route, to the Rossville and La Fayette road to support Colonel Harker. Near the same hour I received a note from Colonel Harker, informing me that he had been driving the enemy all day and had arrived within 3 miles of Gordon's Mills.
I immediately sent him an order to press forward to the mills, and informing him that I would make a junction with him during the evening. The junction was made and fortunately, for Harker had been driving his little brigade all day against a vastly superior force, the rear guard of the enemy's great army. A full report of this brilliant and dangerous reconnaissance has been already made, and it is not now necessary that I should say more than that it was superbly made. When I arrived at Gordon's Mills, at 8.30 p.m. of the 11th, the enemy's camp fires could be distinctly seen on the other side of the creek. Their light, reflected over a wide section of the horizon, and, extending upward on the heavens, told that the foe was present in considerable force.
It was my intention to continue the pursuit early next morning, the 12th, but till 8 a.m. the atmosphere was so loaded with haze, fog, and smoke that it was difficult to see a hundred yards in advance. While I was waiting for the atmosphere to become sufficiently clear to continue the pursuit I received an order to remain at Gordon's Mills till the corps commander arrived there with the other two divisions of the corps. This was done during the afternoon of the 12th. My two brigades remained quiet during the 13th, enjoying much-needed rest.
During the evening of the 13th a copy of a letter of instructions from the commanding general to the corps commander was furnished me by the latter, in which he was directed to leave my command at Gordon's Mills and proceed with the other two divisions to a position on Missionary Ridge, with a view of facilitating the concentration with the other corps of the army. My orders directed me to try stoutly to maintain the position at Gordon's Mills, but if attacked by a superior force, to fall back slowly, resisting stoutly, to Rossville where it was supposed I would be supported by Major-General Granger's force. In case of extremity, and in case also I should not be supported by General Granger at Rossville, I was directed to select a position guarding the roads leading to Chattanooga and around the point of Lookout Mountain, and hold them at all hazards.
Resolved to make the most stubborn resistance at Gordon's Mills, I took advantage of the creek, a very strong defensible feature in the position, and barricaded my entire front and flanks strongly. So strengthened, I could have successfully resisted a front attack of a vastly superior force. With the exception of an occasional firing on my pickets, the enemy left me undisturbed at Gordon's Mills till between 11 a.m. and 12 m. of Friday,the 18th instant. A rapid advance of his light troops, supported by troops in a solid line, on my right front drove in my pickets as far as the creek but no effort was made to pass the stream. Such an attempt would have been foiled and cost the enemy dearly.
At about 1 p.m. a force, apparently about a brigade of four regiments emerged from the wood on the southern side of the creek, nearly opposite the center of my position, apparently with the intention of forcing a passage at the ford near the mills. A few welldirected shots from Bradley's battery soon forced him to relinquish this design and seek the shelter of the woods. The enemy continued