Yankee approach. Some women and children were killed and wounded by this not unusual act of atrocity of our savage foe.
A few nights before, Clayton's brigade had been moved up to Birchwood, 3 miles from the mouth of the Hiwassee, and General Clayton was instructed to send an officer up the river until he met our cavalry pickets and endeavor to effect a connection with them. General [Clayton] reported to me that he found no pickets for 40 miles, the great mass of our cavalry being at Kingston. This report was communicated to the commander-in-chief, and the cavalry pickets were moved down, so as to connect with Clayton.
The shelling of Chattanooga revealed the fact that the Yankees were in our immediate front, and I ordered Cleburne's division to Harrison, and had it distributed so that every ford and ferry from the mouth of the Chickamauga to the mouth of the Haiwassee was guarded and covered by rifle-pits and batteries. It had been the design of the Yankees to interpose a column between Knoxville and Chattanooga and thus isolate Buckner, while Burnside should appear on his flank. But the Yankees, after trying all the crossings and finding them guarded by vigilant and determined men, were constrained to abandon their original plan.
Breckinridge's division, having come up from Mississippi, was assigned to my corps, and Stewart's division was soon after sent up toward Knoxville to join Buckner. Stovall's brigade, of Breckinridge's division,was posted at Sivley's Ford, and as the Yankees still threatened a crossing, Hindman's division, of Polk's corps, was sent to our support.
On Sunday, August 31, we learned, almost accidentally, through a citizen that the Yankee corps of Thomas and McCook had crossed at Caperton's Ferry, beginning the movement the Thursday before. This was the natural point of crossing for the Yankees, as it was near their depot at Stevenson and gave them a good road on our flank and rear. Buckner's command was brought down from Knoxville and the commander-in-chief resolved to abandon Chattanooga. The reason given by him for the evacuation was that the Yankees were getting in his rear, and that they might seize the crossings of the Oostenaula and starve his army, as he had no movable pontoon train.
The movement began on the night of September 7, my corps taking the lead on the La Fayette road. The mass of the Yankee army was supposed to be at Trenton, in Will's Valley; but as our cavalry soon lost the almost impregnable position of Lookout Mountain, with but few casualties on either side, the Yankees began to pour down into McLemore's Cove. I was accordingly ordered by the commanding general to picket the gaps in Pigeon Mountain. This duty was intrusted to General Cleburne, while Breckinridge was left at La Fayette in charge of the trains of the army.
About daylight on the morning of September 10, I received the following order from the general commanding:*
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Gordon's Mills, September 9, 1863-11.45. p.m.
I inclose orders given to General Hindman, General Bragg directs that you send or take, as your judgment dictates, Cleburne's division to reunite with Hindman at Davis' Cross-Roads to-morrow morning. Hindman starts at 12 o'clock to-night, and has 13 miles to make. The commander of the columns thus united will move upon
*See Falconer to Hindman and Hill, p. 28.