Division, Twenty-first Army Corps, to move my brigade and make a reconnaissance toward La Fayette, Ga., in obedience to orders received from department headquarters, of which the following is an extract:
The general commanding directs you to move immediately a brigade and battery back to Rossville, and post it in advance of the pass so as to command the La Fayette road, and in the morning to make a reconnaissance out no the La Fayette road far enough to ascertain whether there be any force threatening our communication.
I understood that I was expected to return to the gap at Rossville and await further orders. At 5.30 a.m. I left camp for Rossville with my brigade, consisting of the Sixty-fourth, Sixty-fifth, and One hundred and twenty-fifth Ohio, and Third Kentucky Regiments of Infantry, and the Sixth Ohio (Independent) Battery. About 2 miles from camp my flankers discovered 2 or 3 of the enemy's cavalry on my left flank, evidently a small scouting party. Arriving at the gap in Missionary Ridge, on the Rossville and La Fayette road, via Gordon's Mills, I left my train and caissons in a secure position on the western slope of the ridge with a guard of two companies, and placed four pieces of artillery in position to command the gap from the southeast. These pieces were supported by a regiment of infantry, under command of Colonel Opdycke, One hundred and twenty-fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteers. This force was intended to hold the gap and cover my retreat in my front. I had proceeded about three-fourths of a mile from the gap when my advance encountered a small number of the enemy's cavalry, which retreated rapidly before my skirmishers. The skirmishing was light until I had proceeded about 3 miles from the gap, when it became more spirited, the enemy resisting with dismounted cavalry supporting two pieces of artillery, which opened upon my advance. They were soon driven form their position, and my advances resumed.
While presenting a large front of skirmishers, I kept the main body of my command well to the right until arriving at the vicinity of the gap in Missionary Ridge, through which the Rossville and La Fayette road, via Couch's, passes. This disposition, while it secured my right flank, enabled me, from prominent points, to observe the country to my left, and in case of encountering a superior force to fall back along the ridge. Near Cloud's Store, about 3 1/2 miles from Rossville, a private of the enemy's cavalry fell in our hands, mortally wounded. He reported himself as belonging to the Third Arkansas Regiment, of Armstrong's brigade, Forrest's division. He stated that two brigades were in my front-Armstrong's and another brigade made up of detached battalions-that this force was covering a large infantry force in the vicinity of Gordon's or Lee's Mills. As this man was in a dying condition, I attached much importance to his information. This information was but a corroboration of the statement made by a contraband captured by my command the evening previous, and which was taken by me to the general commanding the division. My movements were therefore made with great caution, in order to prevent a sudden encounter with a superior force. I reconnoitered carefully every eminence near my line of march, and changed successively the position of my command from right to left, in order best to secure with safety the object of my mission.
After passing that portion of Missionary Ridge between Rossville