at Decatur, I am informed that a paroled prisoner just returned from Moulton reports two regiments of infantry, battery of artillery, two regiments of cavalry at that place. I think the force overestimated. A brigade stationed along the line at bridges and culverts are well intrenched and their position made generally strong. Care will be taken to save steamers and barges from the enemy. The weakest part of our line at present is Decatur, but we can hold it, except in case of an attack in force. No courier from you here.
JAMES D. MORGAN.
Huntsville, August 10, 1862.
Have one squadron of cavalry ready to start at 6 o'clock and go through to Florence to-night with dispatches. It will wait for answer and return without delay. It will examine Lamb's Ferry in returning to see if there are any signs of the enemy's crossing and what means there are of crossing, but will send the return dispatches with a small party.
D. C. BUELL.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE OHIO,
Huntsville, August 10, 1862.
Major General WILLIAM NELSON,
Commanding Fourth Division, McMinnville:
The dispatches by your intercepted courier did not arrive.
The main force at Chattanooga has been withdrawn and moved toward Knoxville. The report is that they are going to Kentucky. No very large force will attempt that without striking first at Nashville. In that case you are in their line of march; at least within striking distance of it. Such any attempt will of course change our plans materially, and your position, always important, becomes vitally so. It will not do, however, to change our dispositions until the intention of the enemy is fairly disclosed and then it must be done rapidly. We can concentrate upon you in three days. You must use every possible means of gaining information from every quarter. Use money as freely as may be necessary for the object. Acquaint yourself thoroughly with roads and strong positions. If they attempt to invade Kentucky it will not be with a very large force. In that case we should leave them to the management of the force we can collect to meet them there and devote everything against the main body of the enemy. If they advance upon Nashville it will be probably through Sparta, possibly through Cookville and Lebanon, and we must meet and fight them wherever we can do so to the best advantage. If they do not advance against us we will against them.
For the present make no permanent advance, but to everything that may be necessary to control the country in your vicinity and between you and Nashville. Destroy Forrest if you can. I may re-enforce you very soon. It will perhaps depend on the information that you receive of the enemy's movements in front of you.
In what way are you getting your supplies? It is very desirable to open the railroad to you. In the mean time is it not best for you to draw your supplies from Manchester?
D. C. BUELL,