my own brigade of infantry, Minty's brigade of cavalry, and Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry-in all, between 6,000 and 7,000 men- with orders to keep these forces well in hand, to closely watch the movements of the enemy at all the crossing of the Tennessee River, to make such dispositions of the forces as should lead the enemy to believe that the valley was occupied by a large force, and to cross ourselves and occupy Chattanooga at the earliest opportunity. The forces were scattered from Kingston to Williams' Island a distance of 75 miles, watching the entire line of the river for this distance, and guarding at least twenty ferries and fords. I at once visited in person the entire length of the line, making such dispositions as I thought best for carrying out the design of the command, withdrawing as much as possible the left of the line, and giving orders for the construction of boats in the North Chickamauga to be floated down and used for crossing when needed at the mouth of that stream.
Troops were made to appear simultaneously at three or four different crossings, and, by ingeniously arranging their camp fires and beating their calls and the dexterous use of artillery, were made to represent a division of troops at each place.
The object designed was fully attained. I also placed all heavy stores on Walden's Ridge, and as the enemy threatened to cross his cavalry in heavy force, made preparations to receive him, and, failing to destroy him, to drive up the valley beyond Pikeville, where he could be met by General Burnside. A battery and two regiments of infantry were placed opposite Chattanooga, and the enemy at that point annoyed and two of his boats disabled. I also established communication by signal between all the crossings near me and my headquarters.
On the 2nd, the enemy burned to the Loudon Bridge, and Buckner's corps commenced moving slowly down the river, making strong demonstration upon its banks as if to cross at several places. They moved on Tyner's Station, reaching that point on the 6th and 7th, followed by a heavy cavalry force that took the place of the infantry on the river as they were relieved, and, from their numbers, Colonel Minty reported that indications made it pretty certain that a crossing was about to be attempted. At the same time, the pontoon bridge of the enemy was moved at Chattanooga as if to cross over troops at that point.
All the crossing were closely watched, and the troops held in readiness for any movement.
On the 8th, the river was cleared of all rebel troops above Chattanooga, and I directed Minty to cross over at the mouth of Sale Creek, reconnoitering the country well in his front, and move cautiously down to Harrison, always controlling one of the fords near him so as to cross back if it should be found necessary.
Before the order could be obeyed, a heavy cavalry force confronted him on the opposite side of the river and the crossing was not attempted. On that night, however, they all retired from above Friar's Island, and at 11 a.m., the 9th, from their works opposite that island.
The city of Chattanooga was also evacuated the same morning, and the troops of General Wagner crossed over and occupied the city, a portion of Wilder's force crossing at Friar's Island, reconnoitering thoroughly the country opposite and toward Chattanooga.
Colonel Minty was at once ordered down to cross and report to Colonel Wilder, while all the troops not already over, were, on the night of the 9th, concentrated at Friar's Island, and on the morning.