not been sent away to be provided for by Colonel Watkins, commanding a brigade of cavalry still remaining at Valley Head. I reached the top of the mountain with my command at 12 o'clock, and pushed on to within a mile of Stevens' Gap, where I bivouacked at 11 p.m., having marched 23 miles.
At 2 o'clock the next morning I received a communication from Major-General McCook inclosing a letter of instructions from department headquarters directing me to remain at Stevens' Gap and "to hold that position at all hazards, but if compelled to abandon the gap, to retire along the mountain road to Chattanooga, contesting the ground inch by inch." I accordingly made the proper dispositions to hold the mountain pass from whatever direction it might be assailed, and also to afford protection to the large cavalry train collected there.
About 4 o'clock of the morning of the 20th I received and order from Major-General McCook to move forward to the battle-field by way of Crawfish Spring, and to send all the trains by the Mountain road to Chattanooga. I put the trains in motion immediately, sending with them 67 prisoners of war, under charge of Sergeant McCune, commanding the provost guard of this brigade. At the same time I passed down the mountain, and, procuring some guides, I pressed forward with all possible speed toward Crawfish Spring. As I advanced the cannonading in my front and attacks upon my front and flank warned me of my critical position and the danger of being cut off from the main body of the army. I thoroughly informed myself concerning all roads and by-ways leading back into the Valley of Chattanooga Creek by which I could reach the army under shelter of Lookout Mountain if the enemy should be found in such force in my front as to render it impossible to cut my way through.
At the Ringgold road I found the enemy apparently in considerable force. I caused a heavy line of skirmishers to be deployed, under charge of Captain Robert Hale, provost-marshal on my staff, and drove them from the front up the road leading toward Ringgold, while at the same time throwing my advance guard well out, I kept my column moving forward toward Crawfish Spring as rapidly as possible. The skirmishers on my right flank engaged and kept the enemy at bay, following the column in succession as it passed, and in this manner we reached Crawfish Spring, where I reported to Brigadier General R. B. Mitchell, commanding Cavalry Corps, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon.
My men had borne up under the dust and heat of this rapid march with admirable spirit, and the alacrity and success with which they had contended with the enemy gave promise of what might be expected of them in the contest in which I anticipated soon to lead them.
Brigadier-General Mitchell informed me that all communication was cut off with Major-General McCook's corps, and that it was impossible to move to the point indicated in my orders. He therefore assumed command of my brigade and directed me to take a position to repel an attack which he apprehended on his front. After I had placed my men in position, being extremely anxious to rejoin the division, or, if that should be impossible, at least to inform my division and corps commanders of my arrival at Crawfish Spring, I dispatched Captain Robert Hale,m a resolute and discreet officer, to communicate with you, if possible, in which undertaking you are aware