assumed command of the column, Brigadier-General Johnson resuming his improvised division of three brigades.
Alexander's Bridge was hotly contested and finally broken up by the enemy just as General Walker secured possession. He moved down stream, however, a short distance, and crossed, as directed, at Byram's Ford, and thus secured a junction with Hood after night.
The movement was resumed at daylight on the 19th, and Buckner's corps, with Cheatham's division, of Polk's, had crossed and formed, when a brisk engagement commenced with our cavalry under Forrest on the extreme right about 9 o'clock. A brigade from Walker was ordered to Forrest's support, and soon after Walker ordered to attack with his whole force. Our line was now formed, with Buckner's left resting on the Chickamauga about 1 mile below Lee and Gordon's Mills. On his right came Hood with his own and Johnson's divisions, with Walker on the extreme right, Cheatham's division being in reserve, the general direction being a little east of north. The attack ordered by our right was made by General Walker in his usual gallant style, and soon developed a largely superior force opposed. He drove them handsomely, however, and captured several batteries of artillery in most gallant charges. Before Cheatham's division, ordered to his support, could reach him, he had been pressed back to his first position by the extended lines of the enemy assailing him on both flanks. The two commands united were soon enabled to force the enemy back again and recover our advantage, though we were yet greatly outnumbered.
These movements on our right were in a direction to leave an opening in our line between Cheatham and Hood. Stewart's division, forming Buckner's second line, was thrown to the right to fill this, and it soon became hotly engaged, as did Hood's whole front.
The enemy, whose left was at Lee and Gordon's Mills when our movement commenced, had rapidly transferred forces from his extreme right, changing his entire line, and seemed disposed to dispute with all his ability our effort to gain the main road to Chattanooga, in his rear. Lieutenant-General Polk was ordered to move his remaining division across at the nearest ford, and to assume the command in person on our right. Hill's corps was also ordered to cross below Lee and Gordon's Mills and join the line on the right. While these movements were being made, our right and center were heavily and almost constantly engaged. Stewart, by a vigorous assault, broke the enemy's center and penetrated far into his lines, but was obliged to retire for want of sufficient force to meet the heavy enfilade fire which he encountered from the right. Hood, later engaged, advanced from the first fire, and continued to drive the force in his front until night. Cleburne's division, of Hill's corps, which first reached the right, was ordered to attack immediately in conjunction with the force already engaged. This veteran command, under its gallant chief, moved to its work after sunset, taking the enemy completely by surprise, driving him in great disorder for nearly a mile, and inflicting a very heavy loss.
Night found us masters of the ground, after a series of very obstinate contests with largely superior numbers. From captured prisoners and others we learned with certainty that we had encountered the enemy's whole force, which had been moving day and night since they first ascertained the direction of our march. Orders had been given for the rapid march to the field of all re-enforcements arriving by railroad, and three additional brigades from this source