whole under command of Colonel George B. Crittenden), was to make a demonstration in front; General Vaughn, with his command, was to attack in rear, while, with Duke's cavalry (dismounted) and a body of dismounted men belonging to Vaughn, Duke, Cosby, and Giltner, under Lieutenant-Colonel Alston, I was to ascend the mountain and moved won on the enemy's left. The plan was carried out with perfect exactitude, and the enemy actually attacked at the same time in front, flank, and rear. The force on the mountain succeeded in carrying a line of works, but the assault as a whole did not succeeded, most of the troops being unaccustomed to that mode of fighting.
The next day (13th) Colonel Palmer arrived, and the same night I moved with Vaughn and Duke to turn the enemy's right, Colonel Crittended following with Colonel Palmer's force, the artillery, and the dismounted men of the other commands. The enemy having foolishly withdrawn his pickets, we passed without opposition or notice through Taylor's Gap, about two miles and a half below Bull's Gap, and the enemy having evacuated the gap the same night, at one o'clock on the morning of the 14th, with Vaughn and Duke, I attacked his column near Russellville. The results of this night attack were a good many of the enemy killed and wounded, about 300 prisoners, and all his artillery, wagon trains, &c. This force was routed with much confusion, and few of them stopped this side of Knoxville.
Following to Strawberry Plains, I found strong works on the opposite side of the river, manned and furnished with artillery. The flanks of this position were well protected and it was quite unassailable in front by the troops at my command. The enemy received re-enforcements from the garrisons beyond Knoxville and probably a regiment or two from Chattanooga.
We had artillery firing and active skirmishing for several days, and General Vaughn, crossing the Holston above, made a demonstration on their rear and burned the railroad bridge over Flat Creek, but I made no serious attack on the position.
The weather now became very inclement, the streams much swollen, and the roads almost impassable. I have left General Vaughn with his command and a battery of four guns to hold the country, if possible, as far as the Plains, and have withdrawn the rest of the troops.
The enemy has been driven back nearly 100 miles, and I do not think he will attempt a campaign this winter in upper East Tennessee.
The troops bore with cheerfulness rather unusual exposure and privations, and I have to express my gratification at their general good conduct.
Brigadier-General Vaughn, Brigadier-General Duke, Colonel Crittenden, Colonel Palmer, and Lieutenant-Colonel Alston, commanding dismounted men, together with their officers generally, deserve mention for zeal and good conduct.
Major Page, chief of artillery, proved an efficient officer, and I am indebted for valuable services to Major Poor, Captain Sandford, and Lieutenant Clay of my staff.
Dr. B. C. Duke, acting chief medical officer, was active in attention to the wounded.
I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,
[JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE.]
[Colonel W. H. TAYLOR,