bring up the rear of the column. On the 9th of June General Buell telegraphed me from Booneville, Mississippi:
"The force now in Tennessee is so small that no offensive operation against east Tennessee can be attempted, and you must therefore depend mainly on your own resources."
And on the 10th:
"Considering your force and that opposed to you, it will probably not be safe for you to undertake any offensive operations. Other operations will soon have an influence on your designs, and it is better for you to rim no risk at present."
It was, however, next to impossible to change my plans at this moment, and move back on a road such as described. We therefore continued to toil forward over the almost impassable mountains.
Thinking that the series of feints against Chattanooga that were being made at my request indicated an advance in force, Kirby Smith now concentrated for defense at that point, after evacuating Cumberland Gap and removing the stores. This was just what I wanted. On the evening of the 17th of June, General Carter L. Stevenson of the Confederate forces sent Colonel J. E. Rains to cover the evacuation of Cumberland Gap,* which had been commenced on the afternoon of that day; Rains withdrew in the night and marched toward Morristown. Unaware of that fact, at 1 o'clock on the morning of June 18th we advanced in two parallel columns, of two brigades each, to attack the enemy; but while the troops were at breakfast I learned from a Union man who had come along the valley road that Rains had withdrawn and that the gap was being evacuated. The advance was at once sounded, the Seventh Division pressed forward, and four hours after the evacuation by the Confederates the flag of the Union floated from the loftiest pinnacle of the Cumberland Range. The enemy had carried away his field-guns, but had left seven of his heavy cannon in position, dismantling the rest.
At the request of Carter, his brigade was sent forward in pursuit of the enemy as far as Tazewell, but the enemy had fallen back south-eastward to the Clinch Mountains. Cumberland Gap was ours without the loss of a single life. Secretary Stanton telegraphed the thanks of the President, and General Buell published a general order in honor of this achievement of the Seventh Division.
Lieutenant (now Colonel) William P. Craighill, of the Corps of Engineers, a soldier of distinguished merit and ability, was sent by Secretary Stanton to strengthen the fortifications at the Gap, and he soon rendered them impregnable against attack.
My hope and ambition now was to advance against Knoxville and arouse the Union men of east Tennessee to arms. I urgently asked for two additional brigades of infantry, a battery, and two regiments of cavalry, and, thus reinforced, pledged myself to sweep east Tennessee of the Confederates. My guns were increased from 22 to 28, and a battery of east Tennessee artillery was organized, commanded by Lieutenant Daniel Webster, of Forster's 1st Wis-
*The Confederate forces covering the mountain and river passes north of Knoxville at this time were under General C. L. Stevenson, First Division, Department of East Tennessee.-EDITORS.