On the morning of the 10th the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois, Colonel Monroe; the Seventeenth Indiana, Major Jones; the Eighteenth Indiana Battery, Captain Lilly, and the howitzer battery, four guns, under command of Sergeant Anderson, Seventy-second Indiana, crossed over. Here we were joined by Colonel Atkins, with his regiment, the Ninety-second Illinois, who the day before, in advance of General Wood's column, was the first to enter Ghattanooga and unfurl the national colors. Some time was consumed in crossing the river and issuing rations to the command, so that before we were fully ready to take up the march it was 2 p. m. We then set out for Ringgold, Ga., and after marching 10 or 12 miles bivouacked for the night in a valley beyond Mission Ridge, 3 miles east of Graysville, and along the Georgia line, nothing of importance having transpired except the capturing of a large rebel mail at Tyner's Station by the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois.
We were now within 4 or 5 miles of Ringgold, and a scouting party from the Seventy-second Indiana was sent into the town who reported no enemy there.
At 6 a. m. on the 11th the command was on the march, moving steadily forward. Orders having been received during the night to have the Ninety-second Illinois report to Major-General Reynolds at La Fayette, Ga., they were accordingly placed in the advance with to howitzers. When within 2 miles of Ringgold they encountered the pickets of the enemy, driving them in. At this time they were a full mile in advance, and when the column came up were engaged in a brisk fight, part dismounted and part fighting on horseback. The Seventeenth Indiana were at once ordered up, dismounted, and sent to occupy the crest of a hill on the left of the line of battle of the Ninety-second Illinois. A section of Lilly's battery was then ordered into position and opened on the enemy with telling effect. In the meantime the Ninety-second Illinois, steadily advancing, drove the enemy through and beyond the town. By this time the Twenty-first Army Corps, moving on another road, reached the place. The enemy proved to be a brigade of Forrest's cavalry, with two pieces of artillery.
Here Colonel Atkins was ordered to join Major-General Reynolds,
via Rossville, which he proceeded to do. When about 8 miles out he again encountered the enemy, about 600 strong, compelling his hasty retreat and saving a wagon train from falling into his hands.
The remainder of the command, in the meantime, moved on the Dalton road, driving the enemy, who retired slowly, stubbornly disputing our advance, and burning the railroad and other bridges as he fell back.
At one time, about 2 1/2 miles beyond Ringgold, in a favorable position for defense, he formed line of battle, planted his artillery, and opened fire. Two of Lilly's guns were immediately put in position, when a harp artillery duel ensued, which, lasting near an hour, the enemy again fell back. The command was then formed in three columns, and moved up the valley by the flank with a strong line of skirmishers well to the front, who advanced rapidly, keeping up a constant fire on the retreating enemy. That night we bivouacked at Tunnel Hill, 7 miles from Dalton.
During the night orders were received from Major-General crittenden for the command to proceed to La Fayette, Ga., and join Major-General Reynolds, returning by way of Ringgold, and from there going forward by way of Rock Spring. In retiring to Ring-