Thus prepared we marched against the enemy at Shelbyville, Tenn., who declined battle and precipitately retreated to the south side of the Tennessee River. In the skirmishing that took place at this time our corps scarcely fired a gun. The army then halting for several weeks it became necessary for us to establish hospitals for the temporary care of sick at Manchester and McMinnville, which was done by your order. Hospitals to accommodate 250 patients were established at these points, and requisitions were made upon my corps reserve supplies for this purpose.
Finally, on the 16th of August, we took up our line of march to Chattanooga, and crossed the Tennessee River at Shellmound on the 4th and 5th of September, and occupied Chattanooga on the 9th with but little skirmishing. Immediately upon arriving at this place I examined the hospital accommodation it afforded, a report of which I made to you at the time.
Our corps was ordered to make immediate pursuit and skirmished daily with the enemy with a total loss of 40 wounded besides the killed until Saturday, the 19th of September, when the battle opened in earnest.
The day previous to the battle the most favorable sites were selected for our division field hospitals. They were selected within 1 1/2 miles of Crawfish Spring, which was the only accessible water, and with a view to the possibility of retreat were placed upon roads that led to the rear across Missionary Ridge to Chattanooga Valley. These points were directly in the rear of our line of battle in the morning, but as the battle seemed to be tending to the left, about noon I received an order from the medical director of the department to remove my hospitals in that direction, which order was subsequently countermanded. Accordingly they were restored to their original position, and during the day and night about 1,200 wounded were received into these hospitals.
On Sunday morning, the 20th September, I directed my corps purveyor to issue his supplies equally to each of the three hospitals to be used at the discretion of the surgeons in charge. Toward noon it was discovered that the wounded ceased to come in and that our communication was cut off with the army. The Cavalry Corps only remained, which had been posted for the protection of the hospitals and the right flank of our line of battle. At about 2 p.m. it became apparent that we were finally separated from our forces, and that the cavalry was being slowly forced back upon us. I then gave the order to remove the hospital over the ridge to Chattanooga Valley. Upon arriving there I discovered that it was not prudent to stop short of Chattanooga, at which place all arrived in the course of the succeeding night. The enemy, I have since learned, were in possession of the ground occupied by our hospitals within a few minutes after we had left.
Every means of transportation was seized upon to carry away our wounded, and but about 200 were left behind. Fourteen medical officers of the corps were detailed to remain and attend to these and to the wounded left upon the field, and a liberal supply of hospital stores was left for their use, besides a number of hospital tents, which it was impossible to bring away.
On Monday morning, by direction of the medical director of the department I assisted in the selection of a safe point beyond the Tennessee River for a general field depot for the wounded, which was placed under the charge of W. W. Blair, chief surgeon of the First