standing of the movements of both armies. The positions of the troops on the field are given mostly from the sketches of their respective commanders. The times selected for indication were the morning of the 19th, when the action commenced; the morning of the 20th, and the evening of the 20th at the close of the operations.
There has been much delay in rendering some of the subordinate reports, and none have been received from Lieutenant-Generals Polk and Hill,* and only two from brigades in Longstreet's corps. The absence of these has caused a delay in making up my own, and induced me to defer forwarding the others, hoping that all might be submitted together.
For the many deeds of daring and acts of heroic devotion exhibited on this field reference is made to the subordinate reports. It will be remarked that the private soldier is eminently distinguished, as he always will be in an army where the rank and file is made up of the best citizens of the country.
The medical officers, both in the field and in the hospitals, earned the lasting gratitude of the soldier and deserve the highest commendation. The great number of wounded thrown suddenly upon their hands taxed every energy and every faculty. With means greatly inadequate, especially in transportation, they soon reduced confusion into order, and by assiduity and skill afforded to the gallant sufferers that temporal relief for which they might look in vain to any other source. In this connection it is a pleasing duty to acknowledge in grateful terms the deep indebtedness of the army to the hospital relief associations, which so promptly and so generously pressed forward their much needed assistance. Under the admirable management of their officers in Atlanta we were soon furnished with every necessary and comfort, and stores continued to arrive until notice was given that our wants were all supplied.
The officers of my staff, personal and general, served me on this field and on the arduous marches preceding with their usual zeal, intelligence, and gallantry.
The whole cavalry force having been dispatched to press the enemy and cut off detachments, orders were given for the army to move to a point near the railroad and convenient to water, still interposing between the enemy and our large number of wounded our trophies and our wounded prisoners, whose removal from the field occupied many days.
Our supplies of all kinds were greatly reduced, the railroad having been constantly occupied in transporting troops, prisoners, and our wounded, and the bridges having been destroyed to a point 2 miles south of Ringgold. These supplies were ordered replenished, and as soon as it was seen that we could be subsisted the army was moved forward to seize and hold the only communication the enemy had with his supplies in the rear. His most important road and the shortest by half to his depot at Bridgeport lay along the south bank of the Tennessee. The holding of this all-important route was confided to Lieutenant-General Longstreet's command, and its possession forced the enemy to a road double the length, over two ranges of mountains, by wagon transportation. At the same time our cavalry, in large force, was thrown across the river to operate on this long and difficult route. These dispositions faithfully sustained insured the enemy's speedy evacuation of Chattanooga for want of
*See note to Hill's report. p. 147.