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[369]

headquarters army of Tennessee, Lafayette, Ga., 12 P. M., September 10, 1863.
Major-General Hindman, commanding, etc.:
General: Headquarters are here, and the following is the information:

Crittenden's corps is advancing on us from Chattanooga. A large force from the south has advanced to within seven miles of this point. Polk is left at Anderson's to cover your rear. General Bragg orders you to attack and force your way through the enemy to this point at the earliest hour you can see him in the morning. Cleburne will attack in front the moment your guns are heard.

I am, General, etc.,

George W. Brent, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Orders were also given for Walker's reserve corps to move promptly and join Cleburne's division at Dug Gap, to unite in the attack. At the same time Cleburne was directed to remove all obstructions in the road in his front, which was promptly done, and by daylight he was ready to move. The obstructions in Catlett's Gap were also ordered to be removed, to clear the road in Hindman's rear. Breckinridge's division, Hill's corps, was kept in position south of Lafayette to check any movement the enemy might make from that direction.

At daylight, I proceeded to join Cleburne at Dug Gap, and found him waiting the opening of Hindman's guns to move on the enemy's flank and rear. Most of the day was spent in this position, waiting in great anxiety for the attack by Hindman's column. Several couriers and two staff officers were dispatched at different times, urging him to move with promptness and vigor. About the middle of the afternoon, the first gun was heard, when the advance of Cleburne's division discovered the enemy had taken advantage of our delay and retreated to the mountain passes. The enemy now discovered his error, and commenced to repair it by withdrawing his corps from the direction of Alpine, to unite with the one near McLemore's Cove, whilst that was gradually extended towards Lee and Gordon's Mills. Our movement having thus failed in its justly anticipated results, it was determined to turn upon the Third corps of the enemy, approaching us from the direction of Chattanooga. The forces were accordingly withdrawn to Lafayette, and Polk's and Walker's corps were moved immediately in the direction of Lee and Gordon's Mills. The one corps of the enemy in this direction was known to be divided--one division having been sent to Ringgold. Upon learning the dispositions of the enemy from our cavalry commander in that direction, on the afternoon of the twelfth, Lieutenant-General Polk, commanding the advance forces, was directed in the following note:

headquarters army of Tennessee, Lafayette, Ga., 6 P. M., September 12.
Lieutenant-General Polk:
General: I enclose you a dispatch from General Pegram. This presents you a fine opportunity of striking Crittenden in detail, and I hope you will avail yourself of it at daylight to-morrow. This division crushed, and the others are yours. We can then turn on the force in the cove. Wheeler's cavalry will move on Wilder so as to cover your right. I shall be delighted to hear of your success.

Very truly yours,


To attack at daylight on the thirteenth. Upon further information the order was renewed in two notes, at later hours of the same day, as follows:

headquarters army of Tennessee. Lafayette, Ga., 6 P. M., September 12, 1863.
Lieutenant-General Polk, commanding Corps:
General: I enclose you a dispatch marked “A,” and I now give you the orders of the commanding General, viz.: to attack at day-dawn to-morrow the column reported in said dispatch at three-quarters of a mile beyond Peavine Church on the road to Graysville from Lafayette.

I am, General, etc.,

George W. Brent, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Headquarterr army of Tennessee, Lafayette, Ga., September 12, 1863.
Lieutenant-General Polk, commanding Corps:
General: The enemy is approaching from the south, and it is highly important that your attack in the morning should be quick and decided. Let no time be lost.

I am, General, etc.,

George W. Brent, Assistant Adjutant-General.

At eleven P. M., a dispatch was received from the General, stating that he had taken a strong position for defence, and requesting that he should be heavily reinforced. He was promptly ordered not to defer his attack, his force being already numerically superior to the enemy, and was reminded that his success depended upon the promptness and rapidity of his movements. He was further informed that Buckner's corps would be moved within supporting distance the next morning.

Early on the thirteenth I proceeded to the front, ahead of Buckner's command, to find that no advance had been made on the enemy, and that his forces had formed a junction and recrossed the Chickamauga. Again disappointed, immediate measures were taken to place our trains and limited supplies in safe positions, when all our forces were concentrated along the Chickamauga, threatening the enemy in front. Major-General Wheeler, with two divisions of cavalry, occupied the positions on the extreme left, vacated by Hill's corps, and was directed to press the enemy in McLemore's Cove, to divert his attention from our real movement. Brigadier-General Forrest, with his own and Pegram's division of cavalry, covered the movement on our front and right. Brigadier-General B. R.


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