that none of Bragg's forces, save a little cavalry, had passed toward Rome.
Hearing from General Thomas last night for the first time, I was informed that he could not get to La Fayette until to-day, and being satisfied of the presence of a large force of the enemy at La Fayette, Colonels Watkins and Harrison were stopped on their march to that place, and it being of vital importance to know the true position of Bragg's army, all our cavalry was concentrated this morning, and sent under General Crook upon the direct La Fayette road, and upon the Summerville and La Fayette roads, with orders to drive back the rebel cavalry, and to drive in the infantry pickets, if they are there; and if they are not there, they are to communicate with General Thomas.
In case the rebel army has retreated to Resaca I will move to Summerville; that point is the key to this valley. There is great commotion at La Fayette to-day, judging from the clouds of dust arising, the heavy columns of dust appearing to extend from La Fayette north. Whether this is dust made by the enemy's or Thomas'column coming into La Fayette I cannot say. My signal station on Lookout Mountain overlooks the country toward Rome, Summerville, and far to the north, toward La Fayette. I do not expect to hear from Crook until about midnight, when all information will be promptly forwarded to you.
Your dispatch of 10.30 last night reached me an hour ago. If the main body of the enemy is at La Fayette my movement to the support of Thomas would be a very hazardous one (by way of Broomtown Valley) unless we could make simultaneous attacks upon him. The distance from here to La Fayette is 23 miles, and should I move my corps from Alpine to Summerville or far in that direction and the enemy should move toward Rome, I would be exposed to the entire weight of the rebel army.
If the rebels should make a stand in the vicinity of La Fayette, I can join Thomas by way of the top of Lookout Mountain and the McLemore Cove-distance from 17 to 20 miles, road fair, with a limited supply of forage on the way.
The most of my train is parked on Little River, almost 3 1/2 miles from the east summit of the mountain. There is no position fit for battle in this immediate vicinity. If I were assailed here by the rebel army, I would place my material, save a little artillery, on the top of the mountain and contest the ground here with my infantry. There is a succession of ridges in my front, the roads running parallel to the ridges, and between them.
A deserter from the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry came to our lines this morning. He left La Fayette at 12 o'clock on Thursday, and says he saw infantry there; how much he don't know, but thinks two divisions.
I think Crook will find La Fayette abandoned by their infantry; in my judgment, Resaca is their point. As soon as I hear from Crook I will communicate with Thomas immediately.
My information and judgment lead me to believe that Johnston has or will re-enforce Bragg
A. McD. McCOOK,