Longstreet reached Catoosa Station the following afternoon, September 19, but found no guide waiting to take him to Bragg or give him news of the battle he could hear raging beyond the western screen of woods. When the horses came up on a later train, he had three of them saddled and set out with two members of his staff to find the headquarters of the Army of Tennessee. He was helped in this, so far as the general direction was concerned, by the rearward drift of the wounded, although none of these unfortunates seemed to know exactly where he could find their commander. Night fell and the three officers continued their ride by moonlight until they were halted by a challenge out of the darkness just ahead: “Who comes there?” “Friends,” they replied, promptly but with circumspection, and in the course of the parley that followed they asked the sentry to identify his unit. When he did so by giving the numbers of his brigade and division—Confederate outfits were invariably known by the names of their commanders—they knew they had blundered into the Union lines. “Let us ride down a little way to find a better crossing,” Old Peter said, disguising his southern accent, and the still-mounted trio withdrew, unfired on, to continue their search for Bragg. It was barely an hour before midnight when they found him—or, rather, found his camp; for he was asleep in his ambulance by then. He turned out for a brief conference, in the course of which he outlined, rather sketchily, what had happened up to now in his contest with Rosecrans, now approaching a climax here at Chickamauga, and passed on the orders already issued to the five corps commanders for a dawn attack next morning. Longstreet, though he had never seen the field by daylight, was informed that he would have charge of the left wing, which contained six of the army’s eleven divisions, including his own two fragmentary ones that had arrived today and yesterday from Virginia. For whatever it might be worth, Bragg also gave him what he later described as “a map showing prominent topographical features of the ground from the Chickamauga River to Mission Ridge, and beyond to the Lookout Mountain range.” Otherwise he was on his own, so far as information was concerned.
Shelby Foote (The Civil War, Vol. 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian)