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[51] on our right, rendered a movement on the enemy's rear with our inferior force extremely hazardous, if not impracticable. It was, therefore, determined to meet him in front, whenever he should emerge from the mountain gorges. To do this, and hold Chattanooga was impossible, without such a division of our small force a to endanger both parts. Accordingly, our troops were put in position on the 7th and 8th of September, and took position from Lee and Gordon's mill to Lafayette, on the road leading south from Chattanooga and fronting the east slope of Lookout mountain. The forces on the Hiawassee and at Chickamauga Station, took the route by Ringgold. A small cavalry force was left in observation at Chattanooga, and a brigade of infantry, strongly supported by cavalry, was left at Ringgold to hold the railroad and protect it from raids.

As soon as our movement was known to the enemy, his corps nearest Chattanooga, and which had been threatening Buckner's rear, was thrown into that place, and shortly thereafter commenced to move on our rear by the two roads to Lafayette and Ringgold. Two other corps were now in Wills's valley, one nearly opposite the head of McLemore's cove, a valley formed by Lookout mountain and a spur of the main ridge called Pigeon mountain, and the other at or near Colonel Winston's, opposite Alpine.

During the 9th, it was ascertained that a column, estimated at from four thousand to eight thousand, had crossed Lookout mountain into the cove by way of Stevens's and Cooper's gaps. Thrown off his guard by our rapid movement, apparently in retreat, when, in reality we had concentrated opposite his center, and deceived by the information from deserters and others sent into his lines, the enemy pressed on his columns to intercept us, and thus exposed himself in detail.

Major-General Hindman received verbal instructions on the 9th to prepare his division to move against this force, and was informed that another division from Lieutenant-General Hills's command, at Lafayette, would join him. That evening the following written orders were issued to Generals Hindman and Hill:

headquarters Army of Tennessee, Lee and Gordon's mills. 11 3/4 P. M., September 9, 1863.
Major-General Hindman, Commanding Division:
General,—You will move your division immediately to Davis's cross-roads, on the road from Lafayette to Stevens's gap.

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