Stevens' Gap, the route by Lookout Valley will be by far the most expeditious one for me to take, and I will march accordingly.
In my dispatch to-day I intended to march by McLemore's Cove, but the instructions you received from General Garfield and the condition of the roads compel me to take the other route. I will send the order to Stanley, and have him seize Dougherty's Gap as soon as possible.
Stanley's cavalry has not yet returned, therefore I can give you no information from it. Colonel Harrison was sent over Lookout Mountain to communicate with you to-day. I hope he has reached you, and when I wrote my dispatch this morning I supposes that you had full possession of McLemore's Cove. But from the instructions, I learn you only hold Stevens'Gap. I have therefore but one route to pursue-that is by Lookout Valley-and as expeditiously as possible.
A. McD. McCOOK,
HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Stevens' Gap, September 13, 1863-7 p. m.
Comdg. Department of the Cumberland:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report as follows: I have all my troops across the mountains and in McLemore's Cove, covering Stevens' and Cooper's Gaps, on a line of ridges to the east of Chattanooga Creek entirely covering the entrance to both gaps, and behind which our trains can be parked and securely guarded by comparatively small force when a forward movement is determined on. The roads to this point from Caperton's Ferry and Bridgeport are the most difficult ever passed over. The ascent and descent on both Sand and Lookout Mountains average about 1 1/2 miles in length, over each one of which it is absolutely necessary to double teams in ascending, in order to get loaded wagons up; and by two of the passes it is an exceedingly difficult matter to ascend with double teams. The descent from Lookout Mountain by Cooper's or Friek's Gap is the most practicable of the four. The citizens of this valley represent the roads through Dug and Catlett's Gaps as being very good roads, but the one through Dug Gap very difficult to pass through if defended by a strong and determined force, the road passing through a ravine bordered by high and precipitous bluffs for its whole length. The pass through Catlett's Gap is very near level, and could be easily forced by superior numbers. They all represent the road and pass through Blue Bird Gap as very rough, and would be difficult to force in the face of a determined enemy.
I have been thus particular in thus describing the valley and the roads leading across it because I inferred from what General Mitchell told me that you were dissatisfied with the little information I had given you of the country. I have forwarded from time to time all the reliable information I could get, and the reason I have not reported more fully before is that I could not get any description of