CAMP WOOD, December 29, 1861.
General D. C. BUELL:
The hills rise about 2,000 yards in front of me and continue in succession to cave City. To resist an attack and secure the bridge I am stronger on this side. Only one hill commands my camp, and it is about 1 1/2 or 2 miles off. I have not reconnoitered beyond the first range. I can have a beautiful play of artillery on the approach to the bridge. I can take no position in front that cannot be turned by a super for force. My cavalry pickets extend beyond the upper pike.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Louisville, December 29, 1861.
Brigadier General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Commanding First Division, Lebanon:
GENERAL: I send you a sketch of the country about Somerset which shows more of the roads than your map.* We conversed about the movement upon Zollicoffer through Columbia, and if you remember my idea it is hardly necessary to add anything on the subject.
It is for you to move against his left and endeavor to cut him off from his bridge, while Schoepf, with whom of course you must communicate, attacks in front.
The map will indicate the proper moves for that object. The result should be at least a severe blow to him or a hasty flight across the river. But to effect the former the movement should be made rapidly and secretly, and the blow should be vigorous and decided. There should be no delay after your arrival. It would be better not to have been undertaken if it should result in confining an addition force merely to watching the enemy.
Take such portion of the cavalry from Columbia as you think necessary. Draw all the supplies you can from the country and move a light as possible.
Having accomplished the object, be ready to move promptly in an direction, but wait until you hear from me, unless circumstances should require you to move without delay, as I may want you to proceed from there to the other matter about which we have conversed. Acknowledge the receipt of this by telegraph and report frequently
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. C. BUELL,
LEBANON, December 29, 1861-7.20 p. m.
General D. C. BUELL:
Have just received a dispatch from Colonel Bramlette, dated to-day. He reports a skirmish between a party of Haggard's cavalry and a large party of the enemy last night at Jamestown, 18 miles east of Columbia. Major Owsley, who commanded the party, reports that he learned from their color-bearer, who was mortally wounded, that they were on their way to Burkesville. This is confirmed by a note from a Mr. James McKintry, a citizen of Jamestown, who reports that the enemy had two regiments, and told him they were on their way to Burkesville.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
* To appear in Atlas.