situation of affairs in his front as derived from scouts, reconnoitering parties, and citizens and having shown us a communication from the general commanding authorizing him to retire through Catlett's Gap if he deemed it imprudent to attack, announced to us his determination so to retire, and gave directions for us to act accordingly. Before, however, all the preliminaries of a retrograde movement had been agreed upon other information was received which caused the order to retire to be countermanded, and instead an advance was ordered at once. Stewart advanced in three lines, and before he had gone far I received information from General Buckner,who was personally conducting the forward movement, that the enemy were retiring toward Steven's Gap, and directing me to move off by the right flank in that direction to cut him off, if practicable. My right was at this time about 4 1/2 miles from Steven's Gap and the sun was less than an hour high. The division moved promptly by the right flank, Sharp in front, followed by Deas and Manigault, respectively. The density of the undergrowth made it difficult to move with rapidity for the distance of over a half a mile, but never were troops in better spirit and more eager to meet the foe. When the open fields were gained the movement was executed at a double-quick through the open ground across the creek, and at a time when the men were extremely thirsty, but not a man halted for an instant to slake his parched tongue from the limpid and tempting waters of the Chickamauga.
When Sharp's and Deas' advance were crossing the first open field near the creek one of the enemy's batteries, posted on the road from Davis' Cross-Roads to Stevens' Gap, and heretofore engaging Stewart in his front, opened a cross-fire upon my column, doing no other damage than wounding 2 men of the Forty-first Mississippi-one slightly and the other severely in the hand.
Soon after this a staff officer from General Buckner informed me that Stewart was not advancing any farther, it being deemed too late for him to cross the creek, and giving me General Buckner's order that in no event was the pursuit by me to be continued longer than dark. Two of the brigades (Sharp's and Deas') had now gained the west side of the Chickamauga Creek, and the head of Sharp's column was within half a mile of "the factory" and about 1 1/2 miles of Stevens' Gap. But it was growing dark and we had not yet gained the road from Davis' Cross-Roads to Stevens' Gap, on which the enemy was retiring. It was plainly imprudent to pursue and attack while Buckner's command remained on the east side of the creek; but my orders were not to continue the pursuit after dark, and I should have obeyed them whether my judgment approved the policy or not; so the column was halted, skirmishers were deployed forward,a nd reconnaissances were hastily and imperfectly made.
Here I met Colonel Morgan, commanding the cavalry, who picketed my front and right flank and informed me of an eminence some half mile in my front which he thought commanded the road on which the enemy were retiring. Before, however, I had determined to occupy this hill, the order to fall back to La Fayette by way of Catlett's Gap was received, and the movement was soon after commenced by facing about and returning by the way we came, the brigades moving in the order named-Manigault, Deas, Sharp. On reaching the main road upon which the command had advanced, and across which it had originally deployed, some delay was occasioned by meeting the trains of General Buckner's command, which were marching by way of Davis' Cross-Roads and Dug Gap. As soon as the way was clear,