on a little eminence in the valley on my right, and the other section on the slope of a hill on my left, to fire upon the enemy should he appear in force emerging from the gap. Their use until night retarded his advance in masses, though his skirmishers, pushing steadily forward and constantly re-enforcing, caused my line of skirmishers half a mile from the entrance to the gap, and as it was now too late in the evening to renew the struggle with my line of battle for the possession of that place, and still raining hard, I deemed it advisable to withdraw my command, which, by my order, slowly retired from the position behind intervening hills, without further attack form the enemy, to my camp, near Bellbuckle, in order to cook rations, with the view o conforming to and preparing for any general movement that might be contemplated by my division and corps commanders.
In the mean time night coming on, and a company of cavalry having reported to me, I placed it in position on the range of hills just south of the Wartrace, in sight of the gap, with instructions to watch the movements of the enemy during the night and report any change. The necessary infantry pickets were likewise thrown out in their rear. Shortly after this, I received orders from Lieutenant-General Hardee to hold my command in readiness for any movement that might become necessary, and a subsequent telegram to hold my position and to be prepared to fall back, if obliged to, to-morrow.
About daylight next morning (June 25) I was again confronting the enemy, who had not changed his position during the previous night. Colonel [John H.] Kelly's Eighth Arkansas Regiment was left to cover the approaches to Bellbuckle by the way of railroad gap. I placed Colonel [D. C.] Govan's regiment on a hill on the south of the Wartrace, which was quite precipitous on the side next to the creek skirting its base, and Colonels Featherston's and Josey's regiments on the knobs on the left of the same stream. These knobs and hills were probably in place 100 feet or more in height above the level of the creek, varying in elevation irregularly at different points, and covered with timber and thick underbrush. The battery was placed on the left extremity of the next hill in rear, commanding a view of the gap, about 1 mile distant, and the valley of the creek in the interval between the regiments on its opposite sides. The Sixth and Seventh Arkansas Regiment were kept in reserve with the battery.
Nothing more than occasional skirmishing occurred until 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when I received a note from Lieutenant-Colonel [Paul F.] Anderson, of the cavalry near New Fosterville, to the effect that his scouts from the direction of Old Millersburg had reported the enemy going back the way they came, their wagons all going back, and their skirmishers behind them. I was impressed with this belief myself when, reconnoitering from the highest knob on the right of Colonel Govan's regiment, I could see a large regiment o the enemy moving back to the gap, with numerous wagons and ambulances despairing through the defile in the direction of Old Millersburg. To discover the enemy's intentions, I now ordered Colonel Featherston to move his skirmishers forward cautiously and slowly. In doing so, he became gradually engaged with the enemy's lines, the firing steadily increasing in intensity until the contest became quite animated. Apprehending that the odds would be too great for one regiment, I ordered Colonel Josey to support him. The enemy's skirmishers were driven back from under cover of the woods on the hill into the field beyond and next to the gap. The enemy now returned with fresh re-enforcements, apparently abandoning.