half rations. To have three days' rations ahead was a subject of rejoicing.
On the east of Cumberland Gap the mountains rise up like a gigantic wall, on one side nearly perpendicular, while on the west were Baptist, Rogers', and Big Creek, through which small wagons lightly laden had been known to pass, but they were generally used as bridle-paths, and were now strongly blockaded. In order at the same time to threaten Clinton, one of the enemy's depots of subsistence, and to divert his attention from my real plan, I established Brigadier-General Spears, with three regiments of his command, at the commencement of the 18 miles of blockade, at the foot of the Pine Mountain, and on the route to Big Creek Gap, and 35 miles west of Cumberland Gap. As I had anticipated, the enemy immediately occupied the front of Big Creek Gap with two strong brigades of infantry, two regiments of cavalry, and two batteries of artillery.
I now determined to cross the Pine Mountain and pass the Cumberland chain at Rogers' Gap (which is 20 miles west of Cumberland Gap, 15 miles east of Big Creek Gap, and 39 miles southwest of Cumberland Ford, and debouches into Powell's Valley, immediately opposite to the mouth of the road leading to Knoxville. This position once occupied would threaten Knoxville, Cumberland Gap, and Clinton, or three important points, in three different directions), with the brigades of De Courcy and Coburn (now Baird's), and to leave the brigade of General Carter to guard Cumberland Ford. It was my determination to attack the enemy in front, while Spears with his brigade would pass through Elk Gap and take him in the rear. The advance guard had crossed the Cumberland River to execute this maneuver, when one of my scouts came in and announced that Barton's command had withdrawn from Big Creek and was then encamped near Cumberland Gap. For the moment the execution of my plan was postponed, but not abandoned. I now determined to withdraw my entire force from Cumberland Ford, and to cause the sides of the Pine Mountain to be mined, so that a hundred thousand tons of rocks and trees could be hurled into the valley should the enemy attempt to strike at our line of supplies. The mines were constructed by Captain S. S. Lyon, but they were never sprung.
On the 6th instant the march was again resumed, Munday's cavalry, and Garrard's Third Kentucky Infantry constituting the advance guard, followed by the siege guns, Foster's battery, and De Courcy's brigade; next the brigade of Baird, with Wetmore's battery. Carter's brigade and Lanphere's battery brought up the rear. Heavy fatigue parties were constantly employed in front in making and repairing roads, which were again blockaded by Captain Lyon after the rear guard had passed. It was amusing to witness the astonishment of the people at the passage of enormous cannon over roads regarded by them as difficult and dangerous for lightly-laden wagons. Old men, women, and children flocked to the road-side, and everywhere we were welcomed with smiles and tears of joy.
Too much praise cannot be awarded to Captain Jacob T. Foster, First Wisconsin Battery, chief of artillery. As an artillerist of energy and skill he will not unfavorably compare with any officer in the service. The corps under his command is also deserving of the highest commendation. Nor can I pass unnoticed the heroic toil and hardy endurance of the parties detailed from the infantry to aid Captain Foster in advancing his guns along the cliffs of the Pine and Cumberland Mountains, for without their assistance at the block and tackle and the dragropes the march could not have been continued. The duties devolving