of its commander, stating his resources and ability for defense, favorably indorsed by Major-General Buckner, the orders were suspended on August 31. The main body of our army was encamped near Chattanooga, while the cavalry force, much reduced and enfeebled by long service on short rations, was recruiting in the vicinity of Rome, Ga.
Immediately after crossing the mountains to the Tennessee the enemy threw a corps by way of Sequatchie Valley, to strike the rear of General Buckner's command, while Burnside occupied him in front. One division already ordered to his assistance proving insufficient to meet the force concentrating on him, Buckner was directed to withdraw to the Hiwassee with his infantry, artillery, and supplies, and to hold his cavalry in front to check the enemy's advance. As soon as this change was made the corps threatening his rear was withdrawn, and the enemy commenced a movement in force against our left and rear.
On the last of August, it became known that he had crossed his main force over the Tennessee River at and near Caperton's Ferry, the most accessible point from Stevenson. By a direct route he was now as near our main depot of supplies as we were, and our whole line of communication was exposed, while his was partially secured by mountains and the river. By the timely arrival of two small divisions from Mississippi our effective force, exclusive of cavalry, was now a little over 35,000, with which if was determined to strike on the first favorable opportunity.
Closely watched by our cavalry, which had been brought forward, it was soon ascertained that the enemy's general movement was toward our left and rear in the direction of Dalton and Rome, keeping Lookout Mountain between us. The nature of the country and the want of supplies in it, with the presence of Burnside's force on our right, rendered a movement on the enemy's rear with our inferior force extremely hazardous, if not impracticable. It was therefore determined to meet him in front whenever he should emerge from the mountain gorges. To do this and hold Chattanooga was impossible without such a division of our small force as to endanger both parts.
Accordingly our troops were put in motion on September 7 and 8, and took position from Lee and Gordon's Mills to La Fayette, on the road leading south from Chattanooga and fronting the east slope of Lookout Mountain. The forces on the Hiwassee and at Chickamauga Station took the route by Ringgold. A small cavalry force was left in observation at Chattanooga, and a brigade of infantry, strongly supported by cavalry, was left at Ringgold to hold the railroad and protect it from raids.
As soon as our movement was known to the enemy his corps nearest Chattanooga, and which had been threatening Buckner's rear, was thrown into that place, and shortly thereafter commenced to move on our rear by the two roads to La Fayette and Ringgold. Two other corps were now in Will's Valley-one nearly opposite the head of McLemore's Cove (a valley formed by Lookout Mountain and a spur of the main range, called Pegeon Mountain) and the other at or near Colonel Winston's, opposite Alpine.
During the 9th it was ascertained that a column, estimated at from 4,000 to 8,000, had crossed Lookout Mountain into the cove by way of Stevens' and Cooper's Gaps. Thrown off his guard by our rapid movement, apparently in retreat, when in reality we had concen-