which joined before Dalton, was 11,183 infantry, 679 artillery, and 1,697 cavalry, making a total of 13,565. Subsequent re-enforcements amounted to 4,105 infantry, 115 artillery, and 1,493 cavalry; total, 5,713; making an aggregate of troops brought into the field of 19,268.
As an essential part of your plans, it was necessary, preparatory to the withdrawal of the main body of my troops from East Tennessee, to drive the enemy beyond the Watauga River, and effectually destroy the railroad bridges and track, so as to make East Tennessee secure from invasion by the enemy in force. This was thoroughly accomplished by General Cox's division, aided by the Tenth Michigan and Third Indiana Cavalry, and the infantry was concentrated at Charleston on the 2nd of May. General Stoneman's command, having to make a long march from Lexington, Ky., joined the army in front of Dalton on the 10th of May. On the 3rd of May we moved to Cleveland, on the 4th to Red Clay, and on the 7th connected with the left of the Army of the Cumberland at Doctor Lee's farm, near Tunnel Hill, occupied the gaps toward the east, and reconnoitered the enemy's position on the north point of Rocky Face Ridge. On the 8th Judah's division occupied the point of Rocky Face and the adjacent gap, relieving a portion of General Newton's division, of the Fourth Corps, which had preceded it. Cox advanced toward Varnell's Station, while Howey remained in reserve. On the 9th we made a strong demonstration against the enemy's right as a diversion in favor of operations upon his rear through Snake Creek Gap. Early in the morning the troops moved into position across the valley east of Rocky Face, Judah on the right, with his flank resting at the foot of the mountain, Cox upon the left, and Hovey in reserve, covering the left. The corps advanced steadily during the day, driving the enemy's skirmishers and capturing several lines of barricades, and finally drove the enemy into their main works, pressed them closely, and occupied their attention until dark. During the afternoon General Hovey was sent with four regiments of his division to support General McCook's cavalry division, which was hotly engaged on our left, but did not find it necessary to bring his troops into action, and was recalled in the night.
The corps remained in position, confronting the enemy's works, until 8 a. m. on the 10th, when it withdrew slowly in line of battle and took position commanding the gaps north of Rocky Face. The enemy made no attempt to follow in force. This movement was a delicate and difficult one, owing to the character of the ground, the position and strength of the enemy, and our comparative isolation from the main army. I regarded it as a complete test of the quality of my troops, which I had not before had opportunity of seeing maneuver in the presence of the enemy, and gave me the fullest confidence in them and their commanders.
The Army of the Tennessee having occupied Snake Creek Gap, General Stoneman, who had just arrived with two brigades of cavalry, was left to operate, in conjunction with General Howard's corps, on the enemy's right, and I moved with the Twenty-third Corps to Villanow on the 12th, and on the morning of the 13th through Snake Creek Gap, leaving one brigade of Hovey's division to hold the western entrance of the gap, and took position facing north, with my left resting on the slope of the mountain and my right connecting with the Fourteenth Corps. In the afternoon we advanced, in conjunction with the Fourteenth Corps, and rested for