in force, and accordingly ordered that I should make such a reconnaissance without loss of time. I accordingly commenced at once to make my preparations for making the reconnaissance, and actually made it at the earliest possible moment compatible with the safety of my command and the assurance of the success of the reconnaissance itself.
As the results of the reconnaissance have hitherto been reported, I will not recapitulate them. After taking the necessary precautions to insure, as far as possible, the safety of the command to be engaged in the reconnaissance and the success of the reconnaissance, I committed the conduct of it to that gallant and accomplished officer, Colonel Harker, commanding the Third Brigade of my division. I instructed him to proceed with the utmost circumspection, but to force his command as near to the enemy's position as he might deem prudent.
This point I was, of course, compelled to submit to his judgment. It affords me the greatest satisfaction to record in a permanent official manner that Colonel Harker conducted the reconnaissance in exact conformity to my wishes and instructions. Securing well his flanks and rear from being assailed without timely notice, he drove his solid line to within some thousand yards of the enemy's batteries (and his line of skirmishers to within some 600 yards), whence twelve guns opened on him, and then drew off his command with the loss of but one man. I know no parallel in military history to this reconnaissance. My command being much jaded and worn by the labors of the several preceding days, I allowed it to rest during the 8th, but I was on the alert to gain information of the movements and designs of the enemy. Near nightfall I obtained some information which led me to suspect the enemy was evacuating Chattanooga, but the indications were by no means positive. With a view to verify, this information, I addressed a note to the corps commander, informing him that I had observed some mysterious indications on the part of the enemy, of which I proposed to compel a development by a reconnaissance in force early next morning. During the night I received a reply to my note, saying the corps commander could not approve the making of the reconnaissance on account of some indications of a general movement of the army, but that he would refer the note to the commanding general. Confidently believing the commanding general would approve my proposition to make the reconnaissance, I held my command in readiness for the movement. In the meantime General Wagner, having with him the Second Brigade of my division, had received information on the north side of the river that the enemy was evacuating Chattanooga. The information having been communicated to the commanding general of the army, an order was dispatched to me to move command to Chattanooga, prepared for a vigorous pursuit of the enemy.
This agreeable order was joyfully obeyed, and in a very few minutes my command was in rapid motion. Between my late camp in Lookout Mountain Valley and the spur of the mountain my command was overtaken by the Ninety-second Illinois Mounted Infantry, commanded by Colonel Atkins, who informed me he had been ordered to press forward to Chattanooga with all haste, to secure any property the enemy might have left behind, and to discover something of his lines of retreat. I allowed his regiment to pass my command but on the spur of the mountain I overtook the regiment, halted, when the colonel informed me that the enemy's skirmishers