Hold your position if possible until I send re-enforcements to you, and I can have Cooper's Gap obstructed and held by a strong guard.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Stevens' Gap, September 12, 1863-1 a. m.
Commanding Fourteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: General Mitchell, of the Cavalry Corps, has just arrived from General Rosecrans' headquarters, having left there at 3 p. m. He brings verbal orders from General Rosecrans to the following effect, which he desires me to communicate to you:
That your order General McCook, and Stanley with his cavalry, to move at once within supporting distance of your corps, with a view of moving upon the enemy at the earliest practicable moment. General Rosecrans complains of a want of information in regard to your movements and position, and of the numbers and position of the enemy.
Feeling confident from the remarks that General Rosecrans made to General M., that he is totally uninformed as to the character of the country in this vicinity, and of the position, force, and intentions of the enemy, I write you on this point that you can communicate with him at once. Also to inform you that 1 of my scouts, young Bailey, who is intelligent and reliable, has just returned from the vicinity of Bird's Mill, stating that he was informed by Mr. Payne and other citizens that in the affair of yesterday our force was confronted by Buckner's entire command, two other divisions of infantry from the vicinity of Dug Gap, and about 5,000 or 6,000 cavalry; that the enemy expected to hold us at Dug Gap while Buckner and the cavalry could pass to our rear and take possession of Stevens' and Cooper's Gaps; that Breckinridge's command was on Pigeon Ridge had passed through Worthington Gap and the infantry had fallen back to the top of the ridge and beyond. The smoke from their line of encampments was visible this evening. A similar statement was made by two other citizens on hearsay.
At Mr. William Payne's, 30 cavalrymen belonging to one command, who were killed by my ambuscade at Chickamauga Creek, were buried together. The party who buried them stated that they lost heavily in their approach to that point.
Our artillery killed and wounded a large number. General Brannan returned from his reconnaissance early this morning. He advanced as far as Widow Davis' Cross-Roads, meeting only a small cavalry picket who fled at his approach. Indications were that the enemy is on and beyond Pigeon Ridge. In an old building he found 4 of our dead stripped of their clothing.
I have the honor to remain, yours, very truly,
JAS. S. NEGLEY,