DECHERD, August 28, 1862.
General THOMAS, McMinnville:
Twenty-five thousand rations have already been ordered to you by rail. Do not encumber yourself with any more wagons as long as you can get supplies by railroad. You must depend entirely on the country for forage, such as you can get.
It is reported that Bragg is already in the Sequatchie Valley with most of his force. I estimate that it may be as low as your informant reports. The greatest force we can concentrate anywhere in advance of Murfreesborough is about 27,000 or 30,000 and it may therefore be necessary for us to fall back on that point. The nearest point at which we could concentrate is Hillsborough or Manchester. If we concentrate at McMinnville, as you propose, Bragg, could move to this point, and in four days have railroad communication with his base through Bridgeport. It is not possible to concentrate so as to throw our whole strength against the enemy short of Murfreesborough, and I am arranding with that view.
I have ordered McCook in advance of Altamont with his division. If the enemy should advance he will fall back slowly on Beech Grove, probably by the Hickory Creek road, or else by Hillsborough and Manchester. Under similar circumstances you will fall back slowly on Murfreesborough unless you receive other orders. You must keep the enemy back as long as possible, in order to give time for our trains and detachments on this line to get up.
These arrangements seem to me necessary, but I shall be glad to have your views.
Once concentrated, we may move against the enemy wherever he puts himself if we are strong enough.
D. C. BUELL.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF THE OHIO,
McMinnville, Tenn., August 28, 1862.
Brigadier-General SCHOEPF, Pelham:
Messengers with dispatches from your headquarters arrived here about 2 o'clock this morning. General Thomas, with Fourth Division (Nelson's), occupies this place. General Wood, Sixth Division, is encamped 2 1/2 or 3 miles distant, on the Manchester road.
The general with the two above-mentioned divisions left this place last Sunday morning (24th) for Altamont, arriving at an early hour on Monday (25th), expecting to meet the First Division and Colonel Sill's brigade. Found no water; a desolate country, destitute of vegetation, and a mountain road almost impassable before reaching it.
No enemy was found nor reports of them on that road. Remained there until 5 p.m. and returned to the foot of the mountain. On the 26th instant (Tuesday) marched to this place.
In your next communication please state where you are. It is presumed that you are with your division at Pelham, but nothing indicates that fact in your communications.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[GEO. E. FLYNT,]
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.