HDQRS. 16TH REGIMENT TENN., VOLS., DONELSON'S BRIGADE.
June 3, 1862
Major GEORGE WILLIAMSON,
MAJOR: In accordance with the order of Major-General Polk, my regiment (conducted by Captain Rucker) destroyed Smith's Bridge at daylight on Friday morning. The timber was cut by Captain Saffarans' party, and the road effectually blockaded. Captain Yerger, with his company of cavalry, reported, and scouted up and down the river for several miles. No artillery reported, and I was satisfied to be without it.
On Saturday a citizen scout reported 200 Yankee cavalry picketed about a mile from the bridge on the road which I came; and that the horses were very poor and the men looking badly. He informed them of my force at the bridge. I sent him to find an open road to their rear, which he promised but did not return, and I heard nothing more of the enemy in that direction.
On Saturday evening I was informed by a citizen that up to that time no enemy had appeared at Chewalla or near there.
On Sunday, about 1 o'clock p.m. I received a note from Colonel Hunt, stating that the enemy were rebuilding the bridge at Danville,and that he and Colonel Deas had agreed to march at 4 o'clock, to prevent being cut off, asking my co-operation, to which I consented.
My regiment marched at 5 o'clock, leaving Captain Yerger's company remain until dark. I fell in with Colonel Clanton's regiment of cavalry near Kossuth, who continued in the rear throughout the march. Colonels Hunt and Deas were not overtaken until after midnight.
Information of the enemy on our left was received from citizens and scouts, and about 1 mile beyond Blackland a body of 2,000 of the enemy's cavalry were reported as marching on that point. A consultation was had between Colonels Hunt, Deas, Adams, Slemons, Clanton, and myself, when it was determined to march forward and fight whatever force might appear. We saw nothing of the enemy, but I am sure he had active scouts on our left and a considerable force 4 or 5 miles from Blackland.
It is 30 miles or more to Smith's Bridge the route I came. I reached General Bragg's camp about 4 o'clock p.m. yesterday evening. The men being exhausted, we camped, and came on this morning. I had a rear guard with the strictest orders, yet 7 men are missing, and as they are strong men (with one exception), it is feared that they have fallen out of ranks until the regiment passed, and afterward took the wrong road.
About 80 axes were left upon the road by Captain Saffarans' party.
I brought forward 12, threw 12 into the yard of Albert Jones, near Kossuth, and deposited the others with a planter named Spence, near Smith's Bridge.
My men captured a man near Smith's Bridge, believing him to be a Yankee; he denied having been in either service. When we came to General Bragg's camp he admitted that he belonged to the First Louisiana Regiment. I have him yet in charge, and should be glad to get rid of him.
I am, major, very respectfully,
JOHN H. SAVAGE.
Colonel Sixteenth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers.
37 R R-VOL X, PT II