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‘ [245] communications. This may compel the loss of Chattanooga, but is unavoidable.’

Crittenden marched his advance guard around the northern verge of Lookout mountain, occupied the city of Chattanooga, and on the next day placed his main body at Rossville. Thomas' corps was consuming four days in crossing Lookout mountain at the passes 25 miles southward, while Bragg was transferring his army to a new line, northward and southward along the east side of Pigeon mountain. D. H. Hill's corps reached Lafayette, the left flank of the new Confederate position, and Cleburne's division was posted at the three passes of Pigeon mountain near Lafayette, Catlett's gap, Dug gap, and Blue Bird gap, from which the Confederates could see Thomas' men marching into the valley on the west.

Rosecrans believed at first that Bragg was retreating to Rome, and instructed Crittenden to leave one brigade at Chattanooga and ‘follow the enemy's retreat vigorously’ by way of Ringgold and Dalton. This brought Crittenden's advance to Ringgold on the 10th, on the Confederate right flank. Near there Pegram's cavalry brigade encountered his mounted pickets and captured 59 prisoners. On the 11th, Crittenden, having found Bragg, began moving west from Ringgold, and on the 12th he was at Gordon's mill on Chickamauga creek with his corps. Wilder's mounted brigade, covering the movement, had a severe skirmish at Leet's tanyard with the Sixth Georgia cavalry, Col. John R. Hart, and Rucker's legion, in which the Federals lost about 30 and the Confederates 50 men. ‘It would be impossible,’ said General Pegram, ‘to pay too high a tribute to the daring gallantry of my small force in this unequal conflict with the picked brigade of General Crittenden's corps.’

The orders of General Bragg indicate that he was planning attacks in detail upon the enemy, scattered along a 40-mile line in the mountains, and the period when this was not done and the enemy escaped destruction might

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Thomas L. Crittenden (5)
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