Numbers 100. Report of Brigadier General William B. Bate, C. S. Army, commanding brigade, Stewart's division.
CAMP NEAR TYNER'S STATION,
July 15, 1863.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the battle of Hoover's Gap, fought on the evening of June 24 last by a part of my brigade:
About 2 o'clock in the afternoon of that day, while encamped 1 mile from Fairfield and 4 from Hoover's Gap, a courier arrived from Major-General Stewart, directing me to send one regiment and a battery up Garrison's Fork toward Beech Grove. In a few moments a second courier arrived, directing me to send two regiments. The Twentieth Tennessee and the Thirty-seventh (then known as the First) Georgia Regiment and the Eufaula Light Artillery were designated for the expedition, and at once started through a drenching rain in fulfillment of the order. [T. D.] Caswell's battalion of sharpshooters (Fourth Georgia Battalion) was directed to follow, and the remainder of my command ordered under arms, and to hold itself in readiness to move. Though the order was to send the force, I took the liberty of commanding it in person, believing it would meet the approbation of the major-general commanding. The command had not passed the confines of my camp before meeting in scattered remnants a part of the First [Third] Kentucky Cavalry in hot haste, stating that while on picket they had been scattered and driven from beyond Hoover's Gap by the advancing columns of the enemy. I had proceeded a mile when I met their colonel ([J. R.] Butler
with some 8 or 10 of his men. He at once volunteered to return with me, and did so. I learned from him that three regiments of the enemy's cavalry had passed down the Manchester turnpike. I also about the same time heard from a citizen that some scouts of the enemy had already passed from the Manchester pike down Noah's Fork as far as A. B. Robertson's mill, which was on the main road leading to my right and rear. I thereupon immediately sent a staff officer to camps, with instructions to Colonel R. C. Tyler to move his command (the Fifteenth and Thirty-seventh Tennessee Regiments consolidated) to some eligible and defensible position on the road up Noah's Fork, and prevent the enemy turning our right and rear. Through same channel I ordered Colonel Bush Jones to take his command (Ninth Alabama Battalion) 1 mile in front of our encampment, where the Dismal Hollow road diverges from its main direction and is intersected by road leading to Garrison's Fork, to resist any attempt made by the enemy to pass in that direction, which was to my left, and to hold himself ready to re-enforce our advance should occasion require.
These dispositions having been ordered, I hastily communicated them to Major-General Stewart, at Fairfield, and moved on briskly to original destination. When about mile from Beech Grove (which is near the entrance to Hoover's Gap), I threw out a company of skirmishers to my right, and sent forward with a few scouts, at his own instance, Major William Clare, of General Bragg's staff, to ascertain the whereabouts of the enemy. His fire was soon drawn and his position developed. I immediately prepared to giver him battle, and advanced two companies as skirmishers at a double-quick to gain and occupy a skirt of woods before the enemy could do so, and to which he was advancing. Major Fred. Claybrooke (of the Twentieth Tennessee) pushed forward the skirmishers and effected the object, driving the enemy back after a sharp