CHAPEL HILL, April 6, 1863-4 p. m.
Lieutenant-General POLK, Shelbyville, Tenn.:
GENERAL: I have just returned from the front, and hear nothing from the enemy of interest. Three or four hundred of the enemy's cavalry were at Harpeth River this morning. My scouts report that they picket at the cross-roads, about half a mile beyond Harpeth. Their grand guard is near this point. Johnson's regiment of cavalry is camped about a mile still farther back, to the left of the pike as you go toward Triune, and nearly opposite a brick school-house. There is an encampment of infantry on this side of the town, about a mile from the cavalry; also an encampment beyond the town. I can give no accurate information in regard to numbers, but supposed by scouts to be a brigade of infantry.
Colonel, Commanding Cavalry Regiment.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE, Knoxville, April 6, 1863.
Colonel B. S. EWELL,
COLONEL: You will please say to the general commanding, in reply to your communication of the 29th instant, I inclose for his consideration the report of the chief engineer of this department with reference to bridge defenses, and that the extent of the works at these places will be reduced as far as practicable, as they are considered by General Johnston too elaborate and extended.
The entire command, as you are aware, have been but recently brigaded, and may be said now to be in transitu, and necessarily many changes of position of detached companies and regiments occur; and as exact numbers at or near the railroad cannot be given, I will now merely say that the entire infantry force of this department can be thrown to the railroad in three hours' time, with the exceptions of those at Big Creek and Cumberland Gaps, and Brigadier-General Marshall's. One of his regiments, or one that he claimed, Colonel [R. C.] Trigg's Fifty-fourth Virginia, from Eastern Virginia, has been ordered to this place.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. JACKSON,
ENGINEER'S OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE, Knoxville, April 5, 1863.
Major J. G. MARTIN,
MAJOR: In compliance with the suggestions of the letter from Colonel B. S. Ewell, assistant adjutant-general, expressing the opinion of General Johnston that the works in progress for the defense of the bridges in this department are "too extensive," I have reduced their extent at Charleston (Hiawassee River) as much as possible. When completed, the works at this point can be fully manned by 100 men. Unless both