an hour before sundown, I was ordered once more to advance, but the Yankees now rapidly retired. Their rear was gallantly attacked by a company of our cavalry, but made a stand on the other side of Chickamauga Creek under cover of a battery of artillery. Semple's magnificent battery was ordered up, and in a short time silenced the Yankee fire with heavy loss,and the Yankee rout was complete.
I had, in the meantime, communicated with General Buckner in person, and by an aide with General Hindman, and had arranged to connect my line of skirmishers and battle with theirs, so as to sweep everything before us. The prompt flight of the Yankees and the approaching darkness saved them from destruction. This force proved to be the advance of Thomas' corps, the main body being opposite Steven's Gap, in Lookout Mountain.
This day and the following my signal corps and scouts on Pigeon Mountain reported the march of a heavy column up the cove to our left. These reports were communicated to the commanding general but were discredited by him.
On the morning of the 13th, all the troops except my two divisions were moved up to Lee and Gordon's Mills to attack Crittenden's corps, isolated at that point. The attack, however, was not made.
At 8 a.m. Lieutenant Baylor, of the cavalry, reported to me with a note from General Wharton vouching for his entire reliability. Lieutenant Baylor stated that McCook, with his corps, had encamped at Alpine the night before, and that his column was moving on to La Fayette. Our cavalry pickets had been driven in on the Alpine road, the evening before a few miles from town, and I had directed General Breckinridge to supply their place with infantry pickets. Soon after the report of Lieutenant Baylor, a brisk fire opened on the Alpine road about 2 miles from La Fayette. Upon reaching the point I found that two regiments of cavalry had attacked the skirmishers of Adam's brigade,and had been repulsed with considerable loss. General Adams was satisfied, from the manner of the advance, that this force was the vanguard of a heavy column. I therefore brought down a brigade (Polk's) from Cleburne, on Pigeon Mountain, and prepared for battle. The Yankee cavalry had, however, captured the infantry pickets, and upon McCook learning that the men belonged to Breckinridge's division, he became aware that Bragg had been re-enforced, and began a precipitate retreat. The report of Lieutenant Baylor and the advance upon La Fayette did not satisfy the commanding general that McCook had been in our vicinity. He emphatically denied, on the night of the 13th, that a single Yankee foot soldier had crossed Pigeon Mountain. He stated, however, in council next morning, that McCook was at Alpine, Thomas in McLemore's Cove, and Crittenden at Lee and Gordon's Mills. The Yankee right was, therefore, separated from the left by some 60 miles, with a difficult mountain to cross, and the center was more than a day's march from each wing. Our own force was concentrated at La Fayette, and could have been thrown upon either corps without the remotest possibility of being molested by the other two. The attack, however, was delayed for six days.
The withdrawal of McCook from Alpine and the appearance of a heavy force in front of Catlett's Gap on the 16th, induced me to reenforce Deshler's brigade, at the gap, by the whole of Breckinridge's division.
I was directed, on the 17th, to move my corps at daylight the next morning in rear of General Polk's corps toward Lee and Gordon's