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[241] of the close proximity of the formidable rebel force. The enemy had evacuated Chattanooga and its vicinity without destroying bridges or track on the railroads, and left large quantities of supplies in the country about. He had had abundant time and opportunity to remove these supplies, and if he was to transfer his line of defence to Dalton, it would certainly have been worth his while to render the railroads immediately unserviceable.

On the morning of the twelfth, Crittenden's divisions, at Ringgold, were put in march for Gordon's Mills, to join Wood, and diminish the distance isolating him from the rest of the army. Near Gordon's the enemy's cavalry was again encountered, and, although they gave ground readily before the infantry advance on the march and in a subsequent reconnoissance from Gordon's toward La Fayette, still their spirit of enterprise, while hovering constantly about, and boldly venturning between the infantry columns, indicated a confidence in substantial supports close at hand. Their cavalry was evidently performing its duty in a way little like its ordinary manner of covering a retreat. On the morning of the thirteenth, the corps crossed to the west side of the creek and took position.

A reconnoissuance toward La Fayette met a stubborn resistance, at a distance of two miles from the Mills, the enemy using artillery. On the fourteenth, two divisions marched westward to the Chattanooga Valley, and in the afternoon found Thomas's corps some miles further up the valley; the left and centre were now together, but the right corps was far up the valley, and without supporting distance.

General Thomas had pushed Negley's division across Lookout Mountain, at Stephens's Gap, about sixteen miles from Gordon's. On the eighth and ninth, his whole corps crossed. On the tenth, Negley was sent forward to the passes of Pigeon Mountain, which closes Chattanooga Valley, a few miles south of Stephens's Gap.

Here Negley found the enemy strong and active, and was obliged to fall back upon the corps, the enemy manifesting much enterprise in attacking his trains during the movement. Development since the battle shows the isolation of Crittenden's corps during the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth to have been hazardous in the extreme; while it was at Gordon's Mills it was reported that the rebel General Polk, with a strong corps, was near Rock Spring, three miles from the Mills, meditating an offensive movement. Rebel officers, now prisoners, confirm this, and state that Hindman's division was ordered to seize Stephens's Gap, in Lookout Mountains, to prevent the junction of Crittenden with Thomas. Hindman failed to execute this order in proper time; the junction was made, General Polk's forces were withdrawn, and the concentration of Bragg's army, and the reenforcements sent him from Virginia and elsewhere, were made at La Fayette. For his failure here Hindman is said to be now in arrest. An attack by Polk at daylight on the thirteenth would have been disastrous to Crittenden, and without doubt have left the road to Chattanooga, and the rear of the entire army with its lines of communication, unobstructed. Leaving Wood's division in position at Gordon's Mills, General Crittenden on the fifteenth, moved his corps to the left and front, taking position on Chickamauga River, to the left of Thomas, seven miles north of Gordon's. During the sixteenth and seventeenth, the position was not materially changed. On the night of the seventeenth, the line moved to Crawfish Springs. Developments since the battle are to the effect that the isolation of McCook was as dangerous as that of Crittenden. When ordered to join the army at Crawfish Springs, McCook recrossed the Lookout Mountains and came down Lookout Valley, crossing again into Chattanooga Valley at Stephens's Gap. Had he attempted to join by moving down the east side of Lookout, as was expected, he would, say prisoners whose rank entitles them to credit, have encountered a force sufficient to overpower him. During the eighteenth, heavy clouds of dust east of Chickamauga River, and demonstrations upon General Wood at Gordon's, indicated that the enemy was moving toward our left. Toward evening the movement of General Rosecrans's army to its left commenced, and early on the morning of September nineteenth, the disposition and the ground were as follows:

From Gordon's Mills to Chattanooga (ten miles) the road runs nearly north, for six miles nearly parallel to, and one to two miles from Missionary Ridge, which it crosses by a pass at Rossville.

At Gordon's Mills the Chickamauga River is close upon the road, and runs parallel to it for half a mile northward, where it makes a sudden bend to the right and gradually increases the distance between it and the road. The ridge is high, and in many places very steep and impracticable.

The river at Gordon's runs in a bed with rocky, precipitous banks, impassable for artillery, except at the established fords, north of the Mills; though not always impracticable, it is a good obstacle, and crossing is difficult if contested.

The country between the ridge and river is generally level but rolling, thickly wooded, with comparatively little cleared land. Too much wooded for artillery, the ground is yet open for manoeuvre.

Crittenden's corps, its left in the strong position at Gordon's, was in line parallel with the road and east of it. Thomas was on his left, at Owen's Ford, two miles south of the Mills. The line followed the road, not the river, though the left was considerably beyond the road, while the right was upon it. Two of McCook's divisions were yet on the march from Crawfish Springs. There was a ford at the river in front of the left, but it was unguarded, and there were other practicable points on the stream toward the Mills.

A division of the reserve corps, under General Granger, was at Rossville, four miles from the left of the line, and on Saturday morning a brigade from this force advanced on the Ringgold road,


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