to hover in my front during the whole afternoon, making however no serious attempts and accordingly I became reasonably satisfied that his demonstrations were only a mask to his real design, that of passing a heavy force across the creek lower down, with a view of turning our left and cutting off our communication with Chattanooga.
I communicated my opinion on this point to the commanding general at his headquarters during the evening of the 18th. It was verified by the opening of a terrific engagement on our left as early as 8.30 a.m. on the 19th. Troops had been moved to our left during the night of the 18th to meet the emergency. The battle continued throughout the forenoon and into the afternoon, but my command was left at Gordon's Mills until 3 p.m.
At this hour, I received a verbal order from the corps commander through one of his staff to move with my command and take position, as well as I now remember, on the right of some part of General Van Cleve's division. Throughout the entire preceding part of the day I had distinctly observed a considerable force in front of my position at Gordon's Mills, and just before I received the order to move into action a contraband came into my lines, from whom I learned that this force was the division of General Bushrod R. Johnson. Knowing it would pass the creek immediately I vacated my position, if it should not be occupied by some other troops, I dispatched one of my aides-de-camp to the commanding general, to inform him of the presence of this force in my front, and to suggest that at least a brigade should be sent to occupy the position as soon as I should vacate it. On his way to the headquarters of the commanding general my aide-de-camp encountered Major-General McCook, to whom he communicated the object of his mission to headquarters. General McCook immediately ordered a brigade from his corps to move into position at Gordon's Mills. My aide-de-camp rode on tho headquarters and reported what had been done to the commanding general, who approved the dispositions. No delay, however, had occurred on this account in the movement of my command from Gordon's Mills.
Immediately on the receipt of this order my command was put in rapid motion for the scene of the great conflict.
As already remarked, the order directed me to take position on the right of General Van Cleve' command, but as I was totally ignorant of his position in the battle and met no one on my arrival on the field to enlighten me, I found myself much embarrassed for the want of information whereby I could bring my command judiciously and effectively into action. It should be borne in mind that, many of the troops were engaged in the woods, and that it was next to impossible to gain information by sight of the arrangement of the troops already engaged. This information could only be given by general and staff officers, posted in advance to aid in bringing the troops arriving freshly on the ground into action properly. Fortunately, shortly after my arrival on the field I met General Davis, from whom I received some useful information in regard to the status of the conflict. From him I learned that his left brigade (Heg's) was sorely pressed and needed assistance. While I was in conference with him a staff officer informed him that Colonel Heg reported that he could not maintain his position, and at the same instant I saw a stream of fugitives pouring out of the woods, across the Rossville and La Fayette road and over the field to the west of it. These, I