Cavalry, both of whom displayed the greatest gallantry and skill in the management of their commands.
During the day the enemy received re-enforcements and continued to extend his lines, to meet which I was compelled to lengthen my own, until my front was more than 2 miles long, and became nothing but a line of skirmishers. Our four pieces of artillery were well posted, and supported by two companies.
At about 5 p. m. the enemy, discovering the weakness of our lines, made a furious assault on the center, composed of a battalion under Lieutenant-Colonel Trimble, numbering between 75 and 100 men, against which were precipitated two regiments and a battalion of infantry and a battery of six pieces of artillery. Our center was compelled to give way, but withdrew handsomely upon the right and left wings, and the enemy pressed straight toward our batteries, which did not open until they approached within 250 yards; then our four heavier pieces and Lieutenant Schoolfield's battery of Williams' guns opened upon them with grape and canister, mowing them down. The enemy broke and attempted to escape under cover of a ravine and woodlands toward our left, where Giltner's rifles dealt destruction in their discomfited ranks. With heavy loss they fled to their original position and darkness covered the field.
During the night reliable information reached me that a brigade of Indiana infantry, passing through Cumberland Gap, Tazewell, and Morristown, had arrived at Blue Springs, and were being placed in position to engage us next morning. I also had positive information that a heavy force of cavalry had passed through Rogersville on their road to Jonesborough.
At dark I left the field and went to Greeneville, and put myself in communication with you by telegraph. I informed you that the enemy in my immediate front was at least 5,000 strong, with re-enforcements coming up, and here I first learned that the expedition to Cumberland Gap had been abandoned.
While in the telegraph office a courier from Colonels Giltner and Carter informed me that the enemy had thrown two strong forces of infantry on my right and left, and that they had arranged everything for a retrograde movement, subject to my approval. I approved the movement. My only chance of escape was to elude the pursuit of the force in my front and attack and whip the one in my rear. We marched all night; were joined by General Jackson's brigade at Greeneville, and at daybreak on Sunday (11th instant) came upon the brigade of the enemy commanded by Colonel Foster, 2,200 strong, with six pieces of artillery posted. I ordered General Jackson to charge the enemy on the right with his 300 infantry, and Colonel Carter, with the First Tennessee Cavalry and the commands of Lieutenant-Colonel Trimble and Major Halsey, to charge on our left with his cavalry through open fields and woodlands, which was done in handsome style, and the Yankees completely routed.
We passed on without the loss of a wagon or a single head of beef cattle. We moved on to Rheatown, where, by some misunderstanding of orders, the artillery took the wrong road, and some time was consumed in getting it back. While waiting for its return the enemy again made his appearance, which, in the absence of our artillery, produced considerable confusion; but order was soon restored and the enemy checked. The artillery was brought back as soon as possible, and from a good position 2 miles east of Rheatown we again gave the enemy battle, which lasted for more than 3 hours, when we