force of the enemy, reported to be at La Vergne, I dispatched Colonel E. N. Kirk, Thirty-fourth Illinois, commanding Fifth Brigade, to make a reconnaissance in that direction. His report is herewith inclosed.* Quite a heavy firing was kept up on both sides. There was also heavy firing on the Nolensville road, which occurred during a reconnaissance, made by a portion of Sheridan's command. Being averse to unnecessary expenditure of ammunition, and feeling sure that it might create alarm in the city, I particularly enjoined on Colonel Kirk not to fire at all if he could avoid it. I think there was entirely too great a waste of ammunition. The reconnaissance the presence of cavalry at La Vergne, probably the same which has occupied that placer for some time under Wheeler. One of the prisoners states that on Stewart's Creek, some 5 miles beyond La Vergne, there has been an encampment of infantry; what force he does not know; thinks a brigade. Another prisoner states that, while the skirmish was going on, he saw a cavalryman of his company, who had just come from Stewart's Creek, and reported that their infantry was moving, and was within 2 miles of La Vergne. This is all I know of the approach of the enemy rumored in the city. The 3 prisoners will be sent you early the morning. One of the prisoners states that Wheeler commands six regiments, viz, the First and Third Alabama, Robertson's battalion, Faulkner's battalion, Douglass' battalion, Hagan's battalion.
In my letter of yesterday I referred to the great length of my picket line. It requires the best part of a day to make the circuit. My left is picketed quite close to camp; the front line extends to join Sheridan's line. Behind me, 1 1/2 miles I understand that Crittenden's three division are posted, on Mill Creek, with another picket line. The total length of it does not, I suppose, equal that of my single division. I respectfully urge the location of this division to the right of the present position, nearer to Sheridan's; unless it be expected that we should meet the enemy on this road, when I would advise the selection of other ground farther to the front. I am not sufficiently conversant with the ground in front to venture an opinion as to where we could go with more advantage. It seems to me, however, that, in view of a certain contingency, some change ought to be made.
Before closing, I desire to be acquainted with the construction which I should place on that part of General Orders, Numbers 21, Headquarters Fourteenth Corps, limiting the supply train of a division to 50 wagons. My quartermaster seems to think that the 50 wagons include the ammunition train. Now, as my ammunition train numbers 35 wagons, I should have 15 wagons left for supply train. Is there not a mistake on his part?
In case a charge of location is to be made, I would like to know it early, so that the movement can be obedient servant,
J. W. SILL,
Major-General A. McD. McCOOK,
Commanding Right Wing.
* Not found.