tinually skirmishing with the enemy as they advanced as far as Tuscumbia, Ala., scouring the country to the river on the left and to the mountains on our right, and collected all the horses and mules that could be found.
We arrived at Tuscumbia about 5 p. m. on April 24. Here General Dodge furnished me some 200 mules and 6 wagons to haul ammunition and rations. I ordered my surgeon to carefully examine my command, and send back to Corinth with General Dodge all men who were not fit for the arduous duties before us. This reduced my command to 1,500 men.
General Dodge informed me that there was no doubt but Forrest had crossed the Tennessee River, and was in the vicinity of Town Creek; hence he agreed to advance as far as Courtland, on the Decatur road, and, if possible, drive the enemy in that direction, but if they (the enemy) turned toward Moulton, our cavalry, under General Dodge, was to be sent in pursuit.
With this understanding, I marched from Tuscumbia at 11 p. m. on the night of the 26th instant in the direction of Moulton vie Russellville. It was raining very hard, and the mud and darkness of the night made our progress very slow. One hundred and fifty of my men had neither horses nor mules, and fully as many more had such as were unable to carry more than the saddles; hence fully 300 of the men were on foot.
It was expected when I left General Dodge that the greater part of my command would be able to reach Moulton, some 40 miles distant, by the next night, but, owing to the heavy rains and consequent bad condition of the roads, it was impossible; consequently I dispatched a messenger to General Dodge, stating that I would halt at Mount Hope and wait for the portion of my command who were on foot to come up.
We continued to scour the country for horses and mules, but so many of those drawn at Nashville were continually failing, that, although we were successful in collecting a large number, still, many of the men were without anything to ride.
On the night of the 27th, at Mount Hope, I received word from General Dodge, stating that he had driven the enemy, and that I should push on. My command had not all come up yet, nor did they until about 10 a. m. the next day, when we proceeded to Moulton, where we arrived about dark. Up to this time we had been skirmishing occasionally with small squads of the enemy, but I could hear of no force of consequence in the country. All of the command but about 50 men were now mounted.
We started from Moulton, in the direction of Blountsville, via Day's Gap, about midnight on April 28. The two previous days it had been raining most of the time, and the roads were terrible, though on the evening of the 28th it bid fair for dry weather, which gave us strong hopes of better times.
We marched the next day (the 29th) to Day's Gap, about 35 miles, and bivouacked for the night. Every man now was mounted, and although many of the animals were very poor, nevertheless we had strong hopes that we could easily supply all future demands. We destroyed during the day a large number of wagons belonging to the enemy, laden with provisions, arms, tents, & c., which had been sent to the mountains to avoid us, but, luckily, they fell into our hands. We were now in the midst of devoted Union people. Many of Captain Smith's men (Alabamians) were recruited near this place, and many were the happy greetings between them and their friends and relations.