Reports of Brigadier General Absalom Baird, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division.
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Ringgold, Ga., May 2, 1864.
GENERAL: In obedience to your orders I sent General Kilpatrick out this morning upon the Tunnel Hill road. I likewise sent Colonel Van Derveer with his brigade to support him. Before starting I posted General Turchin in front of the gap, with a portion of the Third Brigade, and directing him to take charge of matters here, accompanied the column myself. General Kilpatrick drove the outposts of the enemy without great opposition from their ordinary positions to Tunnell Hill, and he himself immediately reached the crest this side of the village, at Smith's house, which is almost within musket range of the town. From this point he sent back word that the enemy had deployed himself in large force beyond the village and on Tunnel Hill ridge and asked for the assistance of the infantry as he might otherwise find it difficult to withdraw his skirmishers, some of whom were dismounted men. I immediately went forward with four regiments, having found it necessary to post three out of the brigade to guard important avenues of approach upon our rear and flanks. Arriving at Smith's house I saw the lines of rebel troops stretching along the ridge for a long distance, and a line in the low ground at its base. Some of these men were on foot, but I suppose them to have been dismounted cavalry. A battery was likewise reported by the signal officer as visible on the ridge. I was informed by the family of my guide, Terrell, that no change had taken place in the rebel force about Tunnel Hill, and that none was known to have taken place at Dalton; on the contrary that the enemy had been strengthening his works at Buzzard Roost by damming up the creek and otherwise, and apparently intended to stand there. I was satisfied from what I saw that no material portion of any of the enemy's force had been withdrawn, and not feeling authorized to attack so strong a position with four regiments of infantry I determined to withdraw. The cavalry being at the time collected in masses in the open field, within range of artillery, I hastened to send it to the rear and back to camp, posting a line of infantry in its place. This done, I soon after withdrew with but little molestation. A small party followed my rear guard and exchanged shots with it, but without effect, and the reconnaissance was successfully terminated. I had in all about 10 men wounded; 2 I am told, mortally. The loss of the enemy is not known but we learned that after the previous reconnaissance 15 wounded rebels were taken to Terrell's house. I was also told that the railroad is still running to Tunnel Hill.
I must commend to the major-general commanding the fine soldierly qualities displayed by both General Kilpatrick and Colonel Van Derveer in my two reconnaissances.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier General W. D. WHIPPLE,
A. A. G. and Chief of Staff, Dept. of the Cumberland.