War of the Rebellion: Serial 052 Page 0579 Chapter XIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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following sentence I am instructed, under existing circumstances, to bear well to the left, &c. I should remark, for the information of the commanding general, that, in my opinion, if my command should make much of a divergence from the Rossville and La Fayette road, it would open the country toward Chattanooga to the enemy's cavalry, of which there seems to be an abundant force in the country, without, indeed, I am being followed by other forces on this road. I have not moved yet this morning, though prepared to do so in a moment, not only on account of the embarrassment growing out of the partial conflict between the written and verbal orders, but because the atmosphere is so clouded this morning with fog, haze, and dust that it is impossible to see a hundred [yards] in advance. While the fog is clearing up so that I can see, I hope too receive further instructions from you.

Finding it was impossible to communicate with General Crittenden last night across the country, I sent a dispatch to him around by the way of Rossville and Ringgold, but have heard nothing in answer, so that I am in total ignorance of his whereabouts.

The enemy in his retreat set fire to the bridge here, and partially destroyed it to such an extent it cannot be used without considerable reparation. Our forces succeeded in extinguishing the fire before the destruction was complete. There is, however, a practicable ford in low water, which can be used now.

The enemy's drums were heard this morning, apparently 2 miles in advance, showing the presence of infantry as well as cavalry.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

TH. J. WOOD,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS,

Gordon's Mills, September 12, 1863-8 a. m.

General J. A. GARFIELD, Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: I am at this hour just in receipt of orders from General Crittenden directing me to await further orders here, and informing me of the movement to be made this morning by Generals Palmer and Van Cleve.

Explorations to the front this morning show that the enemy fell back during the night from the position at which his camp-fires were visible when I arrived here last night. I think it my duty to inform the commanding general that the whole country east and west of the Rossville and La Fayette road is cut by parallel and cross roads which would readily facilitate the passage-of small bodies, at least-of rebel cavalry to our rear to annoy and threaten our communication. I do not think this will be attempted in sufficient force to threaten the safety of our troops advancing (further than interfering with trains coming up would do it, which, of course, would require to be well guarded), but would certainly endanger the safety of courier lines, &c., and would forbid small parties from using the road; and even a large force of cavalry might attempt to get back on our communications.

I will await further orders here from General Crittenden, prepared at all times to advance at a moment's notice.

Respectfully, &c.,

TH. J. WOOD,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.