Along the whole route were evidences of the precipitate flight of the enemy; the smoke of his burning trains and supplies, hastily fired by him for want of time for removal, was visible upon all the routes. Our path was strewn with abandoned caissons and limbers filled with ammunition, broken wagons, tents, arms, accouterments, and camp equipage in profusion. He had destroyed all the bridges, the rebuilding of which somewhat delayed the pursuing column. We pressed his rear closely throughout the whole day. We passed bivouac fires, still burning, and at many of them captured numerous stragglers from his rear guard. I deployed detachments on the flanks, which fell upon a number of parties secreted, who were captured, in some instances, with slight resistance.
About dusk we reached near Graysville, and, while awaiting the construction of a foot-bridge over Pea Vine Creek, the advance made a dash upon the rear guard of Breckinridge's command, with sharp firing, when my division was immediately formed in line of battle on both sides of the main road, and advanced. The skirmish ahead resulted in the capture from the enemy of three guns of Ferguson's battery, artillerists, and a portion of the infantry support. One gun of this battery had been captured the day before in Rossville Gap.
The main body retreated rapidly without offering opposition. Having passed Pea Vine Creek and Chickamauga Swamp at 10 p.m., it was ascertained the enemy had forces on Pigeon Hills, just beyond, skirmishing having commenced with Osterhaus' advance up the road. Creighton's brigade was hastily moved to the front, doubled on Osterhaus' column, and formed in line upon a road on the level below the hills, at right angles with the Ringgold road, their right resting on the latter.
Cobham's brigade was drawn up in line in an open field, 300 yards to the rear. My skirmishers were immediately thrown to the front, scaled the hills, and the rebel rear guard was driven from the ridges.
The night was dark, the country difficult of travel, the deep stream of the East Chickamauga in advance of us, and we were within 4 miles of Ringgold, where the whole of Bragg's army would converge to pass through the gap on the route of the Western and Atlantic Railroad leading to Dalton. We bivouacked for the night at the foot of Pigeon Hills.
At daylight on the 27th, my command marched from bivouac, in rear of Osterhaus' division, with Cruft's bringing up the rear, and passed over Pigeon Hills and succeeding ranges. As upon the previous day, we gathered many prisoners, and came upon the bivouac fires of Breckinridge's troops about 2 milled from our point of starting.
As my column neared the creek, Osterhaus' advance had commenced skirmishing with the enemy's rear in the town of Ringgold. With accelerated pace we followed northwest of the town, which the enemy had not been permitted to burn.
At 8 o'clock my command marched quickly through the town under a musketry fire from the bridge beyond, which wounded several of my men.
A short distance beyond, the Western and Atlantic Railroad ran through a gap in Taylor's Ridge, running in the same general direction (north and south) as Mission Ridge, but much higher and