War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0030 Chapter XIII. KY.,SW.VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA.

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About the middle of the afternoon the first gun was heard, when the advance of Cleburne's division discovered the enemy had taken advantage of our delay and retreated to the mountain passes. The withdrawing his corps from the direction of Alpine to unite with the one near McLemore's Cove, while that was gradually extended toward Lee and Gordon's Mills.

Our movement having thus failed in its justly anticipated results, it was determined to turn upon the third corps of the enemy, approaching us from the direction of Chattanooga. The forces were accordingly withdrawn to La Fayette, and Polk's and Walker's corps were moved immediately in the direction of Lee and Gordon's Mills. The one corps of the enemy in this direction was known to be divided, one division having been sent to Ringgold. Upon learning the dispositions of the enemy from our cavalry commander in that direction, on the afternoon of the 12th Lieutenant-General Polk, commanding the advance forces, was directed in the following note to attack at daylight on the 13th:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,

La Fayette, Ga., September 12, [1863]-6 p. m.

Lieutenant-General POLK:

GENERAL: I inclose you a dispatch* from General Pegram. This presents you a fine opportunity of striking Crittenden in detail, and I hope you will avail yourself of it at daylight tomorrow. This division crushed, and the others are yours. We can then turn again on the force in the cove. Wheeler's cavalry will move on Wilder, so as to cover your right. I shall be delighted to hear of your success.

BRAXTON BRAGG.

Upon further information, the order was renewed in two notes at later hours of the same day, as follows:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,

La Fayette, September 12, 1863-8 p. m.

Lieutenant-General POLK,

Commanding Corps:

GENERAL: I inclose you a dispatch, marked A,* and I now give you the orders of the commanding general, viz, to attack at day dawn tomorrow. The infantry column reported in said dispatch at three-quarters of a mile beyond Pea Vine Church, on the road to Graysville from La Fayette.

I am, general, &c.,

GEORGE WM. BRENT,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,

La Fayette, Ga, September 12, 1863.+

Lieutenant-General POLK,

Commanding Corps:

GENERAL: The enemy is approaching from the south, and it is highly important that your attack in the morning should be quick and decided. Let no time be lost.

I am, general, &c.,

GEORGE WM. BRENT,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

At 11 p. m. a dispatch was received from the general, stating that he had taken a strong position for defense, and requesting that he should be heavily re-enforced. He was promptly ordered not to defer his attack, his force being already numerically superior to the

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*Not found.

+Copy with Polk's records is dated September 13, 12.30 a. m. See p. 50.

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