General Rosecrans "made several observations in approval of the position." (Morton's testimony.)
Now, admitting the general-in-chief debated some of the positions with me; that he suggested a change in one place; that he answered my objections to his suggestions, and gave replies to the reasons urged for the positions chosen, it is enough to say that he rode the lines; that he saw the positions; it was his to order, it was mine to obey. Nor is it quite accurate to say that "General McCook was not expected to cover any particular portion of the ground, unless he could do so and at the same time maintain his connection with General Thomas." The order to General Crittenden most clearly indicates what McCook was expected to do; nay, commanded to do.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Widow Glenn's House, September 19, 1863-11.20 p.m.*
GENERAL: The general commanding directs me to inform you that General McCook has been ordered to hold this gap to-morrow, covering the Dry Valley road, his right resting near this place his left connecting with General Thomas' right.
The general places your corps in reserve to-morrow, and directs you to post in on the eastern slope of Missionary Ridge, to support McCook or Thomas. Leave the grand guards from your command out, with instructions to hold their ground until driven in, then to retire slowly, contesting the ground stubbornly.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. GARFIELD,
Brigadier-General, and Chief of Staff.
But whatever may have been the merits or demerits of the position selected, it is idle to discuss them, for they were not proved by battle, but were changed in respects most vital to their security. Let us inquire how the plan of battle changed.
My proper command was the Twentieth Corps, consisting of Johnson's, Sheridan's and Davis' divisions, and to these were added all the cavalry - a formidable force, truly; with it the right should have been made secure; and for the employment of this force, by all men who have not carefully studied the battle, I am held responsible. How much I had actually present to engage will be shown in a little while.
General Thomas had his own four divisions, and to strengthen him Johnson's, of McCook's, by far his strongest, and Palmer, of Crittenden's, the strongest of that corps, had been sent the day before, and fought upon his left throughout the day. Crittenden's remaining divisions wee to be in reserve, " and ready to support either Thomas or McCook."
I had in line two brigades of Sheridan's, with Laiboldt's brigade in reserve, to support that line, and two brigades of Davis to the left and rear of Sheridan; the other brigade of Davis had been left to hold Stevens' Gap and support the cavalry when the army advanced from Pond Spring.
Colonel Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry extended Sheridan's right, but the rest of the cavalry was not available, the general commanding it, from a misconception of General Rosecrans' orders, having declined to obey the orders given by me.
After daylight the unmistakable tokens of battle manifested themselves on the left; the calls for assistance begin, and the commands to re-enforce follow promptly. Just as the fought begins to lift, Negley is ordered out of line and moves to the left. The reserve is at once
*See same dispatch, p.69 where the hour is given as 10.20 p.m. The language of the two dispatches also differs in some respects.