War of the Rebellion: Serial 023 Page 0164 KY., M. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXVIII.

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TULLAHOMA, July 16, 1862 - 10 a. m.

Colonel FRY, Chief of Staff:

I have concentrated a force of 4,300 men, composed of 3,500 infantry, 600 cavalry and battery, and one section of artillery. I have about three days' rations, and can go to McMinnville to intercept the enemy if Wood's division or portion of it can be advanced to this or some other point on the line of our railroad to hold it in case the enemy should sweep down this way. I heard firing in the vicinity of Murfreesborough at intervals during yesterday and up to 8 p. m., but have been unable to get any definite information from that direction. A reconnoitering party which I sent to Manchester brings a report that the enemy was at McMinnvile, 5,000 strong; if so, whether it is the Murfreesborough force returning to support I do not know. Where is Colonel Jackson and the battery? What force of ours can be fighting at Murfreesborough? Have you any information by way of Nashville that can control my movement to advantage?

W. S. SMITH,

Brigadier-General.

HEADQUARTERS,

Huntsville, July 16, 1862.

General WILLIAM S. SMITH, Tullahoma,

(Or where he may be, to be forwarded at once):

Your letter dated 12 p. m. July 14 at Tullahoma is just received. The general is greatly surprised at your orders to Colonel Hambright. Your instructions did not authorize you to draw the troops below the Duck River Bridge, and only left it optional with you to concentrate there or at Wartrace. You were not authorized nor was it supposed you would give up quietly to the enemy the railroad and bridges between Wartrace and Tullahoma. General Wood's division will be at or near Shelbyville to-night. Communicate with him and send at once by rail a guard for the Duck River Bridge. Inform General Wood what troops you have and where they are and report same here. Unless movements of the enemy render changes necessary leave the body of your troops at present and set to work at once establishing your bridge guards and having the stockades erected. Order, and as far as possible secure, strict attention to guard duty. It is of vital importance to erect the stockades instantly, and the general directs your special attention to this. Our information is that the enemy left Murfreesborough on the morning of the 14th and they are said to have gone toward McMinnville. They may strike at some other point. There were not more than 2,000. Report, so far as you know, what damage the railroad has sustained.

JAMES B. FRY,

Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS,

Huntsville, July 16, 1862.

Captain P. T. SWAINE, Athens:

Reports are not even allowed in the camps.

JAMES B. FRY,

Chief of Staff.