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[204] communication, in regard to the isolated fragment of Thomas's corps then at Davis's Cross-Roads in the Cove, between 9 and 11,000 strong, of all arms. This communication was sent to you at Lee and Gordon's Mills during the afternoon of the day preceding the abortive movement.

Between 12 and 1 o'clock that night I received an order to report to you in person, at General Hill's quarters. On my arrival I found a Major of engineers—in broken English giving you a very incoherent report of the topography of the Cove, and the situation of the enemy's troops and our own. He was urging you to change the orders you had given for an attack upon the enemy by General Hindman. I remember very well, there was nothing in what he said, and I so remarked to you.1 You ordered him to return immediately to General Hindman, and to say to him, that there would be no change of orders, and he must carry out those he had received. I then learned from General Hill and yourself, that he had erred in supposing that the enemy had concentrated or was concentrating McCook and Thomas's corps, on his left and rear at Alpine, southwest of Lafayette, and just at the eastern base of Lookout Mountain. General Hill had mistaken the purport of the information received, which you had correctly understood and acted upon The mistake arose from a want of maps and knowledge of the country. You then stated that the three corps of Rosecrans's army were so far separated by distance and mountains as to make a concentration impossible in time to save his army, if he were struck in his centre in the Cove, and that you having your army well in hand could hurl the whole of it in succession upon the detached corps of the enemy. * *

After some inquiries of me about roads, distances &c., you issued orders for a joint attack at an early hour next morning, Hindman to move upon the enemy and cut off his retreat to Well's Valley, and Hill, moving through Dug Gap, to second Hindman's attack, when it had become developed. I heard you dictate the orders, or heard them read by you. You gave me unlimited discretion in the use of my cavalry, so as to aid Hindman's attack. Breckinridge, with his division and my battery and some other artillery, was left at Lafayette to confront any force McCook might advance from Alpine. Hill's troops moved promptly into the Gap at a very early hour. Having seen them well advanced, I rode rapidly through Catlett's Gap and

1 This man subsequently deserted, wearing it is said, a uniform stolen from some general officer.

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