command, then at or slightly in advance of this place. With much difficulty and great labor, I succeeded by 9 p.m. in getting to the foot of the mountain, with three regiments of General Starkweather's brigade, the First and Twenty-first Wisconsin and Twenty-fourth Illinois, and his battery; also a portion of my transportation train and four regiments of Colonel Scribner's brigade, the Thirty-third and Ninety-fourth Ohio, the Thirty-eighth Indiana, and the Tenth Wisconsin, together with the First Michigan Battery. The remainder of the division was in rear, employed either in guarding trains and depots or other important duty, so that I had with me only about 2,800 men.
On my arrival here I received intelligence from General Negley, who had moved forward in the morning, to the effect that he had driven the enemy before him during the day, and had got up quite close to Dug Gap, on the road to La Fayette; that he had here met with a stout resistance, perhaps too great for his force to overcome, and at the same time that he had learned of a large rebel force with twelve pieces of artillery, on his left flank, lower down the valley.
The communication expressed anxiety for the safety of his own party, and a wish that I should move forward as rapidly as possible. The fact of a rebel force, both of artillery and infantry, being near us down the valley was likewise reported to me by citizens of credibility.
In the condition in which I was, with a portion of my train at the foot and the rest on the mountain, requiring a guard to protect it from approach by way of Cooper's Gap, I felt somewhat embarrassed.
I sent word, however, to General Negley, suggesting that if he believed in the reports regarding the forces opposed to us, that it might be better for him to fall back upon me at this place, where we could defend ourselves and trains until other forces could arrive, nevertheless, that if he thought otherwise, I would march at 3 o'clock in the morning with the force at hand and join him. This, he replied, would be satisfactory.
As soon as possible after 3 a.m. on the 11th instant I moved forward, taking everything with me, as I was not able to leave a guard for it here. At about 8 o'clock I reached General Negley's headquarters at the Widow Davis' house. All then appeared to be quiet, and I soon after started with him to ride around his lines, so as to acquire some knowledge of the country. General Negley upon this ride explained to me that his left flank and rear were in danger, and that he intended drawing back some portion of his force from the front beyond the creek, to prolong our line to the left and rear, and that he wished me to occupy with my troops the position from which he would withdraw his.
Returning from this ride, we were informed that firing had commenced in the front, and we at once rode to the spot.
About half a mile beyond [eastward] the Widow Davis' house, beyond the woods and with open fields in front, our line of infantry and artillery was formed, the right resting upon the Dug Gap road, supported by skirmishers in a wood upon the other side of the road, extending one-fourth mile farther, as far as Shaw's house.
Our main line curved over the ridge to the Chattanooga road, and thence fell back to the left and rear, being, for the greater part of its extent, in the woods.