proceeded some miles up the road with a view of discovering any approach of the enemy or the mail train. In the mean time 1 first lieutenant and 4 privates of Grider's regiment, on their way to Nashville, were taken by the pickets.
The mail train being some hours behind time, and learning that our presence might have become known, we concluded to withdraw and return to Murfreesborough.
Shortly after leaving Gallatin we learned that a party of 20 of the enemy, in charge of 3 prisoners, were approaching Gallatin by the Scottsville road. It was determined to cut them off. Pushing the prisoners with a guard across the Cumberland we returned to effect the capture. Having taken our position on the road so as to secure the capture of all, and when within a half a mile of them, they were warned of danger by a negro, and fled precipitately to the woods, Captain Austin, in charge, making his escape on a horse cut from a buggy. It being too dark to follow, we remained, picketing the road until morning. No further opportunity offering, we commenced our march to Murfreesborough, and after traveling about 60 miles reached there about 2 o'clock the next morning.
We were made acquainted just before reaching the latter place that a body of Federal cavalry had ridden through the town the evening before and that the enemy were in large force near by. We remained about 12 miles from town long enough to ascertain their exact locality, and then passed safely through, within 2 miles of their infantry.
We reached Shelbyville about 4 o'clock p.m. to-day, the men and horses a good deal jaded.
Yesterday seven transports passed down the Cumberland, carrying the remnant of Thomas' division. As our party had not entirely crossed we did not fire into them. From all we could learn the enemy has commenced to move. A large body of cavalry was seen on the road to Columbia. It is believed that the enemy have sent a large force down the Tennessee by boats, and will also move in force across the country. It is reported in Nashville that they intend to end the campaign before June. The prisoners will be sent forward in the 3 o'clock train to-morrow. Pursuant to General Johnston's instructions I shall start early to-morrow with my command for Huntsville.
I have omitted to mention that before leaving Gallatin the engine was destroyed, thus leaving but one on the road, another having been broken up by accident a few days before.
I have ascertained beyond all doubt that Love, a man of my command who was taken prisoner in the affair of the 8th instant (since died), was shot after being taken.
The whole country through which we passed turned out in masses to welcome us. I have never before witnessed such enthusiasm and feeling; men, women, and children never wearied in their efforts to minister to [our] wants. All expressed themselves gratified at the presence of Southern soldiers in their midst. A handsome flag was presented by the ladies of Gallatin, and some accompanied us even to the ferry.
Upon our return a number of Colonel Bate's regiment were enabled to accompany us.
Deeming it important for the accomplishment of the expedition, I requested Colonel Wood to accompany me.
Very respectfully, yours,
JOHN H. MORGAN,
Major-General W. J. HARDEE,