as this would enable me to strike the railroad 5 or 6 miles to the south of where it was first intended. Palmer was to rejoin me in the morning.
Soon after dark word was received from Palmer, through a member of his staff, that he had come up with the enemy, reported to be a battery and 2,000 or 3,000 infantry. Instructions were sent him to attack them at once, and while forming his lines to the left for that purpose, the remaining part of the column was massed as it came up, to the right of the road, and held awaiting the movements of Palmer. His enemy was discovered to be a battery of three pieces, with a small escort, and was the rear of the rebel army on the road from Graysville to Ringgold. Three pieces of artillery were captured, and subsequently an additional piece, with, I believe, a few prisoners. I have received no report from this officer of his operations while belonging to my command, although mine has been delayed six weeks in waiting.
We were now fairly up with the enemy. This at 10 o'clock at night. Cruft's division advanced and took possession of the crest of Chickamauga hills, the enemy's abandoned camp fires still burning brightly on the side;; and we all went into bivouac.
My artillery was not yet up, and in this connection I desire that the especial attention of the commander of the department may be called to that part of the report of General Osterhaus which relates to the conduct of the officers who had the pontoon bridge in charge. I do not know the names of the officers referred to; was not furnished with a copy of their instructions, nor did they report to me. The pontoons were not brought forward to the point of crossing at all, and the balks and chess-planks only reached their destination between 9 and 10 p.m.; distance from Chattanooga 10 miles, and the roads excellent.
Then trestles had to be framed, and the bridge was not finished until 6 o'clock the following morning.
The report of Lieutenant H. C. Wharton, of the Engineers,and temporarily attached to my staff, who was left behind to hasten the completion of the bridge, is herewith transmitted. No better commentary on this culpable negligence is needed than is furnished by the record of our operations in the vicinity of Ringgold.
The town was distant 5 miles. At daylight the pursuit was renewed, Osterhaus in advance, Geary following, and Cruft in the rear. Evidences of the precipitate flight of the enemy were every where apparent; caissons, wagons ambulances, arms, and ammunition were abandoned in the hurry and confusion of retreat. After going about 2 miles, we came up with the camp he had occupied during the night, the fires still burning. A large number of prisoners were also taken before reaching the East Fork of the Chickamauga River.
We found the ford, and also the bridge to the south of Ringgold,
held by a body of rebel cavalry. These discharged their arms and quickly gave way before a handful of our men, and were closely pursued into the town.
I rode to the front on hearing the firing, where I found Osterhaus out with his skirmishers, intensely alive to all that was passing, and pushing onward briskly. He informed me that four pieces of artillery had just left the rebel camp, weakly escorted, and ran into the gorge, which he could have captured with a small force of cavalry. The gorge is to the east of Ringgold, and we were approaching it