War of the Rebellion: Serial 023 Page 0221 Chapter XXVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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[JULY 28, 1862.- For Townsend to Buell, inclosing letter from Michel to Stanton, of July 26, in reference to return of slaves to their masters, see Watson to Mitchel, October 7, 1862, p.583.]

CORINTH, July 28, 1862.

Major-General BUELL:

Colonel Sheridan drove rebel pickets at Baldwyn to-day; captured a captain and a mail-carrier with 30 private letters on him. On opening he says they show the enemy moving in large force on Chattanooga. I send this for fear the lines may be cut. Will telegraph you when the letters arrive from 20 miles in the front.

ROSECRANS.

HEADQUARTERS,

Huntsville, July 28, 1862.

General ROSECRANS, Corinth:

Does your information show that the forces concentrating at Chattanooga are old troops or new? What troops are they and who are the generals? I am answering your dispatch about the Decatur route.

D. C. BUELL.

HEADQUARTERS,

Huntsville, July 28, 1862.

General ROSECRANS, Corinth:

I think the occupation of the road important to both od us. Middle Tennessee will otherwise be exposed to the inroads of cavalry from the south side of the river, against which I cannot guard. Already my communications, 500 miles long, are swarming with an immense cavalry force of the enemy, regular and irregular, which renders it almost impossible to keep them open, while every man that I can raise will be required toward the east. To leave this gap between us will also expose your communication by the river and railroad from this side of the river.

The recent raid does not indicate any serious difficulty about keeping the road open unless the enemy brings a considerable infantry and artillery force against it. That he cannot conveniently do nor can he do it without warning if proper vigilance is kept up. One company properly stockaded can protect any bridge on it, and a guard train running frequently and carrying about 50 men will keep it open. If stockades had been built promptly, as I ordered, the recent disgraceful result would not have occurred. As it was, one of the guards was captured and two others retreated scarcely if at all firing a gun. Another little band of 25 under a gallant officer stood their ground and drove the enemy off, but had 2 killed and 12 wounded, the officer included.

To open the road again a brigade should be put on it between Tuscumbia and Decatur. The citizens should be required to furnish negroes for the work. At the same time strong stockades should be built. That done, with four companies at Decatur and from 40 to 60 men at each intermediate bridge according to its importance, the brigade should be recalled to Tuscumbia, where there ought to be two brigades and a regiment of cavalry.