Second and Third Divisions were then at Ringgold. General Hazen, with his brigade, having crossed the river yesterday, rejoined his division (Palmer's) to-day. Colonel Dick, with Second Brigade, Van Cleve's division (left at McMinnville to guard stores,&c.), rejoined his command on the 9th. Your instructions received at this time, and dated 9.15 a.m., were to move with the balance of my corps on the Chickamauga and Pea Vine Valley roads, keeping in view two objects; first, to support General Thomas in case the enemy is in force in the vicinity of La Fayette, or, second, to move eastward and southward toward Rome in case he has continued his retreat. Other verbal instructions received by my staff officer urged upon me the importance of keeping my separate divisions in supporting distance of one another.
At 8.30 a.m. I received your dispatch of 3.30 p.m., informing me that the enemy was in heavy force in the Valley of Chattanooga, and instructing me to move my whole force across, by the most available route and as quickly as possible, to the Rossville and La Fayette road to some defensible point between Gordon's Mills and Shields' house, and to close Wood up with me or myself to him.
I at once called my general officers together, and after a long consultation and diligent inquiry of citizens as to the nature of the roads and country, gave orders to move the command in the direction ordered at 5 in the morning.
September 12.-Sent word early this evening to Colonel Wilder, who was in the advance and near Tunnel Hill, to return to Ringgold with his command and to follow on my line of march, covering my left flank. He moved promptly and met a me at Ringgold, and reported that the enemy was in force in his front last night, and that he learned from deserters that Forrest was to leave to-day to flank and cut off this command,and Wharton in opposite direction for same purpose. General Van Cleve, with the train, moved to Peeler's and met no enemy; General Palmer to Gilbert's,where he met some squads of the enemy and skirmished with him. After opening communication with General Van Cleve and General Wood, moved the whole command to Gordon's Mills, Colonel Wilder also coming in after night, having had a severe skirmish during the day near Leet's Tan-yard, and losing 30 men killed and wounded.
September 13.-In the morning the Fourth U. S. Cavalry, 650 strong, reported to me for duty. The three divisions were put into position for defense. General Cruft and Colonel Wilder sent out to reconnoiter on the left, Fourth Cavalry on the right to McLemore's Cove, and General Van Cleve to the front and center on La Fayette road. The latter only found the enemy (cavalry with artillery), who retired skirmishing a distance of 3 miles, when the brigade was halted, and soon after returned to camp. In this skirmish Captain Drury,chief of artillery, Third Division, was severely wounded. At 2.30 p.m. received your two dispatches of 12.20 and 12.25 p.m., respectively, former ordering me to post General Wood in a strong defensible position at Gordon's Mills for him to resist stoutly the enemy's advance, and in case of extremity, and if Granger's force (a division of infantry) has not arrived at Chattanooga so as to support Wood at Rossville, and he (Wood) should be compelled to fall back farther, he must take his position at a point guarding the road to Chattanooga and around the point of Lookout Mountain, and hold them at all hazards. To move the balance of my command during the evening and night to a position on Missionary Ridge so as to cover