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10 Series I Volume XXXII-I Serial 57 - Forrest's Expedition Part I

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Page 10 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA.

[CHAP. XLIV.

Cruft's division. An advance was made in three columns. After the right and left columns had moved out some distance, the center, with the mounted infantry in advance, pushed forward and met with a fire at long range from a battery of Parrott guns, the enemy's practice being excellent and succeeding in checking the column. The right and left columns were then set in motion and succeeded in flanking the enemy's battery, forcing it to retire. Davis' division of the Fourteenth Corps was started in pursuit, and came up with a heavy force of rebels at Buzzard Roost, a pass through what is called Rocky Face Ridge, which, as its name would suggest, is very precipitous and is a very strong position. Johnson's division of the Fourteenth Corps was advanced to the support of Davis' position on the evening of the 24th; Davis confronting the enemy at Buzzard Roost, supported by Johnson's division posted a short distance west of Tunnel Hill; Cruft on his left; Cruft's headquarters at Lee's house. Baird's division of the Fourteenth Corps started from Tunnel Hill at 3 a.m. on the morning of the 25th to join General Cruft on the road leading from Lee's house to Dalton, with instructions to move, in conjunction with Cruft and Long's cavalry, down the eastern side of Rocky Face Ridge, and endeavor to force the enemy out of his position in the pass by threatening his right and rear, while Davis, supported by Johnson, attacked him in front. In the mean time, Harrison's regiment of mounted infantry (Thirty-ninth Indiana) occupied a gap in Rocky Face Ridge, 6 miles south of Buzzard Roost and nearly opposite to Dalton, his instructions being to hold it as long as possible. Baird and Cruft found the enemy east of the ridge in heavy force and very strongly posted, skirmished heavily with him until night-fall, when both divisions were withdrawn, ascertaining before leaving that the enemy was in much stronger force than was supposed, and that in consequence of late movements on our part he had been obliged to order back to Dalton the re-enforcements he had sent to relieve Polk in Alabama. Cleburne's division (one of those reported to have gone south) attacked Colonel Harrison's mounted infantry command at daylight, on the morning of the 26th, and forced him to retire from the gap. Being convinced that the rebel army at Dalton largely outnumbered the strength of the four divisions I had opposed to it, and the movement against Johnston being a complete success, insomuch as it caused the recalling of re-enforcements sent to oppose General Sherman's expedition against Meridian, I concluded to withdraw my troops to the position they had occupied previous to the reconnaissance.

Baird's division was to fall back on the evening of the 25th to Lee's farm, and on the 26th take position on a line of hills about a mile north of the town of Tunell Hill, to cover the retirement of Johnson's and Davis' divisions from Buzzard Roost; Davis being ordered to take post at his old camp in front of Rossville, leaving one brigade to support Baird (ordered to take post at Ringgold), until General Baird had sufficient time to establish his picket-lines. Johnson was ordered to take post at Tyner's Station with two brigades of his command, sending one brigade to Graysville, and placing a strong guard in Parker's Gap, northeast of Ringgold, to protect Baird's left flank. Cruft was ordered to take up his old position at Ooltewah, and at Blue Springs (near Cleveland), sending a depot guard to protect his supplies at Cleveland. Long's brigade of cavalry ordered to take post at Cleveland, and keep the left flank well patrolled. Colonel Harrison, commanding Thirty-ninth Indiana Mounted Infantry,


Page 10 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA.

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