[W.] Ledbetter's company, First Tennessee Infantry, as a guide, started yesterday at 11 a. m. to the rear of the enemy, to ascertain whether the enemy were leaving or preparing to leave Murfreesborough. They have just returned. They went to General William H. Smith's, who lives 3 1/2 miles from Murfreesborough, on the Wilkinson pike.
The enemy are still at Murfreesborough, encamped on the same ground occupied by our troops while there, although the encampments are larger. The sick were moved yesterday, and for several days previous, to Murfreesborough. No evidence that they were taken farther. There was a Federal surgeon at General Smith's whilst the lieutenant was there, and could have been captured if he had been a legal prize, or if his capture would not have invited aggression on General Smith.
Lieutenant Smith saw or heard nothing to induce him to believe the evacuation of Murfreesborough was contemplated by the enemy. Yesterday a small brigade arrived at Murfreesborough, from direction of Nashville. Saturday last three brigades and fourteen pieces artillery went on the dirt road in direction of Triune, and have not yet returned.
Night before last a small body of infantry was sent to Salem (no farther), to prevent my cavalry from raids in that vicinity. No troops passed south of Salem yesterday, as you were improperly advised.
A cotton buyer tells the citizens around Murfreesborough that Rosecrans cannot advance, owing to the preponderance of Southern cavalry and the consequent drain upon him to protect his rear.
I have out now four scouts; they will return to-morrow and this evening, and you shall be advised promptly of the result, and I wish you would compliment Lieutenant Smith, Mr. House, and party, as they have passed to the enemy's rear at great risk and gained reliable and accurate information.
Fifty men could have ridden as they did to General Smith's, and from there, directly on the pike, as Federal cavalry, into Murfreesborough, and I will have it done yet.
I shall have the enemy's picket at Widow Zane's (your headquarters during the battle), on the Wilkinson pike, captured.
This evening I will send you late papers.
Most respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
JNO. A. WHARTON,
P. S.-General Smith was in Murfreesborough all day yesterday.
FOSTERVILLE, March 20, 1863.
Major JACK, Assistant Adjutant-General:
We drove in pickets and made a reconnaissance of the enemy's camps at Readyville yesterday at 12 m. I could count about two hundred tents standing. No positive indications in this immediate front of a retrograde movement on the part of the enemy.
HEADQUARTERS WHARTON'S CAVALRY, Unionville, March 20, 1863-2.40 p. m.
Lieutenant General LEONIDAS POLK, Commanding at Skelbyville:
GENERAL: Your dispatch, inclosing dispatch from General Van Dorn, just received. It goes to show that the enemy deem themselves in suf-