War of the Rebellion: Serial 055 Page 0754 KY., SW. VA., Tennessee, MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA.

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[CHAP. XLIII.

At 3 a.m. on the 27th, I received the following order, viz:

Major-General CLEBURNE:

GENERAL: The general desires that you will take strong position in the gorge of the mountain and attempt to check pursuit of enemy. He must be punished until our trains and the rear of our troops get well advanced. The reports from the rear are meager and the general is not thoroughly advised of the state of things there. Will you be good enough to report fully?

Respectfully,

GEORGE WM. BRENT,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Leaving staff officers to conduct the troops across the river to the position designated, I went forward myself to examine the ground and form a plan for its defense.

The town of Ringgold, a place of 2,000 or 3,000 inhabitants, stands on a plain between the East Chickamauga River and the range of hills known as Taylor's Ridge. It is on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, about 20 miles southeast of Chattanooga. Taylor's Ridge, which rises up immediately back of the town, runs in a northerly and southerly direction. Opposite the town the ridge is intersected by a narrow gap, which admits the railroad, a wagon road, and a good sized creek, a tributary of the Chickamauga. The creek hugs the southernmost or left-hand hill as you face Ringgold. The wagon and railroad run close to the creek. At its western mouth, next to Ringgold, the gap widens out to a breadth of over 100 yards, leaving room for a patch of level wooded land on each side of the roads. The gap is about half a mile through, but the plain immediately in front of the creek that three bridges, or three fords, have to be crossed in the first half mile of road leading from the gap to Dalton. It will be perceived at once that this was a most dangerous position to be caught in if the enemy should succeed in turning either flank.

The gap and the hills on either hand are thinly wooded, except the base of the right-hand hill, along which, next to the town a heavy fringe of young timber extends from the gap northward for 300 or 400 yards. Behind this fringe of trees I placed two regiments of Smith's (Texas) brigade, Colonel H. B. Granbury, Seventh Texas, commanding; the Sixth, Tenth, and Fifteenth Texas (consolidated), Captain John R. Kennard commanding, on the left; the Seventeenth Eighteenth, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-fifth Texas Dismounted Cavalry (consolidated), Major W. A. Taylor commanding, on the right; the remaining regiment of the brigade, the Seventh Texas, Captain C. E. Talley commanding, I sent to the top of the right-hand hill, with instructions to keep out of view, but watch well the right flank of its brigade at the foot. On the precipitous hill to the left of the gap and creek I placed the Sixteenth Alabama, Major F. A. Ashford commanding, of Lowrey's (Alabama and Mississippi) brigade, with instructions to conceal itself and guard well the left flank. I also sent on the face of this hill fronting Ringgold three companies of the Sixth and Seventh Arkansas (consolidated) of Liddell's (Arkansas) brigade, under charge of Lieutenant Dulin, of General Liddell's staff. For the defense of the gap itself. I disposed the rest of the Arkansas brigade, under command of Colonel D. C. Govan; The Fifth and Thirteenth Arkansas (consolidated) Colonel John E. Murray commanding, I placed in a small ravine running across the mouth of the gap from the right-hand hill to the railroad embankment; the Eighth