Reports of Colonel Charles G. Harker, Sixty-fifth Ohio Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
HDQRS. 3rd BRIG., 1ST DIV., 21ST ARMY CORPS,
Camp on Trenton and Chattanooga Road, 1 1/2 miles from junction of Trenton Branch Railroad with Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, September 8, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor very respectfully to submit the following report of the reconnaissance made by my brigade in the direction of Chattanooga on yesterday, the 7th instant:
My command, consisting of four regiments of infantry, the One hundred and twenty-fifth, Sixty-fifth, and Sixty-fourth Ohio, and Third Kentucky, and two pieces of artillery, left the camp at 1 p.m. yesterday. My instructions from the general commanding the division were, in substance, as follows: To proceed in the direction of Chattanooga, feeling my way very carefully, and not to push my reconnaissance beyond the point where the wagon road crosses Lookout Creek, and not so far as that point if I should deem it unsafe, and to return to camp before nightfall.
After leaving our pickets I disposed of my force to the best of my judgment and advanced with great caution. About 300 yards beyond the junction of the Trenton Railroad with the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, I first encountered the enemy's vedettes, which retreated rapidly before our skirmishers. We soon after reached a thin line of the enemy's infantry skirmishers which were driven rapidly by our own.
The general width of the valley between the secondary ridges was about half a mile. My skirmishers covered this entire distance, and there was more or less skirmishing along the entire line.
At a point about three-quarters of a mile northeast of the Trenton and Chattanooga Railroad, there is a ford on Lookout Creek, and a road leading thence along Lookout Mountain to Chattanooga. Near this I left four companies in charge of a field officer to guard the crossing and keep me apprised of any movement upon my right. I also sent four companies in charge of a field officer to take a strong position on the Kelley's Ferry and Wauhatchie road to guard against any demonstration upon my left. I then marched on until my advance reached Parker's house. At this point a road from Kelley's Ferry comes into the main Trenton and Chattanooga road. From Parker's house there are two wagon roads to Chattanooga, the right
fork running north 65` east to the base of Lookout Mountain, the left fork running nearly due north until it intersects the main wagon road to Kelley's Ferry, about half a mile from Parker's house. This road then takes a winding northeasterly course toward the base of Lookout Mountain, crossing Lookout Creek at a brigade 1 mile from Parker's house and 4 miles from Chattanooga. I took the right fork.
When the most of my force had reached the vicinity of Parker's house,the enemy opened upon me with artillery located on the western slope of Lookout Mountain. The battery or batteries were estimated to be from 300 to 400 feet above the level of the railroad and about 1,100 yards from my main command, though my skirmishers were much nearer, having arrived at the crossing of Lookout Creek. I could not ascertain the number of his pieces, but from the extreme