Sirwell were ordered to withdraw quietly, at 3 the next morning, their entire line of pickets to the west side of the road running along the foot of the ridge occupied by the enemy, and to remain under arms until morning.
It was subsequently learned that the enemy intended to surprise my picket line at daylight, if their position had not been changed.
September 11, 8.30 a. m., Brigadier-General Baird, with two brigades of his division (Starkweather's and Scribner's), arrived, and General Baird courteously reported to me as his senior for instructions.
His troops were placed in position at once, near Widow Davis' Cross-Roads, and held in reserve.
I now learned positively that the enemy had removed the obstructions from Dug and Blue Bird Gaps, and was moving a heavy force through each of them; also that Buckner's corps was moving forward rapidly on the Chattanooga road, and that his advance was only 2 miles distant.
A careful examination of the ground we occupied, which was a long, low ridge, covered with a heavy growth of young timber, descending abruptly on the north end to the Chickamauga, while the east, south, and west sides were skirted by corn-fields and commanded by higher ridges, demonstrated the fact that it would be impossible to hold this or any other position south of Bailey's Cross-Roads and fight a battle without involving the certain destruction of the trains, which, from the contour of these ridges and uneven nature of the ground, we would be obliged to park in close proximity to our position.
The preservation of the trains, perhaps the safety of the entire command, demanded that I should retire to Bailey's Cross-Roads, 2 miles northwest of our position, where we could get our trains under cover and fight the enemy to a better advantage. I therefore directed that the trains should commence moving back slowly and in good order, and that General Baird should hold Widow Davis' Cross-Roads until I could withdraw a portion of the Second Division and take position on the north side of Chickamauga Creek, to cover the withdrawal of his brigades and prevent the enemy from flanking us on our left.
1 p. m. a heavy column of cavalry was seen moving steadily on our left, with the evident intention of gaining my rear.
I immediately had four pieces of artillery placed in position on the ridge at John Davis' house, which commanded the valley on my left, also sent General Beatty, with one regiment and a section of artillery, to seize and guard Bailey's Cross-Roads, which was reported to be in possession of the enemy's cavalry.
2 p. m. the trains were all in motion falling back to Bailey's Cross-Roads.
General Beatty and Colonel Scribner, of General Baird's division, were directed to proceed to that point without delay and protect the trains from the attack of a large force of cavalry approaching with that view.
3 p. m. the skirmishers of General Baird's division were directed to fall back across the creek, where they were placed in position to hold the enemy in check until I could get my artillery in position on the ridge this side.
Two companies of the Nineteenth Illinois Infantry, concealed behind a stone fence, poured into the ranks of the enemy a destructive