and I then sent all my artillery to the rear; afterward the remaining troops of General Negley, and then directed Colonel Scribner to retire by regiments from his left. They thus passed through a wood by which the movement was concealed.
This completed, General Starkweather was left at the cross-roads with three regiments, and at the same time the plans of the enemy developed themselves, but a little too late to do us much damage. A battery planted on our left, out of sight, on the prolongation of the Chattanooga road, attempted to shell these regiments, but not seeing them the shells passed over; simultaneously a heavy line of skirmishers pushed out into the field on the right of Dug Gap road and beyond Bird Gap road, under cover of which a double line of battle was formed and advanced.
Our men fell back, covered by their skirmishers, to the creek, and here a brief but sharp contest took place. The enemy pressed on vigorously, but being repulsed by the fire of our men, many of whom had taken position behind a stone fence, we had time to retire behind the second line. In passing, Colonel Scribner had been ordered by General Negley to move on with the train to Bailey's Cross-Roads and there take position, while General Starkweather was to be posted in line south of the road upon Missionary Ridge. A brigade of General Negley was upon the north, thus forming the third and last line we established.
The only portion of my command in the second line was the Fourth Indiana Battery, which was supported by regiments from General Negley's division, and contributed by a heavy fire from his batteries, charged boldly upon the second line.
The third line having been established, the second retired behind it, and was no longer molested. The third fell back gradually, and night coming on I drew the regiment of Colonel Mihalotzy [Twenty-fourth Illinois] into the road, and remained with it in rear until we reached this place. General Negley, in advance, had selected positions for the troops, anticipating a renewal of the attack in the morning, and thus closed the events of the day.
These operations, while of too unimportant a character to be dignified by the name of a battle, and really not sufficient to test the mettle of my troops, who would have been glad to have pushed further, still presented occasions of as severe trial to the parties involved as a general engagement.
I claim for my command the credit of having handsomely performed the difficult military operation of retiring step by step in good order, while constantly engaged with the enemy. It is an evidence of what may be expected from these men in the future. They have my highest commendation, and I trust their conduct will meet with the approval of the major-general commanding.
It would be wrong for me to name those whose good conduct attracted my attention, lest I might do injustice to others whom I did not see. I leave this to the brigade commanders, more constantly upon the spot, and their reports I inclose herewith. Not an instance of bad conduct has been brought to my notice.
The brigade commanders themselves, Brigadier-General Starkweather and Colonel Scribner, I desire to name to the general for their coolness and bravery, as well as the skill and good judgment with which they managed their commands. The officers of my staff
18 R R-VOL XXX, PT I