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[277] two miles southwest of Dalton, except a brigade on the Cleveland road; Stevenson's, near Hindman's; Walker's, three miles east of Dalton; and Cheatham's, near and to the south of Walker's.

The Federal army in our front — that by which ours had been driven from Missionary Ridge to Dalton — was estimated by our principal officers, who had been confronting it for almost two years, at eighty thousand men, exclusive of cavalry. This was undoubtedly an over-estimate.1 These troops occupied Chattanooga, Bridgeport, and Stevenson. Besides them, the Ninth and Twenty-third Corps, twenty-five or thirty thousand, were at Knoxville. Longstreet's corps and Martin's cavalry division of the Army of Tennessee were in observation of these troops, forty miles from them, toward Virginia.2

The position of Dalton had little to recommend it as a defensive one. It had neither intrinsic strength nor strategic advantage. It neither fully covered its own communications nor threatened those of the enemy. The railroad from Atlanta to Chattanooga passes through Rocky-Faced Ridge by Mill-Creek Gap, three miles and a half beyond Dalton, but very obliquely, the course of the road being about thirty degrees west of north, and that of the ridge about five degrees east of north. As it terminates but three miles north of the gap, it offers little obstacle to the advance of a superior force

1 This number was estimated to be sixty-five thousand by an officer who belonged to General Grant's staff at Chattanooga.

2 Besides these, there were about eight hundred and fifty men under General Wharton's command, in a sort of camp for broken-down horses, to the south of Rome, and Brigadier-General Roddy's strong brigade near Tuscumbia.

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John G. Walker (2)
T. J. Wharton (1)
C. L. Stevenson (1)
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Martin (1)
J. Longstreet (1)
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Grant (1)
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