HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY CORPS,
Spring Hill, Tenn., April 17, 1863.
Colonel GEORGE WILLIAM BRENT,
Chief of Staff, Tullahoma, Tenn.;
COLONEL: A spy on the Cumberland in the neighborhood of Nashville, reports that all the gunboats on the Cumberland River have been ordered to the Tennessee. I have posted two good scouts below Forts Donelson and Henry, to observe all the movements on the rivers below those points, and will promptly report any movements they may observe. I have also scouts below and above the mouth of Duck River.
By a dispatch sent to you yesterday from Colonel Woodward, you will learn that transports have landed troops in the vicinity of Palmyra, to operate against him. Last night I learned that a force from Nashville had marched ut as far as the iron bridge, with a view, I presume, of intercepting Colonel Woodward when he falls back. The colonel is, however, aware of all their movements, and will not be caught. I have ordered him in. As soon as the enemy retire again, I will order another expedition to the same place to operate in the same manner.
The river is 4 feet deep on the Shoals, and falling. It is presumed that it will be fordable in eight or ten days. I am getting my horses in condition and drilling my men. Would be pleased to get the views, and wishes of General Bragg as to what he would like for me to do, and he may feel well assured that I will do all I can to carry them out. In case I am required to make a general movement with my whole corps, what had I best do with my dismounted men?
Very respectfully, colonel, I am, your obedient servant,
EARL VAN DORN,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Numbers 2,
Tullahoma, Tenn., April 17, 1863.
Brigadier General W. W. Mackall is announced as chief of staff to the general commanding.
HARLANTOWN, HARLAN COUNTY, KENTUCKY,
April 18, 1863
Brigadier General D. S. DONELSON,
Commanding East Tennessee:
GENERAL: In obedience to your order, I moved all my available cavalry from the valley of the Holston, about the 14th of March, on the way to Kentucky. I have found it impracticable to obtain stock or hogs. I have subsisted my force, however, on the country through which I have passed. My horses have been cut down very much by the journey. I have had none of the co-operation promised to me. I have not met the enemy in force anywhere except at Louisa, and there we did not engage. I have not procured any recruits. I have been in fifteen counties of this State. The people manifest no desire to rise against Lincoln's rule. I am now in the valleys of the Cumberland, in front of my district, because there is nothing to live on in the district itself. The health of the troops is good. The people of this county