9 o'clock report came in that the rebels had retired, but that their pickets still held the right bank of Chattanooga Creek, in the direction of Rossville. Soon after the fog vanished, and nothing was to be seen in the valley but the deserted and burning camps of the enemy.
Among the fruits of the preceding operations may be enumerated the concentration of the army, the abandonment of defenses upward of 8 miles in extent, the recovery of all the advantages in position the enemy had gained from our army on the bloody field of Chickamauga, giving to us the undisputed navigation of the river and the control of the railroad, the capture of between 2,000 and 3,000 prisoners, 5 stand of colors, 2 pieces of artillery, upward of 5,000 muskets, &c.
Of the troops opposed to us were four brigades of Walker's division, Hardee's corps, a portion of Stewart's division of Breckinridge's corps, and on the top of the mountain were three brigades of Stevenson's division.
In conformity with orders, two regiments were dispatched to hold the mountain, Carlin's brigade directed to await orders on the Summertown road, and at 10 o'clock my column, Osterhaus (being nearest the road) leading, marched for Rossville.
On arriving at Chattanooga Creek it was discovered that the enemy had destroyed the bridge, and, in consequence, our pursuit was delayed nearly three hours. As soon as the stringers were laid, Osterhaus managed to throw over the Twenty-seventh Missouri Regiment, and soon after all of his infantry. The former deployed,pushed forward as skirmishers to the gorge in Missionary Ridge, and drew the fire of the artillery and infantry holding it, and also discovered that the enemy was attempting to cover a train of wagons loading with stores at the Rossville house.
As the position was one presenting many advantages for defense, the skirmishers were directed to keep the enemy engaged in front, while Woods' brigade was taking the ridge on the right, and four regiments of Williamson's on the left. Two other regiments of this brigade were posted on the road leading to Chattanooga to prevent surprise. In executing these duties the troops were necessarily exposed to the enemy's artillery, but as soon as it was discovered that his flanks were being turned and his retreat threatened, he hastily evacuated the gap, leaving behind large quantities of artillery and small-arm ammunition, wagons, ambulances, and a house full of commissary stores. Pursuit was made as far as consistent with my instructions to clear Missionary Ridge.
Meanwhile the bridge had been completed and all the troops over or crossing. Osterhaus received instructions to move, with his division, parallel with the ridge on the east, Cruft on the ridge, and Geary in the valley, to the west of it, within easy supporting distance. The batteries accompanied Geary, as it was not known that roads could be found for them with the other divisions without delaying the movements of the column.
General Cruft, with his staff, preceded his column in ascending the ridge to supervise the formation of his lines, and was at once met by a line of the enemys' skirmishers advancing. The Ninth and Thirty-sixth Indiana Regiments sprang forward, ran into line under their fire, and instantly charging, drove back the rebels, while the residue of the column formed their lines, Grose's brigade, with the Fifty-first Ohio and Thirty-fifth Indiana, of Whitaker's, in advance,