take command. I told him no, that he was doing good service; and I directed him to hold his position and let the artillery, wagons, &c., pass and then follow on, covering the rear.
About this time I learned the general commanding had not been captured, but that he had gone to Chattanooga. I rode to Rossvile where I expected to find some troops and to learn something of the locality of the main army, and its condition, but finding no one who could give me any information, I rode to Chattanooga where I found the general commanding the department,and reported briefly to him.
The general commanding having ordered the army to withdraw to Rossville, directed me to report to Major-General Thomas at that place for orders. I rode that night to Rossville, reported to General Thomas, and early in the morning of the 21st, placed the two divisions of my command which were at this place (General Palmer's and Wood's) in the position assigned them. General Van Cleve, having collected about 1,200 of his men, sent me word that he was encamped a few miles distant on the road leading from Chattanooga to Bridgeport, and that he had received orders from the general commanding the army. The enemy made some demonstrations during this day on my front, which covered the road leading from Ringgold to Rossville, but was easily made to keep a respectful distance; and after night, in obedience to orders, my command withdrew so quietly to Chattanooga that our own pickets were not aware of the movement.
General W. C. Whitaker had reported to me on this day with two brigades, and occupied the extreme left of my line. His were the last troops to withdraw, and I remained until he moved away with his command. On reaching Chattanooga I was assigned to the position I now hold.
It is a source of much regret to me that circumstances made it impossible, with any regard to the interests of the service, for my corps to act as a unit in these battles. The pride of the corps was such, that I think its attack would have been irresistible; and an attack upon it, fatal to the enemy. But the great object of the battle was obtained: We foiled the enemy in his attempt to reoccupy Chattanooga; we hold the prize for which the campaign was made, and if nothing has been added tot he fame of the corps, it is only because its noble blood has been shed in detachments on every part of the field where an enemy was to be encountered, instead of flowing together as at Stone's River. The people will look with hissing and scorn upon the traducers of this corps when they learn with what stubborn bravery it poured out its blood in their cause.
The Army of the Cumberland matched itself against one army, and for two days we disputed the field with three veteran armies, and then, unmolested by them, were moved to the coveted place, which we now hold and where they have not ventured to assail us.
The conduct of the various detachments from the Twenty-first Army Corps in these battles fully sustains their reputation.
With pride I point to the services of Major-General Palmer and his splendid division. Starting from Gordon's or Lee's Mills, they fought their was to General Thomas, and participated in all of the terrible struggles in that part of the field, and when ordered to withdraw came off with music and their banners flying. Such was the conduct of this part of my command, all of which has been published to the country as having "disgracefully fled from the field." With pride I call attention to the distinguished services of Brigadier-General