War of the Rebellion: Serial 050 Page 0627 Chapter XLII. THE CHICKAMAUGA CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

the result of their observations to the rear. At the junction of the railways my command was about 2 to 2 1\2 miles from the enemy's advanced works, but the outposts and pickets were much nearer to each other; in fact, in hearing distance. As I was well aware that the enemy had been able to learn from his signal stations with very close approximate correctness the strength of my command, and hence would most probably be disposed to take advantage of my inferiority of force to attempt to crush me by a sudden blow, I immediately made the best possible dispositions to foil such an effort. In making these dispositions I soon became convinced of the utter untenableness of the position at the junction of the railways for an inferior force, to receive an attack from a superior one. The position is entirely open, capable of being assailed simultaneously in front, on both flanks, and in the rear. I was well satisfied that I was in the immediate proximity of a very large force of the enemy (which could be still further swelled in very short time). This information I had gained satisfactorily during my advance, and it was strengthened and corroborated during the afternoon and early evening of the 6th. At 2 p.m. I communicated to the corps commander my position, 7 miles from Chattanooga (being at the junction of the railway), informed him of my immediate proximity to the enemy, and attempted to describe briefly the obstacles which barred my farther progress to Chattanooga.

At 4 p.m. I communicated to him the result of further observations and some facts omitted in my note of 2 p.m. In my note of 2 p.m. I suggested that he should move part of the force immediately with him to cover my rear from a reverse attack. This he declined to do on the ground of a want of authority force, I would have to fall back on him by that road. I had already opened communication with him by that road. Not intending to retreat except as a matter of the last and direst extremity, and as the evidences continued to thicken and multiply during the evening, that I would be attacked in heavy force early next morning. I determined to shift my command a mile and a half to the rear, to a very strong and highly defensible position, in which I was satisfied I could maintain myself against almost any odds for a long time and if finally overpowered could draw off my command to the rear. From this position I could maintain my communication by the Trenton road with the force immediately with the corps commander.

The movement was commenced at 10 p.m., the 6th, and made with perfect success, though my pickets were at the time in hearing of the enemy's pickets. My command was thus safely extricated from immediate imminent danger. I learned satisfactorily during the afternoon of the 6th that the spur of Lookout Mountain was held by Cheatham's division, supported immediately in rear by Hindman's (late Withers') division, being the whole of Lieutenant-General Polk's corps. My two small brigades confronted this force.

About 8 a.m. in the morning of the 7th I received a copy of a communication addressed by the commanding general to the corps commander, saying that he thought it would be safe (judging from some indications he had obtained of the movements of the enemy) to threaten the enemy on the spur of Lookout Mountain with a part of my force. This communication the corps commander appears to have interpreted into an order to make a reconnaissance