troops were ordered to keep concealed from view.
The few cavalrymen at Cleburne
's disposal had been instructed to watch the crossing of the Chickamauga
, and as soon as the enemy appeared to fire upon them at long range and retreat in haste through the town and gap, to create upon the enemy the impression that only a small force of cavalry confronted them.
These dispositions hastily made were scarcely completed when the cavalry discharged their guns, and in seeming confusion rushed into the gap, followed soon after by the Federals
, marching in column down the railroad, with skirmishers thrown out in front and on the flanks, but evidently unsuspicious of the infantry concealed and awaiting them.
They were allowed to come within short range, when the screens were removed and both guns opened upon them.
This fire was kept up rapidly, and with that of the infantry joined in turn caused the column to reel and seek shelter under the railroad embankment from the flank fire which the conformation of Cleburne
's line enabled him to deliver upon their right.
Notwithstanding the suddenness and surprise of the attack the confusion in the enemy's ranks was but brief, and with admirable steadiness they deployed in front of the gap and opened a heavy fire, at the same time moving a force and making a vigorous attack upon the right of Cleburne
's line on the ridge.
's command here opened a deadly fire, but did not at once succeed in checking the advance.
being apprised of this sent two companies from his left to strengthen his right.
had previously placed skirmishers at right angles to his line up the hill, and now with three companies he charged the flanking force, routed it, and captured one hundred prisoners and the colors of the 29th Missouri regiment.
Another body of the enemy moved beyond Cleburne
's right to ascend the ridge.
Information of this movement was sent to General Polk
, in rear of the gap, with orders to meet and check it. General Polk
had learned of this movement, and with soldierly instinct and discretion had anticipated the order by sending to the proper point the 1st Arkansas regiment, which encountered the enemy's skirmishers near the crest of the ridge and, with the assistance of the 7th Texas, drove them back after a stubborn fight.
Large masses of the enemy were now passing to Cleburne
's right, and General Lowry
was moved up to strengthen Polk
and prolong the right of the line on the ridge.
In his official report, General Cleburne
Moving rapidly ahead of his command General Lowry found the