RINGGOLD, GA., November 27, 1863-9 a.m.
Major-General REYNOLDS, Chattanooga:
Our column has arrived at this point. Some skirmishing now in front in the gap through which the railroad passes to Dalton. We had skirmishing [light] along the road this morning, and picked up some prisoners. The town is pretty much cleaned out. The road was strewn with caissons, limbers, ambulances, &c.; every evidence that the retreat is precipitate and disorderly. Our provisions have not arrived, and as the men have been without food for twenty-four hours I shall be compelled to return for supplies.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
RINGGOLD, GA., November 27, 1863-10.45 a.m.
Chief of Staff, Chattanooga:
GENERAL: In compliance with the instructions sent direct to General Palmer, I have directed him to return to Chattanooga with his command. I send with him about 200 prisoners, in addition to those sent in yesterday and last evening.
I inclose herewith copy of a letter* captured here, written by a staff officer of General Hardee's to his wife, as it will inform the general of rebel views of our recent operations.
Of the rations forwarded yesterday there was a great deal of flour, which cannot be used in consequence of the absence of means to make bread.
The general will observe, from my instructions from General Grant [copy forwarded last evening], that I am not permitted to advance unless I do so without fighting a battle. This puts me in the condition of the boy who was permitted to learn to swim provided he would not go near the water. I have information, which I deem reliable, at Tunnel Hill.
Under orders of General Grant, I have destroyed the bridge and 2 miles of railroad yesterday, and am prepared to burn the depots, mills, and tanneries before my departure.
Under my present orders, I am required to remain here until the 30th. I request orders for my movements after that time.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
RINGGOLD, GA., November 27, 1863-11.30 a.m.
Major-General REYNOLDS, CHATTANOOGA:
The enemy makes a stand determinedly in the position where the railroad passes through the gap here. I have not yet been able to drive him from it or to turn it. There is still skirmishing going on, but I have given directions for the firing to cease.
My artillery has but now arrived. I shall try the effect of that as soon as it can be got in position. None of Palmer's has been engaged.