HDQRS. SECOND DIV., FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Camp Mill Creek, December 12, 1862
MajorJOHN A. CAMPBELL,
Asst. Adjt. General Right Wing, Fourteenth Army Corps:
MAJOR: I have the honor to report the following result of the observations of the messenger sent to Chattanooga a few days ago:
The messenger proceeded, by Hartsville to McMinnville, where he found about 3,000 conscripts, mostly from Middle Tennessee, guarded by some regular troops. He was made a prisoner at this point, and taken to Murfreesborough, to Kirby Smith, who gave him a pass by rail to Chattanooga. At Chattanooga he found railroad communication open to Virginia. No troops were going to, or coming from, Virginia by that route. But one regiment of Confederate troops was found there, and no fortifications, except the two large guns on the two high hills, which have been there about a year. He found a pontoon bridge across the Tennessee River, 12 miles below Chattanooga. It was completed last Sunday. No work had been done on the bridge at Bridgeport except what was done a long time ago, when they first advanced. No work is being done on it at present. He found a small number of troops along the road at different places, and about 6,000 at Tullahoma, under Withers. Bridgeport was being fortified, and contained about 6,000 troops. At Murfreesborough he found a considerable force of the enemy, about 60,000; Joseph E. Johnston in command. Johnston left Chattanooga for Murfreesborough while the messenger was at Chattanooga. There were very few supplies at Murfreesborough,the army there subsisting principally on corn-meal and beef, all the other supplies being shipped to Atlanta. The messenger also finds that everything in the shape of hogs, cattle, and provisions is being gathered up throughout the country and sent to Atlanta; also that some large contracts that were given for slaughtering and pork-packing at Chattanooga were abandoned, and the slaughtering done at Dalton, Ga.
His impressions are that the enemy intend to fall back, which gives great dissatisfaction among the Tennessee and Kentucky troops, who swear they will not go south of the Tennessee River, and that this feeling will prevent their being moved from Murfreesborough until they are advanced upon by your army, when they will be carried back under the excitement of being pushed by our troops. There is a considerable force of the enemy at or near Baird's Mills, on the Lebanon and Murfreesborough road. John H. Morgan was encamped about 12 miles southwest of Carthage night before last. Cumberland Gap is occupied by 6,000 men.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. H. SHERIDAN,
Gallatin, December 12, 1862
Colonel J. P. GARESCHE,
Chief of Staff, Nashville, Tenn.:
COLONEL: All the scouts I have sent out concur in the statement that Smith is not at Lebanon but is expected soon; that Morgan's headquarters are at Black Shop, at the crossing of the Nashville and Jefferson pike with the Murfreesborough and Lebanon pike. I met a gentleman to-day just from Decherd, named Emory. He is going to Nashville, and