follow me. I was then separated from my supplies and had with me but one day's rations. I determined, therefore, to make a short march on that day, with the hope that the supply train would reach me during the night. Accordingly, I marched to Pea Vine Creek, within 5 miles of ringgold, and halted. Upon reaching this point, a small mounted force of the enemy was seen in front, and Captain Norton, an officer of great firmness and experience, was sent forward with my personal escort, and a small detachment of cavalry (Fourth Michigan), to drive them off. This small party attacked with great spirit, drove the enemy a mile, and as it was quite obvious that the parties of the enemy near were numerous and comparatively strong, it rejoined the column.
A few minutes after the return of our cavalry, a force of the enemy, under cover of a cloud of dust, charged the advance guard (four companies, First Kentucky) at full speed, threw it in confusion, and captured 2 officers and 56 enlisted men. The pressure of other duties has prevented a full investigation of this unfortunate affair. None of the excuses yet tendered are satisfactory to me. I will, for that reason, as soon as time will allow, bring the officers responsible to trial for what seems to me gross negligence in the performance of their important duties. It is due to the regiment and all its officers that I should say that on all subsequent occasions during the late operations, all behaved most creditably.
The five days' rations required by the order of the 10th reached me during the night, and at 6 o'clock next morning the march was resumed by the way of Graysville in charge of the baggage of my own and Van Cleve's division, he having taken the more direct route to Ringgold over the hills. At Graysville, Hazen's brigade united with the division, and the whole move to Ringgold and bivouacked that night.
It was apparent on the 10th instant that the enemy were numerous on our front and right, but were rapidly drifting south.
On the 11th, Colonel Wilder, supported by Van Cleve, pushed a large cavalry force through Ringgold in the direction of Dalton. Reports from a hundred sources, citizens, deserters, &c., all pointed to Rome, Ga., as the point fixed for the concentration of the whole rebel army.
At 6 o'clock on the morning of the 12th of September, in pursuance of orders received during the previous night, I marched in the direction of Gordon's Mills, by the way of Gilbert's, on Pea Vine Creek. Upon reaching the road on Pea Vine citizens gave the information that a heavy cavalry force of the rebels has passed down toward La Fayette in the course of the night. The bridge was cut down and the ford blocked, and signs of the recent passage of retreating troops abundant.
In accordance with the orders of the general commanding the corps, before referred to, my command was halted at the junction of the Gordon's Mills road with the La Fayette road for several hours to cover the march of Van Cleve's division, which had crossed the Pea Vine Valley lower down in charge of the transportation.
A few troops of the enemy down in charge seen watching our movements. About 1 o'clock it was reported to me that firing was heard toward Gordon's Mills. I pushed Hazen forward to learn the cause and effect a junction with our forces at the mills. This he did with but little trouble. About 2 o'clock I sent a portion of Cruft's brigade up the valley toward Pea Vine Church to clear that flank of the