One half of my wagon train has now passed Anderson's and the other is following rapidly. General Buckner's wagon train I found crossing my road on my arrival at Anderson's, going in the direction of his column. Thirty wagons, composing his supply train, seem to have been ordered to fall in and accompany my wagon train. These are now going toward La Fayette; all the rest of his train, by General Buckner's orders, are following his column. I take it for granted the commanding general has abandoned the intention mentioned to me to take it the other way.
Respectfully, colonel, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant Colonel GEORGE WILLIAM BRENT,
P. S.-My instructions are to remain here to protect Hindman unless pressed by the enemy. Supposing myself not to be pressed, how long am I to remain?
HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Rock Spring Church, September 12, 1863-8 p. m.
GENERAL: I arrived here as soon as I anticipated, and have just finished reconnoitering the ground on which my engineers and General Cheatham have formed my line of battle. I send you a sketch* of the ground. You will see there are three roads converging on the spring. A is the Gordon's Mills road; B is the Pea Vine Church road, and C is the La Fayette and Ringgold road. From A to B, at the point where my line is, is three-quarters of a mile; from B to C is 1 3/4 miles. On this line Cheatham's division is extended; it is too much drawn out and has no reserves of its own. It will take 10,000 men to fill the line as it should be.
Since my arrival I find I have the whole of Crittenden's corps and Wilder's cavalry brigade immediately before me, to wit, Van Cleve on road A, with his advance on a line with the other two. It will thus be perceived I have the whole of Crittenden's corps, with Wilder's cavalry brigade, confronting me and moving in line of battle. How much more of the enemy's force is behind this line as a reserve there is no means of determining; but there is reason to believe that he has received a considerable accession of force at Chattanooga, and it is not to be believed that he will omit to send them forward. I am, therefore, clearly of the opinion that you should send to me additional force, so as to make failure impossible, and great success here would be of incalculable benefit to our cause. I think I should have, so as to make success sure, the force under General S. B. Buckner. That will leave General Hill's corps intact for any contingency in your quarter. In this opinion I find all the general officers with me agree, and I am myself so profoundly convinced of this that I beg leave, most respectfully and urgently, to press this upon your attention. It would not only insure success if there were no other troops present with the enemy as a reserve, but prevent failure if there should be.