HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS, Gordon's Mills, September 14, 1863-12.30 p. m.
Brigadier General J. A. GARFIELD:
I have this moment returned from the front. I am confident that there is no considerable force of infantry near me at this time. My reconnaissance to the front proves that there is none in that direction as far out as 5 miles. The firing which Oldershaw thought was from Wilder's, was from Van Cleve's front, mostly from two rebel guns. Van Cleve has not reported, but I am satisfied they are not about to attack me here to-day. Indeed, I think I can whip them if they do-all of them. We are, I think, in a position that they can turn, but I also think they dare not pass me. If they should I can join General Thomas, or rather he can join me, and our army get together here or at La Fayette. But this is mere speculation. I don't think they will come.
As there is no force of ours at Ringgold, had you not better order Minty, if he is near you, to leave some force at Rossville? I am afraid cavalry may come in from toward Ringgold, and cut off my communication. I will send you dispatch as soon as I get detailed report from my different reconnaissances.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. L. CRITTENDEN,
Above just received from General Crittenden, 3.25 p. m.
One hundred and sixty men of Tenth Ohio, under Major Hudson, have just started for Rossville to guard the roads from there, particularly the Dalton road.
HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS, Chattanooga Valley, September 14, 1863-1.20 p. m.
Brigadier General J. A. GARFIELD,
Chief of Staff:
I am still here, hoping to hear from you. I wrote at 10.30 a. m., by courier up Nickajack trace, and by courier to Gordon's Mills, thence by signal. My command is on Missionary Ridge at Henson's. No enemy between here and Chattanooga, and no force in front that I can hear of. No water on the ridge, so that I cannot remain here. I must either come down into the valley or go back.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. L. CRITTENDEN,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Foot of Cooper's Gap, September 14, 1863-2.45 p. m.
Major General T. L. CRITTENDEN:
Your dispatch of 10.30 a. m. from Missionary Ridge is received. The rebels have abandoned the valley between Lookout Mountain and Pigeon Mountain, and there is considerable evidence that they