HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, April 22, 1863.
Brigadier General HUMPHREY MARSHALL, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: We have vague reports of your being surrounded and in danger of being overwhelmed by the enemy in Kentucky. I trust the reports are not true.
I desire so to dispose of my troops as to give you all the aid I can. Will you please inform me of your present position, the circumstances that surround you, and whether you propose to remain where you are or fall back? Give me such information of your plans and wishes as will enable me to act understandingly.
Very respectfully, and truly,
(Sent through General [John S.] Williams, Saltville.)
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Tullahoma, April 23, 1863
Major-General WHEELER, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: The commanding general directs a concentration of your forces farther south, and as nearly as possible on the line of the cavalry in our front. With the cavalry in front you will connect your left. General Hardee's corps is now at Wartrace. In connection with this force, you will press the enemy back sufficiently to cover the McMinnville railway.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. MACKALL,
Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS MORGAN'S DIVISION,
Sparta, April 23, 1863. (Received April 26, 3 a.m.)
Colonel GEORGE WILLIAM BRENT,
Asst. Adjt. General and Chief of Staff, Army of Tennessee:
COLONEL; I have the honor to inclose copy of a dispatch from Colonel Chenault, at Monticello, received on the morning of the 21st, copy of which was forwarded by train the same morning from McMinnville.
I also receive a dispatch at 8 a.m. 21st instant, from Major Bullitt, commanding regiment on Woodbury road, 12 miles from McMinnville, stating that the enemy was advancing in force-cavalry, infantry, and artillery-on the Woodbury road. I immediately ordered him to hold his position as long as possible and in the event of the enemy pressing him, to fall back slowly toward McMinnville, reporting to me by courier every half hour the movements of the enemy. I also sent out a small scout to gain all possible information, who reported from time to time that a large force of the enemy's cavalry was advancing on the Petty Gap road, and another large force of infantry advancing at the same time on the Woodbury road. I sent a courier to order back the train from Tullahoma not being able to telegraph, the operator informing me that the line was not working.
At 2 p.m. I received a dispatch from Colonel Bullitt, stating that the enemy had fallen back a short distance on the Woodbury road. At about the same time one of my scouts came in, reporting that the enemy was then within a mile or two of town, driving my vedettes and pickets in before them.