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[283] artillery, accompanied by Long's1 brigade of cavalry, had, at the same time, marched from Cleveland to Red Clay.

To meet these movements, Stewart's and Breckenridge's divisions were posted in the eastern outlet of Mill-Creek Gap, Hindman's in reserve near, and Stevenson's in front of Dalton, on the Cleveland road. This was on the morning of the 23d. The two bodies of Federal troops united in front of Ringgold in the afternoon, and, advancing upon the Confederate cavalry, drove it from the village of Tunnel Hill to Cleburne's abandoned camp. After being annoyed by the fire of General Wheeler's artillery from this commanding position, near night, the Federal army drew back three or four miles, and encamped.

On the 24th the Federal army advanced in three columns, the centre one directed against the Confederate cavalry. The horse-artillery, by its accurate fire, checked this column until those of the right and left had advanced so far as, by threatening their flanks, to compel General Wheeler's troops to retire. They were led through the gap, and placed in observation in Crow Valley (that lying east of Rocky-Face Ridge), two miles to the north. The Federal army encamped in the valley immediately west of the pass.

In the morning of the 25th the Federal skirmishers engaged those of the two divisions in the pass, and desultory firing was maintained during the day.

1 This officer was instructed to give instant information to General Crufts, if the Confederate troops had abandoned Dalton, that he might promptly advance to the place.

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