garder it not only as proper and judicious, gut I should have deemed it criminal in any commander situated as General Wood was not to have made the change.
Answer to question 4. Considering that General Wood was several mile from re-enforcements, ant that he had no reason to expect support, but one the contrary had been denied re-enforcements when he had reported his condition to his superior, the purposes of his mission were more likely to be accomplished by first securing a strong position, from which he could effect a retreat or hold until re-enforced in case the brigade making the reconnaissance to the front should become engaged with a superior force.
Answer to question 5. The precautions taken by the general commanding the division I regard as eminently proper, and, all things considered, I believe the reconnaissance was made as early as it could have been done compatible with the safety of the command.
In order to answer the sixth question, I must respectfully refer the general to my official report* of the reconnaissance made on the 7th instant.
If I had arrived near the enemy's batteries at an earlier hour, I should probably have expended more time in reconnoitering their position and endeavored to have obtained more accurate information in regard to their exact strength. I believe, however, that the main object of the reconnaissance was accomplished; how well, must be determined by my superiors.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. G. HARKER,
Colonel, Comdg. Third Brig., First Div., 21st Army Corps.
CAMP AT LEE AND GORDON'S MILLS, GA., September 16, 1863.
Captain M. P. BESTOW,
Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division:
SIR: I have just received yours of this date, making inquiries in regard to my opinion relative to certain positions occupied and moves made by this division during our march from Shellmound to Chattanooga, Tenn. The answers are here appended in the same order as asked in your note.
First. Is or not the position at the junction of the Chattanooga and Nashville Railroad with the Chattanooga and Trenton Railroad (being the position in which the division was first halted in Lookout Valley, Sunday, the 6th instant) entirely open, capable of being attacked on all side, in front, on both flanks, and in rear simultaneously, and hence a most injudicious and dangerous position in which an inferior force in numbers should receive an attack from a superior force?
Yes. I considered the position so unsafe for our force that I was going to make suggestion to the general myself, and went up to headquarters. When there I learned the subject was under discussion. In my opinion, it was a position that could not have been held by us if attacked by a superior force.
Second. Did or not all the information gained during the afternoon of Sunday and during the earlier part of Sunday evening (the information being derived from citizens, from a prisoners captured by our pickets, inferentially from the activity of the enemy's signal operations during this time, and especially from our own pickets) go to show conclusively that we were in the immediate proximity of a large hostile force, and indicated clearly the extreme probability of an attack in force by the enemy early next morning?
*See Part I, p. 681.