joined us early next morning. The remaining forces on our extreme left, east of the Chickamauga, had been ordered up early in the afternoon, but reached the field too late to participate in the engagement of that day. They were ordered into line on their arrival, and disposed for a renewal of the action early the next morning. Information was received from Lieutenant-General Longstreet of his arrival at Ringgold and departure for the field. Five small brigades of his corps (about 5,000 effective infantry, no artillery) reached us in time to participate in the action, three of them on the 19th and two more on the 20th.
Upon the close of the engagement on the evening of the 19th, the proper commanders were summoned to my camp fire, and there received specific information and instructions touching the dispositions of the troops and for the operations of the next morning. The whole force was divided for the next morning into two commands and assigned to the two senior lieutenant-generals, Longstreet and Polk-the former to the left, where all his own troops were stationed, the latter continuing his command of the right. Lieutenant-General Longstreet reached my headquarters about 11 p. m., and immediately received his instructions. After a few hours' rest at my camp fire he moved at daylight to his line, just in front of my position.
Lieutenant-General Polk was ordered to assail the enemy on our extreme right at day-dawn on the 20th, and to take up the attack in succession rapidly to the left. The left wing was to await the attack by the right, take it up promptly when made, and the whole line was then to be pushed vigorously and persistently against the enemy throughout its extent.
Before the dawn of day myself and staff were ready for the saddle, occupying a position immediately in rear of and accessible to all waited until after sunrise without hearing a gun, and at length dispatched a staff officer to Lieutenant-General Polk to ascertain the cause of the delay and urge him to a prompt and speedy movement. This officer, not finding the general with his troops, and learning where he had spent the night, proceeded across Alexander's Bridge to the east side of the Chickamauga and there delivered my message.
Proceeding in person to the right wing, I found the troops not even prepared for the movement. Messengers were immediately dispatched for Lieutenant-General Polk, and he shortly after joined me. My orders were renewed, and the general was urged to their prompt execution, the more important as the ear was saluted throughout the night with the sounds of the ax and falling timber as the enemy industriously labored to strengthen his position by hastily constructed barricades and breastworks. A reconnaissance made in the front of our extreme right during this delay crossed the main road to Chattanooga and proved the important fact that this greatly desired position was open to our possession.
The reasons assigned for this unfortunate delay by the wing commander appear in part in the reports of his subordinates. It is sufficient to say they are entirely unsatisfactory. It also appears from these reports that when the action was opened on the right about 10 a. m. the troops were moved to the assault in detail and by detachments, unsupported, until nearly all parts of the right wing were in turn repulsed with heavy losses.
Our troops were led with the greatest gallantry and exhibited great coolness, bravery, and heroic devotion. In no instance did they fail
3 R R-VOI XXX, PT II