and General Brannan soon followed. While the latter was getting into position, Colonel McCook, who commanded a brigade of the Reserve Corps, came in and reported a brigade of the enemy not far distant upon our left, with which he had been skirmishing. General Brannan was then formed facing to the eastward, and I was directed to change my front to the left, conforming my line to his, and at the same time to watch well upon my right flank against an approach from that direction. We were then in a thick wood interspersed with thickets and openings, which extended in front, I believe, as far as the Chickamauga.
I formed General King's brigade upon the left, with orders to dress and close upon General Brannan, and a portion of Colonel Scribner's force upon the same line to be guarded by King's right, and the rest of his force I had bent to the rear so as to march by flank in rear of his right, and be ready to front in that direction or toward the south should it be required. To General Starkweather I gave orders to move in column in rear, holding his brigade as a reserve. I had particularly in view the support of our right flank.
The artillery could not advance in line with the infantry, nor, indeed, could it have been used except at rare intervals. It could not, at the same time, be left behind for want of protection, and it was directed to follow closely the brigades, making its way through the trees.
I had scarcely got my line formed when General Brannan's men, a little in advance, began to skirmish hotly. My men were soon after engaged. We drove the enemy before us, and covered the ground quite thickly with his dead and wounded, besides sending 200 prisoners to the rear, some just from the Army of Virginia. During this forward movement, I received orders from the general commanding to push rapidly toward the left to support Colonel Croxton's brigade of Brannan's division, then hard pressed by the enemy and almost out of ammunition.
About the same time, General Starkweather, as will be seen by his report, received an order of similar effect, and at once acted upon it. I was not, until subsequently, aware of this, and thus lost my knowledge of his position. Before I had closed up with General Brannan's left, word was brought me that General Palmer had arrived upon my right, and that his skirmishers were then passing across my front. I sent a caution, in consequence, to my men not to fire into them. The evidence seems clear that men of our forces were in the position indicated; but to whom they could have belonged, or how they came there, I cannot now conjecture. Arrived close up to General Brannan, and the enemy having disappeared from our front, I halted to readjust my line. We had now advanced about three-fourths of a mile from where we first became engaged, and the troops had behaved admirably. While arranging my line, I learned from prisoners that there had been but one division in our front, while the main body of the rebel force, which they exaggerated at 90,000, had crossed the river at Alexander's Bridge, above us, and was then upon my right flank. I immediately ordered General King to change his front so as to face the south; his left being supported by General Brannan's troops, in order to face the new danger. I also dispatched staff officers to General Starkweather to bring him to the same point, but having moved toward the left, as before stated, they failed for some time to find him. I went myself toward Colonel Scribner to see his command properly posted, but before I