Bridgeport in the retreat, and esteeming it my duty to communicate to you at the earliest practicable moment this movement of the enemy, I came up on the train of that evening, bringing up the sick, some men unfortunately wounded by a railroad accident, and about half of the command. A train was sent down for the remainder as soon as possible, and it brought up also the baggage.
Before the attack two old iron 6-pounders, of Kain's battery, had been planted on the east bank, in the only place available, but very difficult of access, and were abandoned under the enemy's fire and the heat of the burning bridge.
The dispositions made occupied the 30th, and as our whole force of 450 men composed the brigade of Colonel A. W. Reynolds, then serving on court-martial, but naturally anxious to be in the field, I ordered him forward to Whiteside, a strong position, 14 miles toward Bridgeport, on the 1st instant. He was directed to observe the enemy and to retard his advance if practicable.
In the mean time I had been advised by Colonel Glenn, under date of the 30th, at Dalton, that he would bring on his unarmed regiment as soon as transportation could be procured, and he was confidently expected on the 1st instant. It was necessary to collect the arms belonging to the sick of the Thirty-ninth and Forty-third Georgia Regiments, and with them to arm Colonel Glenn's command. This I undertook, with the purpose of moving on promptly to Colonel Reynolds' support.
Colonel Glenn arrived on the 2nd, and was soon armed and supplied with ammunition, but the tenor of Colonel Reynolds' dispatches during the day was such as to lead me to think it judicious to hold the regiment disposable, lest the enemy should move up on the west side and attempt to cross near Chattanooga.
About 10 o'clock that night I received from him the following dispatch:
Scouts came in from Kelly's and reported, on reliable information, that the enemy, 5,000 strong, had crossed at Shell Mound.
A. W. REYNOLDS,
If you are satisfied your information is reliable, burn all the bridges on the railroad and country roads, and fall back with your command to Lookout Mountain. I will meet you there with Colonel Glenn's regiment.
The point indicated is close to the Tennessee River, where the railroad and all the country roads intersect each other. To this dispatch the colonel replied that he would move accordingly.
About 4 a. m. of the 3rd we met there, and having selected the best line of defense, too extensive, however, for our force, I placed the men in position, and a bridge on the country road over Lookout Creek, in front, was burned. I also ordered the railroad bridge over the same creek to be burned as soon as our pickets should have come in. Colonel Reynolds then proceeded to town. This railroad bridge was actually not burned until late in the day, but I was on the mountain, and supposed that it had been destroyed early.
After receiving positive information, therefore, at 1 p. m. that the force off the enemy on this side of the river was small, the order for the destruction of the bridge was not countermanded. It will be restored by means of trestle work in a few days.