White's Creek Springs, and also at another point 3 miles beyond called Marrowbone Creek, is a large gathering of recruits, or rather a rendezvous of rebel marauders. The hack-drivers see them and report very large numbers.
There is an uneasy or rather defiant spirit amongst the people too and apparently a confidence that great events will happen here in a short time. One thing is certain, that whatever force we send for any real purpose we are repelled by a greater force; but when large force are sent up for no particular [purpose] no enemy is seen. Thus when Miller went on two occasions with two regiments each time. In regard to Johnson's fight I inclose a scrap from this morning's paper, which coincides very well with the account of Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart, Second Indiana Cavalry, and other officers. I may add, however, that there is great disgust at conduct of Fifth Kentucky, which was cowardly. Major Winfrey commanded and is prisoner, Colonel Haggard being on duty elsewhere; and Major Winfrey as well as his officers are reported to have acted well. As to the retirement of those who escaped it is certain that they had full option of doing as they chose after they heard that Johnson had sent the flag for purpose of surrender, and probably all the others might have done likewise.
But to return to the subject of the exposure of Nashville, I admit that I am not aware of large besieging armies being organized against this place, but nevertheless I apprehend danger from the presence of these small bands who, from their extraordinary success of late are inspired with great audacity and are encouraged to conspire with their partisans within the city; nor is it improbable that they keep near the city, acting against its communications as part of a larger plan of attack to be directed toward us.
In regard to these lines of communications they continue their destructive measures. The tunnel beyond Gallatin is through material subject to drop, much of which had fallen before the wooden lining was adopted. This lining was recently burned, and the clay and rocky material has fallen to 6 feet in depth through the whole length of the tunnel, and the destructive labor is still pursued. All the bridges but one between Edgefield Junction and the tunnel are destroyed, and on the Edgefield Branch the Red River Bridge is entirely destroyed, though the other bridges (five in number) this side of Red River are spared as yet. The Engineers and Mechanics will go out with a regiment to protect them to-day, and greater force when we hear of the return of General Nelson's escort. We hope that when it returns there will be one or more of the new regiments with it, by which a guard may be placed at both ends of the tunnel.
I am, respectfully,
W. H. SIDELL,
Major, Fifteenth U. S. Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General
Louisville, Ky., August 23, 1862-11 a.m.
E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
Colonel Seawell will not muster men over eighteen and under twenty-one years of age. This will injure us immensely in Kentucky. We cannot wait to get consent. They are subject to military duty. The rebels are enlisting thousands of such in Kentucky. I beg you will order him to muster all over eighteen. It is of the first importance to us. Major-