To-day I am in receipt of information, which apparently admits of no doubt, that a body of the enemy, some 500 strong; had attacked the town of Huntsville, and captured a company of cavalry stationed at that place. other less reliable reports place the number of the enemy at 2,000. I have therefore made arrangements to dispatch Colonel White there with all the armed force I can command, with orders to attack them if not too strong, and if the numbers are too great to fall back until I can re-enforce him. The country abounds in mountain passes and ravines, and a position well selected can be easily held against largely superior numbers. This movement will not delay the prompt execution of your order, as the place mentioned is near my line of march to join General Zollicoffer. during the time I have been here I have continued my exertions to procure armies from every source where they were likely to be obtained, though almost entirely without success. A few days ago I dispatched one of my officers to General Johnston, at Bowling Green, with a statement of my condition, and an urgent appeal for arms of some description, if he should have any at his disposal; but he dispatches me that none are to be had. I have also sent a competent armory office to Memphis upon a similar mission. From him I learn that 500 of my rifles will be ready by Monday next. These will be forwarded immediately. He further informs me that the remainder will soon be repaired and sent on, as they are being pushed forward as rapidly as possible. Two hundred of those left at Nashville were sent me some days ago, but so imperfectly repaired as to be wholly unfit for use, as you will see from the inclosed report from the ordnance officer at this place. The repairs on these I am having completed here, and will have them finished as son as possible.
I have here now three regiments fully organized and another in process of formation, besides seven companies of cavalry, amounting in all to about 4,000 men, who could be brought immediately into the field if I could only supply them with arms. Out of my entire force I could not muster more than 300 men efficiently armed. a few hundred more have old hunting guns, but they are of little or no service in their present condition. I still hope that all my guns will be ready in a very short time. I sent to Richmond Lieutenant Colonel E. J. Golladay, one of my best-informed and most discreet officers, to represent to you more fully the true condition of my command. his suggestions may perhaps be of service in shaping the policy proper to pursue in the region of country of which I have spoken.
For a detailed statement of the operations of my command since taking the field, together with an account of all the other forces now in East Tennessee, I beg to call your attention to my report made to Major General G. B. Crittenden on the 9th instant, and by him forwarded to the office of the Adjutant and Inspector-General. Colonel Gilladay can also give you much valuable information of the strength, condition, &c., of the different commands in this portion of the State, together with the state of public feeling and real condition of the country here.
I have the honor to be, yours, respectfully,
WM. H. CARROLL,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.
KNOXVILLE, December 13, 1861.
Brigadier General W. H. CARROLL:
SIR: I have the report that the rifles, about 200 in number, which were left with me to have the bayonets attached are unfit for duty, for