HUNTSVILLE, July 11, 1862.
General GEORGE H. THOMAS, Tuscumbia, Ala.:
The telegraph, as you are aware, has been down since the 8th instant between Tuscumbia and Decatur. On that day Captain Wade, Thirty-first Ohio, commanding at Decatur, reported as follows:
JULY 8, 1862.
I was informed this evening that Colonel Clanton's regiment of rebel cavalry was at Danville and intended to make an attack on this place. I arrested two men who came into this place this evening, and they said they had left Danville yesterday, and they had passed three companies of this regiment at Moulton, and that they believed the rest of the regiment was at Danville.
The wire between here and Tuscumbia has been cut and the train which was due here at 5 o'clock has not arrived.
I have two companies of infantry, numbering 150, and can hold my position against a regiment without artillery.
Will you send some artillery here?
W. H. WADE,
Captain, Thirty-first Ohio Volunteers.
A regiment and battery from Wood's division was at once ordered to the river opposite Decatur, and General Wood went in person and prepared defense, and gave such instructions as were necessary. Captain Wade, with 50 men and a telegraph party, went forward on the 9th instant to find the break and make repairs, and the operator was to communicate with you from the break. I suppose he failed to do so. On the 9th the operator at Decatur reported that 16 miles from Decatur the water tank was burned and the track torn up. It is also Decatur that the track has been torn up and the tank burned 20 miles west of Decatur and that the wire has been cut in some places, and that this has been done by parties of rebel cavalry, the largest being reported as 65. A party of 30 burned a tank but 6 miles from Decatur at 10 a.m. yesterday. It will probably be very difficult to keep this route open as one to be used for supplies, and the labor of getting supplies across the river will be very great; hence the general will not expect and with this view it will be best for you to run a guard train over the road, say, twice a day. This train, if you can make it up, should consist of an engine and two cars and carry about 50 men. By passing it over the road it may succeed or rather may help in keeping the route open. As we will not expect supplies in any great quantities from you can use one of the engines intended to haul supplies for the guard train. The telegraph line must be kept up as constantly as possible. The most effectual protection you can afford this line is by covering the approaches to it from the south and scouring the country as thoroughly as your cavalry force can do it.
Some 80 or 90 citizens from this country about 25 miles south have come in to enlist in our army. As many more are represented as trying to get in but prevented by the rebel cavalry and guerrillas. General Wood is to-day ordered to send a regiment of infantry with the cavalry, without baggage, to cover the approach of such as desire to come in. The regiment will not go more than 25 miles nor be absent more than three of four days.
We have heard nothing of you since the wire was cut on the 8th nor of the train that was to have reached Decatur that evening. It is presumed you are looking into the difficulties from Tuscumbia and that you will do from that direction whatever the case demands. Please report in full by the bearer.