The troops of my command are now distributed as follows, viz, three companies upon the hill on the left of the main road, and about three-fourths of a mile from the pontoon bridge.
The Ninety-sixth Illinois Volunteers, and the Eighty-fourth Indiana, and Tenth Indiana Battery, Fortieth Ohio Volunteers, and one section Eighteenth Ohio Battery are directly opposite the base of Lookout Mountain, protecting the ferry. The One hundred and fifteenth Illinois Volunteers, one section of the Eighteenth Ohio Battery at Brown's Ferry, about 3 miles below the position of Colonel Champion.
During the evening the enemy have kept sharpshooters concealed among the rock and brush on the slope of the mountain, who have kept up an annoying, though not a very accurate, fire at my officers and men. I left Colonel Champion's position about 5 o'clock this evening; have been compelled to return to this point to execute the order received concerning the stragglers and discipline of the troops and trains on this side of the river. Colonel Champion is in command of the troops at the ferry, with instructions to keep me thoroughly posted concerning the movement of the enemy.
Since the above, I have received three reports from the crossing, which you will please find inclosed and marked A, B, and C, as received. I also inclose a report* of the effective force of my command. Attention is particularly called to the reports from the ferry, as they are of immediate importance.
W. C. WHITAKER,
HEADQUARTERS DETACHMENT FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, RESERVE CORPS, September 24, 1863.
Lieutenant J. R. BOONE,
DEAR SIR: The enemy have succeeded in planting a battery of heavy 24-pounder rifled guns in the earth-work on the east slope of Lookout Mountain, completely commanding all the positions of our artillery. Their fire is very accurate, four shot and shell striking very near the section of Aleshire's battery. We have been looking for other positions and think we have found them, especially to command their battery, and also to command the ferry at the foot of the mountain on the west side, but we must have picks and spades so as to caseate our guns. Cannot a force of pioneers be sent us who have those tools?
The position of the section where my headquarters now are is particularly untenable, and can hardly be made tenable at all, and in the event of having to fall back, we would be badly exposed in retiring.
We have found a position commanding the ferry, but at longer range than from my headquarters. Can I move that section to the new position? Without spades and picks we can make no position secure. My whole force doing duty as pickets, divided into three reliefs, and if a force of pioneers with tools could be got, it would help us very much.