War of the Rebellion: Serial 023 Page 0171 Chapter XXVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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TULLAHOMA, July 17, 1862.

Colonel J. B. FRY:

The troops you desired to report are here. All seems quiet along the line. A considerable force, say 3,000 strong, is reported by several loyal citizens, also by our scouts, at McMinnville. Another rebel force reported strong at Altamont. The former, all cavalry; the latter, part infantry.

The first report I deem reliable; the second lacks confirmation. The danger to our lines now lies between this point and the tunnel near Cowan, in my opinion.

I have sent the First Ohio to Cowan; the Eighteenth Ohio and Twenty-fourth Illinois, with a section of artillery and two companies of cavalry, are at Elk River. I have the country to the north and east of the lines very thoroughly scouted. McMinnville should be occupied as soon as possible by us. You will not be surprised at my disposition of the troops when I have time to give the information in full which determined my course.

W. S. SMITH.

HEADQUARTERS,

Huntsville, July 17, 1862.

General WILLIAM S. SMITH, Tullahoma:

I do not credit the rumors of a formidable advance on Nashville. I think it more probable that a movement may be made upon our communications and rear by the way of Winchester while a strong attack is made in front at Battle Creek. Be on the alert and ready for whatever may come. If that should be the case, concentrate all the force you can at Winchester or thereabouts. I wish General Wood to march on Winchester to-morrow morning. Send this dispatch to him to-night and make sure that it does not fail. I wish him to keep his command as fresh as possible, but he must make good marches, and if necessary forced marches. Advise him as to the best road and communicate with him on the march. Advise him as to the best road and communicate with him on the march. The bridges north must be protected if possible; but if the enemy should make a formidable attack the guards had better be small than that a larger force should be jeopardized. Keep in communication with Stevenson and Battle Creek. See that your guards are fortified by stockades without a moment's delay.

D. C. BUELL.

TULLAHOMA, July 17, 1862.

Colonel J. B. FRY:

Your two dispatches are received. I will communicate with General Wood immediately. If any attack should be made in the vicinity of Winchester it will probably be at Elk River Bridge or at Cowan. I have the country well scouted and am making every effort to collect reliable information. I will not trouble you with vague rumors.

W. S. SMITH.

HEADQUARTERS,

Huntsville, July 17, 1862.

Colonel SWORDS,

Deputy Quartermaster-General, Louisville:

It cannot be that the road is still required exclusively for the transportation