general officers of this command, who also agree that if General Hill responds negatively to the questions propounded to him, or if the enemy on our flank prove to be in such force as to render it too hazardous, our true policy is, instead of going to Davis' Cross-Roads, to move rapidly against Crittenden, Cheatham co-operating, and Hill if possible, and thus crush that corps of the enemy. This last operation would destroy one-third the enemy's force, and leave all our own united to contend against the balance on his line of communication.
T. C. HINDMAN,
HEADQUARTERS, ETC., TROOPS IN THE FIELD,
Two and a half Miles* from Davis' Cross-Roads,
September 10, 1863-7 p.m.
Lieutenant Colonel GEORGE WILLIAM BRENT,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of Tennessee:
COLONEL: General Buckner reported with his command at 4.45 p.m., too late for an attack this evening, as it would have been dark by the time we could reach the enemy. I have sent out to-night small parties of scouts, under reliable guides, to ascertain what force of the enemy, if any, may assail my flank or rear while I attack the column moving toward Dug Gap. I have also dispatched a courier to General Hill at La Fayette, and to his commanding officer at Dug Gap, to concert a plan of operations, &c. Unless something unforeseen prevents, I except to make the attack at daylight. My impression is that the force in my front (at Davis' Cross-Roads) is thrown out merely to mask the movement of the main body toward Alpine, and that the force in front of General Hill (at Dug Gap) in intended to accomplish the same purpose. Whether the main body has moved or not I am yet unable to determine, but hope to learn to-night. If it has, our attack ought and will be made. If it has not, my force will probably be insufficient, and I will be attacked in rear from Steven's Gap while attacking the column going east. If anything important is ascertained, I will report promptly. All quiet to-night.
T. C. HINDMAN,
October 25, 1863.
COLONEL: Sickness prevented me from exercising command on Saturday, September 19, until about 3 p.m. My division had then just crossed the Chickamauga at Hunt's Ford, and was soon after ordered to the support of Major-General Hood. The order was executed
*Conley's house, at which the above communication (Exhibit M) was written, is 4 miles from Davis' Cross-Roads, instead of "2 1/2 miles," which is a clerical error. J. P. WILSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.