after 2 a. m., and arrived in the vicinity of the railroad about 10 a. m., having in the mean time met a scouting party of rebels and several stragglers, of which the company of the First Tennessee, under Lieutenant Couch, captured 5; but some of this scouting party, and also some stragglers of the enemy, having escaped, I deemed it best to vary from my instructions and strike the railroad farther west, thinking that they would have warning of our approach at Morrison, and that the train would be stopped before it got there. I accordingly went down the road, but out of sight through the woods, until I arrived within a mile of Lick Spittle. Leaving my command in the woods, I took 5 or 6 men, with axes, and went within 200 yards of the road, on foot, ready to tear up the track as soon as the train passed. While in this position, the train's whistle was heard within about a mile of us. We remained in this position a sufficient length of time for it to come along, but it failing to do so, I then made another detour around the place (Lick Spittle), striking the road just west of it as quickly as we could, but the train had gone back to Manchester. I then went up the road toward McMinnville; destroyed one bridge at this point, 7 miles from Manchester, and all the others between there and Morrison, except one or two small ones that would have been too difficult, and consumed too much time to burn.
At Morrison I burned one locomotive and three cars that had been run out from McMinnville, and also the railroad depot at this place. I encamped that night at Mr. Snelling's, some 2 1/2 miles northeast of Morrison, and joined the rest of the cavalry at McMinnville early the next morning, since which time nothing requiring special report from me has occurred.
My command marched fully 45 miles on this day (21st instant). On arriving in the vicinity of the big trestle near Morrison, I sent word to the commanding officer of the Second Kentucky Cavalry, through my adjutant, that he was relieved from my command, and free to go wherever he had been ordered. The officer in command, Captain [O.] Star, then came to me and said that Captain [J. D.] Wickliffe, the officer who started out in command, and who had special instructions from the commanding general, was sick; that the men had only two days' rations; that their horses were very tired (which was the case, they having come at good speed for 6 or 8 miles that day), and that he, Captain Star, did not think the expedition could be carried out. I gave him to understand that he was at perfect liberty to do as he chose, but I advised him to keep along with me, for I thought, and still think, that the expedition would have been a failure in the then disturbed state of the country. Captain Wickliffe had fallen from his horse before getting to the road. Some letters having fallen out of his pocket, and having caught the attention of my provost-marshal, he brought them to me. They were addressed to persons within the Confederate lines. In the hurry of the moment, I directed the provost-marshal to take charge of him until further orders. When I found that these were letters given Captain Wickliffe by persons in Kentucky, to be sent by him to the Confederate lines, under flag of truce, I released him from arrest, but turned the letters over to Colonel Minty.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Second Cavalry Brigade.
First Cavalry Brigade.