War of the Rebellion: Serial 052 Page 0517 Chapter XIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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Fayette road, that there is a considerable force on his front, and that he expects resistance to his advance in the morning.

General Wood sent, sent at 7.30 p. m., the report of a contraband that General Bragg was at Gordon's Mills at noon to-day, and that a heavy force was with him, moving this way, with intention to attack this place. There have been several rumors within the last two days that General Bragg had moved out with the design to fight us between this and La Fayette. These rumors, and particularly the story of the contraband, are hardly worthy of a moment's consideration. They should be treated with total indifference if General Thomas' corps had reached La Fayette this morning, as it was expected to, but in all possibility has not.

For the purpose of forfending against possible calamity, the general commanding has ordered a movement by General Wood, which you will understand by the inclosed copy* of an order just sent to him. The general commanding will give you no definite instructions for any movement on the part of the remaining portions of your command, but he desires you to visit the headquarters of General Palmer in person at once, and examine carefully into all the facts of the situation. Should you find, as is most probable, that there are no just grounds for reasonable apprehension, you will move forward upon Ringgold early in the morning, and thence upon Dalton or La Fayette, according as you shall learn the route of the enemy's retreat. If, on the contrary, you find that there are reasonable grounds for supposing that the enemy is in strong force between you and La Fayette, and that he designs to attack you, the general commanding suggests that it will be prudent to draw your command back on Rossville.

It will be well for you to inquire of citizens in the vicinity of the head of your column whether any considerable part of Bragg's force retreated by the railroad. If so, it greatly decreases the possibility of such a supposition as the one above referred to. The general commanding confidently expects you will find it entirely prudent to move forward in pursuit early in the morning, but he leaves to your discretion the decision, which must depend mainly upon facts not in his possession, but which will be likely to come to your knowledge when you arrive on the ground.

The general commanding sends Colonel McKibbin, aide-de-camp on his staff, to accompany you and report to these headquarters the facts and conclusions at which you may arrive.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. GARFIELD,

Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.

SEPTEMBER 10, 1863.

Major-General CRITTENDEN:

GENERAL: The general commanding directs me to ask if you have received an answer to the inquiry which he directed to be made of General Palmer?

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. P. DROUILLARD,

Captain and Aide-de-Camp.

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*See Garfield to Wood, September 10, 11.15 p. m., p. 514.

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