DECHERD, August 23, 1862.
What news have you from the front? It is reported that the enemy are fortifying at Dunlap. Do you know anything of it? Spare no pains to get information.
JAMES B. FRY.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF THE OHIO, McMinnville, August 23, 1862.
I sent a reconnoitering party to Altamont on the 22d, Lieutenant-Colonel Wood commanding. He reports that the citizens confidently expected the enemy that night, but he learned from a more reliable source that their advance, consisting of one brigade, was then 10 miles beyond Altamont. Have they not mistaken our advance from Tracy City for the advance of the enemy? The party I sent to Dunlap reported no enemy there at 10 a. m. on the 21st. I have ordered the reconnoitering party out to-night in that direction.
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS, Decherd, August 23, 1862.
General THOMAS, McMinnville:
There is no possibility of our concentrating at McMinnville. We must concentrate in advance and assume the offensive or fall back, at last to Murfreesborough. I deem the former the wisest, and we will act accordingly. I wish you therefore to move by a forced march to Altamont, there to form a junction with McCook, Crittenden, and Schoepf. McCook and Crittenden started for Tracy City from Jasper yesterday. I presume they are now at Tracy City, though possibly not. Schoepf will march at once. The junction must be formed to-morrow, and any division meeting the head of the enemy's column first must at least hold it in check until a larger force arrives. One battery to a division will, I think be ample in the mountains. McCook and Crittenden have with them six batteries. Leave all of yours therefore; at least don't take more than one. It will be necessary to leave some force with them-at least two regiments, and they should be put in a strong position and covered by breastworks to-night without fail. I shall order Schoepf's batteries here to be similarly disposed of. There must be no delay or failure. The enemy's advance was at the top of Walden's Ridge, 10 miles from Chattanooga, night before last, and talked of being at McMinnville to-morrow. That is hardly possible, but they must be met at the earliest possible moment. Communicate with McCook to-night by a trusty scout. The distance is 32 miles. He may possibly not be at Tracy City. If not look for him on the road to Battle Creek. If you think best you may send your artillery to this place, which will release the force that would be required to protect them there, though if they will be safe there is some advantage in having a force at McMinnville.
Take no wagons except what will be necessary to carry rations and