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[67] and Twenty-fourth Arkansas regiments, consolidated, under Lieutenant-Colonel E. Warfield, at suitable distances in rear, and covered as well as the nature of the ground would permit, thus giving me four short lines across the gap. From these regiments I sent a body of skirmishers to occupy the patch of woods at the mouth of the gap and left of the railroad, and that portion of the bank of the creek close to the mouth of the gap.

In front of the mouth of the gap, supported by Govan's foremost regiment in the ravine, I placed a section of Semple's battery--two Napoleon guns,--commanded by Lieutenant Goldthwaite. I had screens of withered branches built up in front of these so as to effectually conceal them from view, and made the artillerymen shelter themselves in the ravine close by. The remaining three regiments of Lowry's brigade, consisting of the Thirty-second and Forty-fifth Mississippi regiments, consolidated, under command of Colonel A. B. Hardcastle; Thirty-third Alabama, under command of Colonel Samuel Adams, and the Forty-fifth Alabama, Lieutenant-Colonel H. D. Lamplay, commanding, I placed in reserve in the centre of the gap.

The portion of Polk's Tennessee and Arkansas brigade with me, consisting of the First Arkansas, Colonel J. W. Colquitt commanding; the Second Tennessee, Colonel W. A. Robinson commanding; and the Third and Fifth Confederate regiments, consolidated, under Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Cole, I ordered to take position temporarily near the rear mouth of the gap, with directions to observe my right flank and prevent the enemy from turning me in that quarter.

I had scarcely half an hour to make these dispositions when I was informed the enemy's skirmishers were crossing the Chicamauga, driving our cavalry before them.

Immediately after the cavalry retreated through the gap at a trot, and the valley in front was clear of our troops, but close in rear of the ridge our immense train was still in full view, struggling through the fords of the creek and the deeply cut — up roads leading to Dalton, and my division, silent, but cool and ready, was the only barrier between it and the flushed and eager advance of the pursuing Federal army.

Shortly after 8 o'clock A. M. the enemy's skirmishers were in view, advancing. They opened fire, and under cover of it his lines of battle were placed and moved with the utmost decision and celerity against the ridge on the right of the gap. So quick and confident was this attack the enemy must have been acting on a concerted plan, and must have had guides who knew well the nature of the country.

As the first line moved towards the ridge its right flank became exposed,

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Semple (1)
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