War of the Rebellion: Serial 011 Page 0125 Chapter XXII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-UNION.

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us the command of the line to Decatur and affords us the opportunity of striking a blow at the enemy's great line of Mobile and Ohio Railroad.

My intelligence from Bellefonte up to last evening gives no change. My cavalry scouts are in Stevenson, and report the Tennessee bridge to be guarded by about 1,000 infantry and cavalry. I am trying to seize a small steamer, said to be on the river somewhere below Bridgeport. If successful, I think the Tennessee bridge must fall into my hands. I hope to-day to be in telegraphic communication with Jonesborough; the line is now working to Bellefonte. We have just received our first message. I will push the line to Tuscumbia as rapidly as possible, but, general, no amount of activity can protect in safety so long a line with so small a force.

O. M. MITCHEL,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION,

Huntsville, Ala., April 25, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

On yesterday, the 24th instant, it became manifest the enemy was attempting to surround my advance guard at Tuscumbia. They were attracted probably by the hope of securing 100,000 rations, received by steamer the day before. By great activity we have saved our stores, and they are now on the north side of the river, coming into Huntsville by cars. I have ordered my troops to fall back to Jonesborough, on the hither side of the burned bridge, up to which point the cars run and telegraph communication is open. As the main army has failed to occupy Tuscumbia, and I am not led to expect re-enforcements, I have occupy Tuscumbia, and I am not led to expect re-enforcements, I have decided to withdraw my troops to the north side of the river, and, if necessary to our safety, to destroy the Decatur bridge. We can easily join the main army, if necessary, by a two days' march from Athens to Florence. We hold Stevenson, and have information from Chattanooga to the 21st, at which time not more than 1,000 troops occupied the place.

The same person giving this information reports a regiment of infantry and one of cavalry at Bridgeport. Should the rains ever cease and the roads become practicable I will force the enemy to abandon Bridgeport, and will either hold or destroy the bridge, as may be ordered.

O. M. MITCHEL,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION,

Huntsville, April 25, [1862].

Major-General BUELL:

Your dispatches of the 19th and 23rd have reached me over the wires from Jonesborough, opened by my order there, and telegraphed by Colonel Turchin, now at that place. He reports the enemy under General Price in force threatening Tuscumbia, and has fallen back to Jonesborough, and will probably retreat to Decatur. all caution and prudence has been exercised and without accident to the brigade. I only occupied Tuscumbia as an outpost, but will jeopardize [nothing]. Brigade is south of the river, and trains in readiness to move the troops.