to march by Dougherty's Gap into McLemore's Cove, with a portion of my infantry, to clear Pigeon Mountain of the enemy to Blue Bird Gap, if not to Dug Gap; but instructions from General Garfield to General Thomas, which reached me just as I had got to the top of Lookout Mountain (in person), lead me to believe that McLemore's Cove is in the possession of the enemy, and Stanley being ordered to seize Dougherty's Gap without delay, and General Thomas ordering me to join him at Stevens' Gap, and the impracticability of the road leading from Dougherty's Gap over the spurs to Stevnes' Gap, leaves me but one route to pursue, and that is to descend the mountain at Winston's and push down Lookout Valley. This is being done with all possible haste. I will join Thomas myself this evening, and my troops will also be near him. This route is 9 miles farther, but is nine hours nearer in time. Myself and troops have done and will do everything that mortal men can do. I have communicated fully and frequently with General Thomas.
A. McD. McCOOK,
HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Stevens' Gap, September 14, 1863-6.30 a. m.
GENERAL: Your dispatch of 5 p. m. yesterday was received at 6 a. m. to-day.
The route by Winston's Gap, I should think, is the only practicable one for you, but you will have to leave your train to follow you up the mountain at the head of Johnson's Crook, as it will take one day for them to get to the top. Colonel Harrison has not yet reported to me. I do not think he will be in any great danger, as the enemy appears to be afraid to remain in the upper part of the cove. They have all the gaps leading through Pigeon Ridge, but have not come into the cove except to attack Negley on Friday.
The want of cavalry prevented us from seizing Dug Gap and Catlett's Gap on Wednesday. Once in our possession, I think we could have held them. General Rosecrans is here.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Mountain East of Foot of Cooper's Gap, September 14, 1863-11.30 a. m.
Major General A. McD. McCOOK:
Your dispatch of 5.30 p. m. yesterday is received. The general commanding arrived here at General Thomas' headquarters last night. The enemy appear to have left the valley between Lookout and Pigeon Mountains, and the weight of evidence goes to show that he has evacuated La Fayette. The general commanding regrets that