JANUARY 16, 1862.
General McCOOK, Munfordville:
Can you ascertain anything about the enemy's position at Oakland-the order in which their troops are disposed? Make the effort.
D. C. BUELL,
CAMP WOOD, January 17, 1862.
My latest information was that Breckinridge's headquarters were at Wilder's house. His regiments were scattered along the pike. I will do my best. Bell yesterday was blowing up the turnpike below Cave City, and felling trees over old Lexington road, leading from Bell's to Horse Well and Bear Wallow. All well and quiet.
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
In Field, January 17, 1862.
Captain J. C. KELTON, Saint Louis, Mo.:
On Tuesday General McClernand moved from Fort Jefferson to near Blandville with over 6,000 men. On Wednesday his position was occupied by General Paine with a force of about 2,000, General McClernand moving with his brigade toward Milburn, Fort Jefferson and Elliott's Mill being occupied during this time by two infantry regiments and some cavalry and artillery. The bridge at Coathe's Mill was also guarded by one regiment.
On this day (Wednesday) I visited all the different commands except the one at Elliott's Mill, and returned for the night to Coathe's Mill. Written instructions were left with General McClernand to move on to Milburn, and from there send a dispatch across to General Smith (one already prepared), and to return to Blandville by route east f Mayfield Creek. This would take two days, bringing into Blandville to-night. Reconnaissance were made by our troops to within 1 1/2 miles of Columbus and to below the town along the railroad. All was quiet, and as yet no skirmish has taken place, unless it was with General McClernand's command, which I do not think likely to-day.
Yesterday, having my forces between me and the enemy, I made a reconnaissance of about 35 miles, taking my staff and one company of cavalry with me. I find that the Mayfield Creek is fordable at but few points from its mouth up as far as I went, and at these points the water is up to the saddle-skirts and the banks very steep.
To-day I have reconnoitered the roads south of the creek and to the Mississippi River at Puntney's Bend. Having ridden hard during the day, and finding that I should be late returning, I sent a note to Captain Porter, of the Navy, requesting him to drop down to Puntney's Bend and for a steamer to accompany him to bring myself and escort up to Fort Jefferson. On turning the point in sight a rebel gunboat was discovered and a cavalry force of probably 100 men on shore. I got in probably twenty minutes after the rebel cavalry had fled.
To-morrow I shall visit all points occupied by the Cairo forces and the next day commence a movement back to old quarters, unless orders