Twenty-first Army Corps to look out toward McMinnville. All the remainder under Major-General Stanley, were to meet General Mitchell, coming in from Versailles, and attack the rebel cavalry at Middleton.
The headquarters of the army was to be established at Mrs. McGill's, at Big Spring Branch.
All these movements were executed with commendable promptitude and success, in the midst of continuous and drenching rain, which so softened the ground on all the dirt roads as to render them next to impassable.
General McCook's taking of Liberty Gap was very gallant and creditable to the troops of Johnson's division, Willich's brigade leading, supported by Carlin's brigade, of Davis' division, on the right.
General Reynolds had the advance in the Fourteenth Corps, Wilder's mounted brigade leading. He surprised and carried Hoover's Gap, a defile 3 miles in length, before the main infantry, support of the rebels (two brigades) could come up, and when they did arrive, fought them and held the position until the remainder of Reynolds' division arrived. The enemy kept at artillery distance from them, and left us to hold the bridge across the Garrison Fork and the debouche of the Fairfield road. For the details of this fight, I refer to the reports of the immediate commanders of the troops.
As it was not yet certain whether the enemy would advance to test our strength on McCook's front, or mass on the flank of the Fourteenth Corps, near Fairfield, the orders for June 25 were as follows:
Major-General Crittenden to advance to Lumley's Stand, 6 miles east of Beech Grove, and open communication with General Thomas. General Thomas to attack the rebels on the flank of his advance position at the forks of the road, and drive the rebels toward Fairfield. General McCook to feign an advance, as if in force on the Wartrace road, by the Liberty Gap passes. General Stanley with his cavalry to occupy their attention at Fosterville, and General Granger to support him with his infantry at Christiana.
Should Thomas succeed, and find the enemy retreating toward Wartrace, he was to cover that road with a division and move with the remainder of troops rapidly on Manchester. McCook to move in and take his place at Beech Grove, holding Liberty Gap with a division, and finally withdrawing that, and following Thomas to Manchester. The incessant rain delayed the arrival of General Brannan to join the Fourteenth Corps on the Manchester pike; but everything was finally in position, and General Reynolds' division had advanced on the heights toward Fairfield, but did not attack the enemy who appeared to show a disposition to contest our advance by that route. At Liberty Gap the enemy tried to regain possession, but finally retreated, leaving our pickets in position.
On the 26th most of the movements ordered for the 25th were completed, amid continuous rains. Generals Rousseau's, Reynolds', and Brannan's divisions co-operated in a gallant advance on the enemy, who, after a short distance, fled toward Fairfield, near to which place our pickets were advanced, while Reynolds' division and the baggage moved forward during the night toward Manchester, Wilder's brigade having seized Matt's Hollow early in the afternoon, and thus secured the passage.
June 27, headquarters reached Manchester, where General Reynolds' and part of Negley's division had already arrived. The remainder of Thomas' corps came in during the night. It was now manifest that the enemy must leave his entrenched position at Shelbyville, and that we