this army in the country adjacent to it. He exhibits such profound ignorance on the subject, and has allowed his mind to become impressed with the statements of men so exaggerated as to satisfy any reasonable man they are either knaves or fools, that I can only answer by simply disclosing my inability to meet his expectations.
After the most patient investigation and laborious exertions, I know this army cannot be half subsisted here. Major Cummings and his agents assert the contrary. I can only say they will have my utmost assistance in the attempt. A full reply will be made by my chief of subsistence.
Very respectfully, &c.,
DECHERD, March 18, 1863.
General LEONIDAS POLK:
Instruct General Martin to feel the enemy closely and pursue vigorously if the finds him in retreat. Van Dorn and Wheeler have same orders. Let us be ready, as it may be a ruse to [cover an] advance.
SHELBYVILLE, March 18, 1863.
General MARTIN, Fosterville:
You will feel the enemy closely, and pursue vigorously if you find him in retreat. Van Dorn and Wheeler have same orders; but take care it is not a ruse to cover an advance.
(A copy of the above instructions was sent to General Wharton by courier, and having learned through the operator at this station that he had been unable to raise the operator at Fosterville, a copy was sent to General Martin by special courier.)
FRAZIER'S FARM, March 18, 1863-6.30 p. m.
Major THOMAS M. JACK,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Shelbyville:
MAJOR: I have just received General Polk's telegram, and the courier has this minute handed me the duplicate. Steps will be taken to enforce proper attention at the office at Fosterville. My orders yesterday were to keep close upon the enemy's pickets, and report any giving way. I will at once order out a stronger force to feel the enemy's line, and ascertain, if possible, any movement on foot. No news to-day from the front of any movement.
WILL. T. MARTIN,
CHAPEL HILL, March 18, 1863-5 p. m.
General POLK, Shelbyville, Tenn.:
GENERAL: So far have heard nothing from the party who left last night. Their instructions were to procure guides whenever they could,