of bad roads and very steep, and owing to the fact that we only had 6 oxen, they very soon broke down. As they had nothing to eat but grass for some time past, they were naturally very much weakened, consequently only a very few barrels were hauled when the oxen gave out, and this method of supplying the mountain with water failed, leaving us with but a very scanty supply on hand.
On the morning of September-,we learned the enemy were in our rear, and we then had every reason to believe we would be attacked in rear and front. I then immediately commenced constructing a battery in the gap commanding the road and valley in our immediate rear. I was also engaged in strengthening and throwing up strong rifle-pits. I was also ordered to repair the magazine, and on examination I found it to be in a very deplorable condition, and would suppose the ammunition must necessarily be badly impaired. After it was known that the enemy was in our rear and was also believed to be menacing Knoxville, Tenn., I asked General Frazer what he thought would be General Buckner's course. General F[razer] replied that General B[uckner], on being notified by him that the enemy had passed through Big Creek Gap (the Confederate force retreating before them), had informed him that he (General Buckner) would meet the enemy in the valley and check them.
I must confess I felt much easier hearing this, for I firmly believed that General Frazer could hold his position against any force which might attack us from the north side of the mountain, provided General Buckner kept the enemy busy in our rear, so that our communication with General G[uckner] would not be interfered with to any extent by the enemy, and also that we would be able to obtain the ammunition which had been sent for and was so much needed by General Frazer.
On the morning of September-, the enemy made his appearance in our immediate rear, and was easily seen from the top of the mountain. General Frazer then ordered everything to the top of the mountain, placing his troops in the most advantageous positions to receive an attack.
At the time this movement took place we had on hand a large amount of wheat, and which had not been ground, and the mill which we were dependent upon for all future grinding was located in the valley on south side of the mountain.
The enemy sent in a flag of truce during afternoon of September-, and as I was at headquarters when the document was delivered to General Frazer, I heard him remark to you that General Shackelford had demanded a surrender. Not a word was said by any one present, but a smile seemed to pervade every countenance present. After a few moments' silence General Frazer notified you as his assistant adjutant-general to state in a note to General Shackelford that he declined surrendering. The enemy could now be seen plainly marching his troops in different positions.
The same afternoon the enemy fired several shots, all of which fell short. Lieutenant Thomas O'Conner, commanding Kain's battery, requested permission to return their fire, which was immediately granted by the general. After firing several shots, and perceiving he was only wasting his ammunition, he ceased firing. Everything now remained quiet until night, when the enemy appeared to have moved under cover of darkness his guns much closer and fired several shots through the gap and immediately over the spring in the gap.
40 R R-VOL XXX, PT II