FRIDAY, [September] 11, 1863.
After a run of 13 miles by all the wagons with Captain Gibbes, and hunting for Bragg nearly an hour in La Fayette, found him at Hill's headquarters, on Dalton road. He admitted the order was wretchedly worded, and explained that General Polk was to wait at Anderson's to prevent Crittenden from coming down on Buckner's rear, and to help Buckner and Hindman in case they had to fall back. He informed me that Cleburne was in Dug Gap, in the rear of the enemy, and Buckner and Hindman were on the other side of them in McLemore's Cove; that Cleburne had positive and peremptory orders to attack at daylight and cut his way through if they didn't surrender. I started back by 12 midnight, meeting all the trains and taking an order from Presstman to Morris to clear out the road to Thornton's Mill via Catlett's Gap. Reached Anderson's about 3 a. m., the troops having all got up there and lying sleeping in the road. The dust thicker than I ever saw it. At daylight an order came for General Polk to immediately start his column for La Fayette. Started and reached there at 11 a. m. No fighting. General Bragg at Dug Gap.
At 4.45 p. m. the following was received:
GORDON'S MILLS-2.15 p. m.
COLONEL: The enemy are advancing steadily; skirmishers in front, artillery next, and column of infantry, as far as I can get information, back; some cavalry on their flanks. There is at least one division. My rear is near the point occupied by Lieutenant-General Polk as headquarters. My artillery is too small to be of much service. The hills across the creek commanding the valley and hill on the south side. Can't hear from Pegram, on my right. He wrote to me at 7.30 a. m. to-day that he would soon have to fall back.
FRANK C. ARMSTRONG,
In half an hour later another dispatch was received from Armstrong stating the enemy's line of skirmishers were at least 1 mile long and advancing steadily, he, of course, retiring. At 5 p. m. Withers, of signal corps, came in and reported that there had been but two brigades in McLemore's Cove, and the reports about the immense force there were all bosh. The general, Yeatman, and I started at 5.30 for Dug Gap, meeting Liddell's and Walthall's brigades coming into La Fayette. Reached General Walker's quarters, at head of Dug Gap, just at dark, General Bragg having gone ahead. In about an hour General Bragg and all his staff returned, having been clear through the gap to Hindman and Buckner, and no enemy there. The bird had flown and the farce was complete. Forty men to catch two brigades-those in a trap, it was supposed, impossible for them to escape from; and when search was made they were like the Irishman's flea. Comment, pooh! No pencil or pen could do such a subject justice. Came in behind Bragg and his staff and got to town about 9.30 p. m., hungry and dusty. Orders received about 12 at night to put Cheatham's division in readiness to move.