and was there attached to General Steedman's command. The Eighty-ninth Regiment Ohio Infantry was also attached to the same command, having been sent to Bridgeport from Tracy City.
The difficulties to be overcome in forwarding and in concentrating these troops, and in bringing forward others to partially supply their place in so short a period, can only be appreciated when the large space of country over which they were scattered, the great distance from which relief had to come, and the necessity of leaving no point of communication exposed, is fully known.
On the 12th instant, McCook's brigade, with Barnett's battery, was pushed to Shellmound.
At 7 o'clock on the morning of the 13th instant, I started the following-mentioned forces, under the immediate command of Brigadier General James B. Steedman, on a forced march from Bridgeport, Ala., for Rossville, Ga., viz: the First Brigade, First Division, Reserve Corps, commanded by Brigadier-General Whitaker; Second Brigade, First Division, Reserve Corps, commanded by Colonel J. G. Mitchell; the Twenty-second Regiment Michigan Infantry, Eighty-ninth Regiment Ohio Infantry, Eighteenth Ohio Battery, and Company M, First Illinois Artillery, and at the same time I started Colonel McCook's command from Shellmound for the same place.
These forces arrived at Rossville, a distance of 35 miles from the place of starting, the next day at 10 a.m., having marched the whole distance through a suffocating dust and over a very rocky and mountainous road, on which it was exceedingly difficult for troops to travel.
I established my headquarters at Rossville, and there remained awaiting orders from the general commanding the Army of the Cumberland.
At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 17th instant, in accordance with orders that I had given him, General Steedman started from his camp at Rossville, with six regiments of infantry and a battery of artillery, for the purpose of making a reconnaissance in the direction of Ringgold. In this undertaking he met with no resistance from the enemy until within 2 miles of that place. Here he encountered the enemy's pickets, whom he drove rapidly across the East Chickamauga, following them one mile and a quarter. He then halted and planted a section of artillery, by the fire of which he soon drove the enemy, who appeared to be in force, out of and beyond the town. Having accomplished the object of the reconnaissance, and discovering large clouds of dust arising from the Tunnel Hill and La Fayette roads, and which were approaching his position, he deemed it prudent to return to Rossville, and at once marched back to within 8 miles of that place, where he halted for the night.
The enemy advanced and shelled his camp before midnight, but they fell back and disappeared before morning. At daylight he broke up camp, started back to Rossville, and arriving there at 1 p.m. of the same day.
At 4 p.m. on the 18th instant, I ordered Brigadier-General Whitaker to move at once with his brigade, and take possession of the crossing of the Chickamauga at Red House Bridge, and at the same time Colonel Daniel McCook was ordered to march to the support of Colonel Minty, who was disputing the crossing of the Chickamauga at Reed's Bridge with the enemy. Colonel McCook arrived within 1 mile of the bridge at dark, where he encountered the enemy, and with whom he had a slight skirmish, taking 22 prisoners.