miles of that place, where he halted for the night. The enemy advanced and shelled his camp before midnight, but they fell back and disappeared before morning. At daylight he broke up camp, started back to Rossville, and arrived there at one o'clock P. M. of the same day.

At four o'clock P. M., on the eighteenth instant, I ordered Brigadier-General Whittaker to move at once with his brigade and take possession of the crossing of the Chickamauga at Red House Bridge; and at the same time Colonel Daniel McCook was ordered to march to the support of Colonel Minty, who was disputing the crossing of the Chickamauga at Reed's Bridge with the enemy. Colonel McCook arrived within one mile of the bridge at dark, where he encountered the enemy, and with whom he had a slight skirmish, taking twenty-two prisoners. At five o'clock P. M. of the same day I sent Colonel Mitchell with his brigade to strengthen and support Colonel McCook, and he joined him during the night. General Whittaker was prevented from reaching the Red House Bridge by coming in contact with a superior force of the enemy on the road leading thereto. He had a severe skirmish, losing sixty men killed and wounded; but he held his ground until the next morning, when he received reenforcements. The enemy, however, withdrew from his immediate front before daylight.

The enemy obtained possession of Reed's Bridge on the afternoon of the eighteenth. At daylight on the morning of the nineteenth, Colonel McCook sent Lieutenant-Colonel Brigham with the Sixty-ninth Ohio Infantry, to surprise the enemy, and gain possession of it. He gallantly charged across the bridge, driving the enemy from it, and, in accordance with instructions received from General Steedman, destroyed it by fire. As the enemy were gathering in force around Colonel McCook, I sent him an order at six o'clock on the morning of the nine-teenth instant, to withdraw from that position. This order was executed by seven o'clock A. M.

I now posted Colonel McCook's brigade at the junction of the Cleveland and Ringgold roads, covering the approaches to the rear and left flank of that part of my forces which were then on the road leading to the Red House Bridge, while Colonel Mitchell's brigade was led by General Steedman to the assistance of General Whittaker. Nothing further than slight skirmishing occurred in our front during the remaining part of the day. Yet all indications led us to believe that a large force of the enemy confronted us.

The position of my forces on the morning of the twentieth, and up to the hour of battle, was as follows: Colonel McCook's brigade was moved to a point near the McAfee Church, and was placed in such a position as to cover the Ringgold road; General Whittaker's brigade, together with Colonel Mitchell's, retained the same position that they had the evening before, and Colonel Minty, who reported to me at daylight on the morning of the twentieth with a brigade of cavalry, was posted at Missionary Mills, which positions completely covered our extreme left flank.

The enemy did not make his appearance in our immediate front during the morning, but large clouds of dust could be seen beyond our position arising from the Lafayette and Harrison roads, moving in the direction of the sound of battle. At ten thirty A. M. I heard very heavy firing, which was momentarily increasing in volume and intensity, on our right, in the direction of General Thomas's position. Soon afterward, deing well convinced, judging from the sound of battle, that the enemy were pushing him hard, and fearing that he would not be able to resist their combined attack, I determined to go to his assistance at once. It was now about eleven o'clock A. M. I started with General Whittaker's and Colonel Mitchell's brigades, under the immediate command of General Steedman, and left Colonel McCook's brigade at the McAfee Church, in position to cover the Ringgold road. General Thomas was at this time engaging the enemy at a point between the Lafayette and Dry Valley roads, in the vicinity of----house, about three and a half miles from our place of starting. We had not proceeded more than two miles when the enemy made his appearance in the woods to the left of our advancing column, about three fourths of a mile from the road. They opened upon us quite briskly with their skirmishers and a section of artillery. I then made a short halt to feel them, and becoming convinced that they constituted only a party of observation, I again rapidly pushed forward my troops. At this juncture I sent back and ordered up Colonel McCook's brigade to watch the movements of the enemy at this point, to keep open the Lafayette road, and cover the open field on the right of the road, and those that intervened between this point and the position held by General Thomas. As rapidly as possible, Colonel McCook brought up his brigade, took the position assigned to him, and held it until he marched to Rossville from the field of battle, at ten o'clock P. M. At six o'clock P. M. the enemy opened an artillery fire upon Colonel McCook, but he soon silenced their battery, which had done little or no damage to his troops.

At about one o'clock P. M. I reported to General Thomas. His forces were at that time stationed upon the brow of and holding a “horse-shoe ridge.” The enemy were pressing him hard in front, and endeavoring to turn both of his flanks. To the right of this position was a ridge running east and west, and nearly at right angles therewith. Upon this the enemy were just forming. They also had possession of a gorge in the same, through which they were rapidly moving in large masses, with the design of falling upon the right flank and rear of the forces upon the “horse-shoe ridge.”

General Thomas had not the troops to oppose this movement of the enemy, and in fifteen minutes from the time when we appeared on the field, had it not been for our fortunate arrival, his


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