CAMP SEWELL, September 24, 1861.
General W. S. ROSECRANS:
I myself found the distance from Camp Lookout about two miles farther than I expected to go, but at Walker's, two miles back, the position was good only to defend against a force coming up the valley, and to come on was a necessity, while I regarded it as no more indication of our plans than to occupy any portion of the mountain top. The position the enemy now hold is quite strong in front. They hold a ridge which commands the road for nearly half a mile, and have a battery apparently of one rifled 4-pounder, one smooth sixer, and a mountain howitzer. These they used this morning. The advanced guard drove them back from their first position where the howitzer was placed to their works on the crest of Little Sewell, about two miles distant from this point. An intermediate ridge one ach side, right and left, intervenes between us and them, the points of the ridges lapping by each other, and the road winds around and between them. The intermediate ridge on the left has a road running along its crest, which is said to be barely passable for wagons. The crest they are on is thickly wooded, and I am not yet sure whether it can be reached so as to flank them. None of our men were hurt, but the enemy carried a number from the field. I cannot satifactorily estimate their force, but give credence to a report that it is the whole which formed Wise's brigade.
J. D. COX,
SEPTEMBER 24, 1861.
Brigadier General J. D. COX,
You have by mistake got too near for anything but fighting unless the country between you is very forbidding. Nevertheless you will take every precaution not to be drawn into a fight. Remember if the [enemy] have made a stand, they must have been re-enforced. They will at least teach you the lesson of precaution not to move until your front has been thoroughly examined. Report fully to-night on the nature of the country on your front and flanks and all the by-roads by which the enemy could surprise you.
W. S. ROSECRANS.
[SEPTEMBER 24, 1861.]
General W. S. ROSECRANS:
The enemy has withdrawn the chief part of his force this evening from this position, and I suspect the whole will be gone before morning. Our rifled cannon practice was good. We dismounted their howitzer and killed a number of their cannoneers. They were seen carrying others from the field. Had we not come to this point they no doubt would have reoccupied the fortifications at Walker's, and it might have cost many lives to take the works. We came here in the nick of time, in my judgment, and are in no danger from their force. I sent you this p. m. some description of the country in front. On our left are long continuous ridges separated by ravines. About a mile and a half in front of our right is a bald hill, which is about the same distance