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[307] Boone's and Harrison's regiments of mounted infantry, the former on the left, and Harrison's men leading the advance toward Tunnel Hill; Long's brigade of cavalry at Varnell's Station, on the Cleveland and Dalton Railroad, supported by Grose's brigade of Crufts's division. An advance was made in three columns; after the right and left columns had moved out some distance, the centre, with the mounted infantry in advance, pushed forward and met with a fire at long-range from a battery of Parrott guns, the enemy's practice being excellent, and succeeding in checking the column; the right and left columns were then set in motion, and succeeded in flanking the enemy's battery, forcing it to retire. Davis's division of the Fourteenth corps was started in pursuit, and came tip with a heavy force of rebels at Buzzard's Roost, a pass through what is called Rock Face Ridge, which, as its name would suggest, is very precipitous, and is a very strong position. Johnson's division of the Fourteenth corps was advanced to the support of Davis. Position on the evening of the twenty-fourth: Davis confronting the enemy at Buzzard's Roost, supported by Johnson's division, posted a short distance west of Tunnel Hill; Crufts on his left, Crufts's headquarters, Lee's house. Baird's division of the Fourteenth corps started from Tunnel Hill at three A. M. on the morning of the twenty-fifth, to join General Crufts, on the road leading from Lee's house to Dalton, with instructions to move, in conjunction with Crufts and Long's cavalry, down the eastern side of Rock Face Ridge, and endeavor to force the enemy out of his position in the pass by threatening his right and rear, whilst Davis, supported by Johnson, attacked him in front. In the mean time, Harrison's regiment of mounted infantry (Thirty-ninth Indiana) occupied a gap in Rock Face Ridge, six miles south of Buzzard's Roost, and nearly opposite to Dalton, his instructions being to hold it as long as possible. Baird and Crufts found the enemy east of the ridge in heavy force and very strongly posted, skirmishing heavily with him until nightfall, when both divisions were withdrawn, ascertaining before leaving, that the enemy was in much stronger force than was supposed, and that, in consequence of late movements on our part, he had been obliged to order back to Dalton the reenforcements he had sent to relieve Polk in Alabama. Cleburne's division (one of those reported to have gone south) attacked Colonel Hanson's mounted infantry command at daylight on the morning of the twenty-sixth, and forced him to retire from the gap. Being convinced that the rebel army at Dalton largely outnumbered the strength of the four divisions I had opposed to it, and the movement against Johnston being a complete success insomuch as it caused the recalling of reenforcements sent to oppose General Sherman's expedition against Meridian, I concluded to withdraw my troops to the position they had occupied previous to the reconnoissance.

Baird's division was to fall back on the evening of the twenty-fifth to Lee's Farm, and on the twenty-sixth take position on a line of hills about a mile north of the town of Tunnel Hill, to cover the retirement of Johnson's and Davis's divisions from Buzzard's Roost; Davis being ordered to take post at his old camp in front of Rossville, leaving one brigade to support Baird, ordered to take post at Ringgold, until General Baird had sufficient time to establish his picketlines. Johnson was ordered to take post at Tyner's Station with two brigades of his command, sending one brigade to Graysville, placing a strong guard in Parker's Gap, north-east of Ringgold, to protect Baird's left flank. Crufts was ordered to take up his old position at Ottowah and at Blue Springs, (near Cleveland,) sending a depot-guard to protect his supplies at Cleveland. Long's brigade of cavalry ordered to take post at Cleveland, and keep the left flank well patroled. Colonel Harrison, commanding Thirty-ninth Indiana mounted infantry, with the Twenty-eighth Kentucky, (mounted infantry,) Colonel W. P. Boone commanding, was posted at Leet's Tanyard, with instructions to patrol the country in the direction of La Fayette, and to picket strongly all the roads leading from Leet's in the direction of La Fayette, Resaca, and Dalton. In accordance with these instructions, Johnson withdrew on the night of the twenty-sixth to Catoosa Platform, Davis and Baird and Harrison to Ringgold; and on the twenty-seventh they all took up the positions indicated above. Crufts's and Long's cavalry also fell back to Catoosa Platform on the night of the twenty-sixth, and there took up the positions assigned them.

I have the honor to forward herewith a consolidated report of casualties; also the report of Colonel Eli Long, commanding Second brigade, Second division of cavalry; and a statement of a refugee from Dalton, showing how matters stood at that place during the late reconnaissance; the monthly returns for January and February of Colonel J. G. Parkhurst, Ninth Michigan veteran volunteer infantry, Provost-Marshal General, and that of Lieutenant-Colonel A. P. Porter, Chief Commissary of Subsistence, giving the average daily issue of rations to destitute citizens during the above months.

The following regiments, etc., have reorganized as veteran volunteers since the thirty-first of December, 1863, namely:

Infantry.--Second Minnesota, Fifty-eighth New-York, Sixty-eighth New-York, Forty-fifth New-York, Tenth Illinois, Fifty-ninth Illinois, Thirty-sixth Illinois, Fifty-first Illinois, Forty-fourth Illinois, Forty-second Illinois, Eighty-second Ohio, Fifty-fifth Ohio, Twenty-first Ohio, Seventeenth Ohio, Seventy-fourth Ohio, Twenty-sixth Ohio, Forty-first Ohio, Nineteenth Ohio, Thirty-first Ohio, Thirty-third Ohio, Fifty-first Ohio, Sixty-fourth Ohio, Fifteenth Ohio, Forty-ninth Ohio, Thirteenth Ohio, Seventy-first Ohio, Sixty-fifth Ohio, Fortieth Ohio, Fifth Connecticut, Thirtieth Indiana, Forty-fourth Indiana, Thirty-first Indiana, Forty-second Indiana, Twenty-second Indiana, Thirty-third Indiana, Fifty-seventh Indiana, Fifty-first Indiana, Fifty-eighth Indiana,

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Crufts (8)
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