rebels in sight at Steven's Gap. We have removed the obstructions, but the road will require repairs. The following regiments of Wheeler's cavalry are near La Fayette: First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth [Fifty-First] Alabama Cavalry; Fourth Georgia; First and Eighth Confederate; one battery.
On a road running northeast across the valley as though from McFarland's Cross-Roads, about 9 miles from Cooper's Gap, toward Chattanooga, a heavy cloud of dust has been observed all day. The drift of the cloud would indicate that the column or train was moving toward Chattanooga, but this is only supposition. This movement is worth of attention if the rumor is credited that troops are being sent from Atlanta to Chattanooga. I have had several confirmations of the report that Johnston is in command and brought with him upward of 10,000 troops. One man saw nineteen trains arrive in Atlanta in one day from Mississippi. My entire train will reach the top of mountain early to-morrow. I shall await your further instructions.
I have the honor to remain,yours,very truly,
JAS. S. NEGLELY,
HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Camp, Boiling Spring, September 8, 1863.
Commanding Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the route of this division from Graham's Station, on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad:
This route is practicable for trains. The first half mile is level, good; then for 1 1/2 miles the road follows north side of ridge, and, passing through a gap, enters Hog Jaw Valley. Needs leveling, having been cut up by the passage of trains. From this point to the head of Nickajack Cove, a distance of 5 miles, road a level valley road, very good, somewhat rocky. To prevent the wrenching of wheels these stones should be removed before the passage of each train. A small party would keep the road in fine condition in this way. Very little work with pick or spade necessary. At the foot of mountain is a bridge of 50 or 60 feet span over a mountain stream, which should be replaced by a new one before trains can pass safely. This bridge could be built in one day by one company - 100 men. The ascent of the mountain is gradual; two narrow, stony, and steep places, but could soon be put in good condition. Can be used in ascending, but is dangerous to descend on account of the gulf below the road. From the top of the mountain at this point, called Castle Rock Coal Mines, to the summit at Sligo, a fair mountain road. There are five gulfs, two somewhat difficult, and the road needs slight repairs; distance, about 7 miles. The descent at Sligo is very easy, but the track needs considerable work. It is very sidling. For the easy and safe passage of loaded trains it should be leveled. The ascent and descent by this route are each not more than 1 1/4 miles. The ascent at Gordon's Gap (the place we came up) would be much improved and rendered safe by guttering the side against the mountain to prevent the wheels sliding. And then,too,