Woodsonville, with which Terry's cavalry had a successful encounter on the 17th instant, in which we had the misfortune to lose the gallant leader of it. Their forces in heavy masses are stationed at Woodsonville, Bacon Creek, Nolin, &c. There is also a corps of about 6,000 men at Columbia, which is being rapidly re-enforced. There is another considerable force at Lebanon, at the terminus of the Louisville Railroad, and another at Somerset. The banks of the Green River from Munfordville down are unoccupied, as the country is quite rugged, except by a force under General T. [L.] Crittenden. These dispositions of their troops are in accordance with information received from several sources, and lead to the belief that a forward movement will very soon be made in this direction, but at present I can only conjecture whether they will make their attack here or turn my right, or, relying upon their superiority of numbers, attempt both at the same time.
If Floyd's brigade, from Virginia, and Bowen's division, en route from Columbus, reach here, as I expect, in a few days, they will be compelled to attack me here. With my force thus considerably increased I do not think they will attempt to turn my position.
General Hindman, with his brigade of Hardee's division, is at Bell's, on the railroad and pike, with Swett's battery. His front is covered with the Texas and Arkansas cavalry. Breckinridge, with his brigade of Buckner's division, is at Oakland, 10 miles in rear of Hindman, with Morgan's cavalry in the direction of Brownsville. Helm, with his regiment of Kentucky cavalry, has been ordered back to Skegg's Creek Bridge and the Barren Bridge, on the route from Scottsville to Glasgow. His scouts keep the country under observation towards Woodsonville and Columbia. Should the enemy move in force on this route, the bridges across the Barren and other streams towards Glasgow will be burned. The remainder of the divisions of Hardee and Buckner, and the sixty days' State troops of Mississippi, recently arrived, under the command of Major General R. Davis, are stationed here, my whole force amounting, as before remarked, to 17,000 men. A brigade under General Clark is posted at Hopkinsville to guard against the movements of the enemy on Lower Green River, towards Clarksville, and to follow their movement should they attempt to co-operate with the movements of the enemy in my front. His force should be much greater for these purposes.
The measures adopted at Columbus render that place comparatively secure from any immediate attempt of the enemy. The position of General Zollicoffer on the Cumberland holds in check the meditated invasion and hoped-for revolt in East Tennessee, but I can neither order Zollicoffer to join me here nor withdraw any more force from Columbus without imperiling our communications towards Richmond or endangering Tennessee and the Mississippi Valley. This I have resolved not to do, but have chosen, on the contrary, to post my inadequate force in such a manner as to hold the enemy in check, guard the frontier, and hold the Barren till the winter terminates the campaign, or, if any fault in their movements is committed or his lines become exposed when his force is developed, to attack him as opportunity offers. If the campaign closes without any striking success to their arms and without any impression on our territory, the North must shrink disheartened from the contest, and, with embarrassed relations, if not hostile attitude, towards England, the first great step towards our independence is gained. The contest here must be relinquished for the winter by the enemy or a decisive blow soon struck; to make the latter is their true policy.