work. This was necessarily slow, on account of the difficulty of getting suitable material at Knoxville.
On the 27th September, I was relieved from duty with the Twenty-third Army Corps, and assigned as chief engineer Army of the Ohio.
Until the 9th October, I remained at Knoxville, superintending the work at that point.. On the morning of the 9th, the general commanding and staff started for Bull's Gap.
On the morning of the 10th, an advance was made toward Greeneville. The enemy was encountered, posted on the high ground east of Blue Springs, and between the Greeneville road an the railroad, and offered a stubborn resistance to our cavalry, holding them in check for some hours.
By direction of the major-general commanding I made a reconnaissance to ascertain the position of the enemy's line, and to determine upon the proper point and manner of attack. This reconnaissance was made very leisure, as it was my understanding that it was desirable that the enemy should continue to occupy the position he then held, until a brigade of cavalry, under command of Colonel Foster, which had been detached to pass to the enemy's rear, had reached a certain point.
After having passed over the greater part of the line occupied by our skirmishers, I decided that the best attack could be made in the front, and that, owing to the broken nature of the ground, our lines could be best formed by moving the troops by the right flank, in column of fours, from the Greeneville road, near the left of our line of skirmishers, immediately in rear of that time, toward the right, until ground enough had been passed over to admit the line of battle, and to form by simply facing to the front; the troops would then be in position to attack. I should have stated that the entire movement could be made under cover of the ridge occupied by our skirmishers,and entirely out of sight of the enemy. My recommendations being nearly, if not altogether, in accordance with opinions which had been formed by the general commanding, were at once adopted, and the necessary orders given to carry them into effect. The attack was gallantly made, and was eminently successful, the enemy being driven entirely from his position in advance to that occupied by his reserves. It was now quite dark, and everything was prepared to dislodge him from the latter early in the morning, by which time colonel Foster was expected to be in the main road east of Greeneville and directly in the enemy's rear, a position he did reach before daybreak. The enemy, having had information concerning this movement, retreated long before daylight from our front, and attacking Foster, succeeded in pushing him from their line of retreat and in making good their escape.
With the subsequent events I had nothing to do, as an engineer officer-the retreat and pursuit being rapid, and upon our part being maintained almost exclusively by the cavalry.*
* * * * * * * * * *
ORLANDO M. POE,
Captain of Engineers.
Lieutenant Colonel J. H. SIMPSON, U. S. Engineers.
*For continuation of Captain Poe's report, including the engineer operations of the siege of Knoxville, see Series I, Vol. XXXI, Part I, p. 303.