commanding First Brigade, First Division, Twentieth Army Corps, on the 18th instant:
On the 19th instant, I received your order to march, and at daylight next day, with 400 sick and 4 prisoners of war (commissioned officers), I took up my line of march to Stevens' Gap. On arriving at that place I received a second order from you, dated battle-field, Crawfish Spring, September 19, directing me to bring forward my whole command that night, excepting one battalion to be left at Stevens' Gap; also to bring forward the Second East Tennessee Cavalry then at that place. The Second East Tennessee Cavalry had left in the morning, just before my arrival.
To comply with your order, I left one battalion of the Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, under command of Major Cheek, to remain and hold the gap at all hazards.
I left the foot of the mountain near Stevens' Gap and took the main road to Crawfish Spring. About 3 miles from the gap I struck a small picket-post of the enemy, who fled after firing their guns. When within 3 miles of Crawfish Spring, I came across another picket post, which I drove in. I then drew up the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Kentucky Cavalry in line of battle, parked the train and sent 20 men, under command of Lieutenant Joseph A. Cowell, Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, to Crawfish Spring to ascertain the position of the Federal army. In an hour he returned and reported the spring in possession of the rebels. I forthwith pressed a guide and crossed overt to the Chattanooga road, the distance across being 4 miles.
On reaching the main road I halted to let the train close up. While in this position, Captain James O'Donnell, Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, reported to me that the rebels were advancing down upon us in three columns.
I immediately ordered the train around in the direction of Cooper's Gap, and ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Hoblitzell to take his regiment (Fifth Kentucky Cavalry) to the gap, some 4 miles distant, to cover the retreat.
I then took the Fourth and Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, about 400 in number, and proceeded to meet the enemy. About 1 1/4 miles I came up with the enemy's skirmishers. I then placed the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry (Major Gratz commanding) in line on the left of the road, and the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry (Colonel Cooper commanding) on the right. The two regiments now commenced falling back slowly under cover of their skirmishers, when the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry formed across the road at Lookout Church, and the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry passed on, but being flanked on both sides by overwhelming numbers, the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry was compelled to fall back slowly, fighting with desperation, and rallied on the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, when the two regiments combined held the enemy in check for fully twenty minutes. Then they were again flanked.
Now commenced a running fight, but the wagons (as they only got as far as the foot of the mountain) blockaded the road and threw all into confusion. All efforts of the officers to form and rally the men proved only partially successful; enough so to keep the main column of the enemy from advancing too rapidly.
As I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Hoblitzell to cover the retreat, I expected to find his regiment formed at the foot of the mountain, which would have effectually checked the enemy and saved the whole brigade; but I discovered that he had retreated through Cooper's Gap at a very rapid rate. Here the enemy's column, flanking on