situation; certainly it was the best opportunity afforded during the war to destroy an army in detail.
On September 13th the Federal
army was posted as follows:
's 20th Corps, 14,345 effectives and 54 cannon, near Alpine, Ga.
' 14th Corps, 24,072 effective and 72 cannon, in front of Stevens' Gap, and Crittenden
's Corps, 13,975 effective and 48 cannon, west of Lee
and Gordon's Mills.
Total, 52,392 infantry, 177 guns and 8,000 cavalry, making an effective force of more than 600,000 men, while a division of Gordon Granger
's Corps was at Shell Mound
. General Bragg
's force consisted of Polk
's Corps, 12,027 strong; D. H. Hill
, 11,972; Buckner
, 11,029; 150 cannon and 7,500 cavalry.
It will be noted that General Bragg
made no effort to destroy either of the separated Federal forces.
By the 18th of September General Rosecrans
had brought together in the Chickamauga valley
, southward of Lee
and Gordon's Mills, the bulk of his army, while General Bragg
had, as before stated, concentrated his army about Lafayette
On September 19, General Bragg
decided to take the offensive.
was ordered to take the iniative with his division by crossing the Chickamauga
's bridge, about four or five miles from Lee
and Gordon's Mills, and move southward against his enemy, while Walker
, with his division, was to cross at Alexander
's bridge, and support Johnson
's Corps crossed at Tedford's Ford, still nearer the enemy's position, while Hill
was to cover the left flank against any operation the Federals
might make from that direction.
began the movement early on Friday morning with four brigades, while Forrest
covered his flanks and front.
came in contact with the Federal
cavalry at Keller's Mill
and pressed them back to Reed
's bridge, where there was sharp fighting before the infantry arrived.
Two brigades (Law
's and Robertson
's), commanded by General Hood
, soon re-enforced Johnson
, as instructed, marched from Lafayette
, and approaching Tedford's and Dalton's Fords, late in the afternoon, seized the hills commanding both fords, where he planted his batteries to cover the crossing.
's Corps, in the meantime (Hindman
's and Cheatham
's Divisions) had taken position nearly opposite Lee
and Gordon's Mills.