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[413] to force his way through Dug gap, with barely a decent show of resistance, he might have crushed this first and our other corps in rapid succession; or he might, disregarding Thomas, have hurled his whole army upon Crittenden at Ringgold, crushed him, and then interposed between Thomas and Chattanooga. But when Negley and Baird were forced back from Dug gap, the game was too plain. Instead of a keen chase after a flying enemy, it was at once comprehended by our Generals that they must concentrate and fight for their lives.

Lafayette lies some 25 miles south by east of Chattanooga, on the main highway leading thence into Georgia, behind Pigeon mountain, in a valley whence Pea Vine creek flows northward into the Chickamauga. Eight or ten miles north of Lafayette, the highway aforesaid passes through a gap in Pigeon mountain into McLamore's cove, crossing the West Chickamauga at Gordon's mill. As Bragg was well aware that Thomas was in the upper part of that cove or valley, he moved down this road by his right, with intent to flank the left of our army — or so much of it as he might find in the cove — meaning thus to interpose between it and Chattanooga, and, if possible, between Thomas's corps and Crittenden's. But Crittenden, as we have seen, had seasonably taken the alarm, and moved hastily across from Ringgold to the Chickamauga; while McCook, zigzagging down and up Mission ridge, had likewise made his way into the cove, and was in position, with most of our army, along the Lafayette and Chattanooga road, from above Gordon's mill on our right a full third of the distance to Rossville, a small hamlet situated in a gap of

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Francis Thomas (4)
George B. Crittenden (3)
Negley (1)
A. D. McCook (1)
Braxton Bragg (1)
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