HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS, Shelbyville, Tenn., February 8, 1863.
Major General EARI VAN DORN, In the Field:
GENERAL: I have information, entirely reliable, that General J. C. Davis, of Rosecrans' army, left Murfreesborough several days ago, and proceeded west to Triune and Franklin, on the Nolensville and Columbia turnpike, then crossed the pike, and proceeded down the Harpeth toward the Harpeth Shoals, on the Cumberland River. The object of the expedition undoubtedly is to follow Major-General Wheeler, who has gone down on the Cumberland, with Wharton's and Forrest's brigades, on an expedition against the enemy's transports. He may propose to cut off his return.
I write to give you this information, and to say that if there could be an understanding between General Wheeler and yourself [in the absence of any other orders from general headquarters], by which you could unite in an attack on this force, in front and rear, I see nothing to prevent your cutting up and capturing the whole of it.
It cannot be more than from 5,000 to 6,000 strong, all told-infantry, artillery, and cavalry-and Wheeler's force, which must be some 3,500 at least, added to yours, would be an overmatch for such a command.
I send you this by special messenger. Captain Burt, who may be availed of to aid you in finding out the exact position of the enemy, and who will act as a general guide.
You might do well to send a messenger to General Wheeler, informing him of your whereabouts, &c., also. I have likewise sent a courier to General Wheeler, giving him the information and suggestions contained in this, and informing him that I had made this communication to you.
If such a combined movement can be made upon this column, he will let you know. In the mean season I should like to be advised of your movements.
I remain, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
SHELBYVILLE, February 8, 1863.
Colonel B. S. EWELL, Chattanooga:
Telegraph to the chief engineer the size of pontoon our wagons can carry.
If Brown knows anything of the supplies of corn and meat where he has been, let him write it immediately to me at Tullahoma.
J. E. JOHNSTON,
SPECIAL ORDERS, ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
No. 33. Richmond, February 9, 1863.
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V. Brigadier General Alfred E. Jackson, Provisional Army of the Confederate States, will proceed without delay to Knoxville, Tenn., and report to