Second Missouri, Twenty-ninth, Fifty-first, and Sixty-eighth Indiana, One hundred and eighth Ohio, Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania, and Fourteenth U. S. Colored Troops; in all, 1,800 effective. I was much pleased with the conduct of my entire command. Colonel Laiboldt, Second Missouri Volunteers, commanding Dalton, is entitled to especial credit for his stubborn and spirited defense of the place previous to being re-enforced. For more detailed accounts I beg to refer to the accompanying sub-reports. The same day, August 14, the enemy caused the surrender of a small garrison (detachment Seventeenth Iowa) at a block-house between Dalton and Tilton, and destroyed some railroad track between those stations. I have ordered, through General Smith, to whose command the seventeenth Iowa belongs, an investigation and report of the facts attending the surrender, but have not yet received the report. I am inclined to the belief that the surrender was made without a pretext for its necessity.
At 1 o'clock on the 16th the enemy, some 500 strong, attacked a small garrison at Graysville, but soon withdrew beyond the reach of musketry, and after tearing up some half a mile of track, retired by way of Parker's Gap. The enemy had now left out line of communication to the front and were moving toward Knoxville. They had not captured an engine or car. The entire damage to the road cut the evening of the 14th was repaired on Thursday, the 8th [18th], and to this date has hardly been interrupted for a moment. I am clearly of the opinion that Wheeler's command was not less than 6,000 strong, moving in detachments of from 1,000 to 3,000 men within supporting distance of each other. The force that attacked Dalton, I think numbered 3,000. On the 17th a detachment, several hundred strong, was diverted from the line of march taken by the enemy and menaced Cleveland, but did no damage other than destroy several hundred yards of railroad track. I inclose the official report of Colonel H. G. Gibson, commanding at that place, and with him keenly regret the casualties in his command, inasmuch as I am informed that they were wholly the result of the premature explosion of one of our own shell, but whether from inexperience in handling or from defective construction of the shell I am unable to state. I think Colonel Gibson has forgotten to mention this fact in his report. On the 22d, learning from scouts that Wheeler was between the Hiwassee and Little Tennessee Rivers, and that those streams were not fordable at that time, I determined to try and force him to an engagement or to flee to the mountains toward North Carolina. I therefore ordered the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, then at Dalton, together with a detachment of the Sixteenth Kentucky, then at Cleveland, to patrol the Hiwassee as far up as the base of the mountain,a nd guard all practicable fords, at the same time communicating a wish to General Ammen that he should guard the Little Tennessee to the same purpose. The next day, August 23, I proceeded to Calhoun, Tenn., taking such troops as I could spare from the garrison at Chattanooga and Cleveland, with a detachment of General Smith's command, some 1,500 strong, giving me a total of at least 3,600 men. I moved in the direction taken by Wheeler as far as Madisonville, when, learning that he had crossed the Little Tennessee, and that his advance was beyond the Holston, I returned to Chattanooga, where I arrived the evening of the 28th. The enemy had destroyed a large amount of railroad track between Calhoun and Loudon; he had attacked