ficient force, from Triune to Franklin, to drive Van Dorn from his present position. A movement to re-enforce him on this side of the river is impracticable. I could move my command promptly to Columbia, but the pike would be left unprotected.
Most respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
JNO. A. WHARTON,
NEAR SALEM, TENN., March 20, 1863.
GENERAL: In obedience to instructions, I have scouted the Middleton and Salem road, and found the enemy's pickets at Mr. Butler's, about 1 mile from Salem. My advance guard, under Lieutenant [C. M.] Pearre, drove in their cavalry pickets back upon their infantry line. Their pickets are only half mile from their encampment. There is a brigade of infantry here, with some cavalry. After driving in their pickets on this road, I made an attack on their pickets on the Murfreesborough and Columbia dirt road, at Stone's River, about 4 miles from Murfreesborough. I was charged by 200 or 300 cavalry, and forced to fall or retire back, but not until after charging the head of their column and driving them back upon the main body. Their lines are very well guarded. It was impossible to ascertain whether they are evacuating Murfreesborough or not. Citizens report that they are. The Union people are leaving. I will probably not return to camp to-night.
M. L. GORDON,
Captain Wharton Scouts.
HEADQUARTERS WHEELER'S CAVALRY, Via Fosterville, March 20, 1863-8 p. m.
GENERAL: I intend driving in the pickets on our entire front early to-morrow, unless otherwise directed.
HEADQUARTERS, Murfreesborough Pike, March 20, 1863.
Lieutenant General LEONIDAS POLK,
GENERAL: On Wednesday I received numerous reports from reliable persons who came from the enemy's lines, to the effect that the enemy were moving troops from Murfreesborough to Nashville; also that they were sending trains loaded with troops from Nashville to Gallatin; also that they had for some time been sending stores of all kinds north from Nashville, and also that the general impression prevailed that the enemy were falling back, at least as far as the Cumberland, and were to garrison more strongly various points in Kentucky. At the same time I received official reports from General Martin that the same opinion prevailed in his front.
On first hearing these reports, I directed General Morgan to prepare