an movements of troops are alike stopped by the rain. Troops here receiving half rations. It will soon become necessary for all persons except soldiers to leave here. Shall I then return to Washington or endeavor to make my way to Burnside?
[C. A. DANA.]
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
[Secretary of War.]
CHATTANOOGA, October 16-12 m.
For fifteen hours little rain has fallen, but the skies remain threatening and the barometer still points to rain. The river has risen some 4 feet, and old boatmen predict a rise of 6 feet more. Our bridge was broken by drift-wood at 10 p.m. yesterday, but all the pontoons and chess planks were saved. The rebels sent down two or three rafts to break it, but they came after it was broken. The steamer Paint Rock and a flat-boat were employed during the night in gathering these masses of floating timber, much of which may prove useful. The bridge is not yet replaced, it being thought more prudent to wait till to-morrow when the rise will be complete and the drift will have mainly passed down.
Our couriers report that from Bridgeport to the foot of the mountain the mud is up to their horses' bellies. The mortality among animals here rapidly increases, and those remaining must soon perish. Day before yesterday the mules attached to the empty train returning to Bridgeport were too weak to haul the wagons up the mountain without doubling the teams, though they went on the easiest of all our roads, which had just been put in thorough order. General Brannan tells me he could not possibly haul away the artillery with the horses that are left.
I think I reported some time ago that all the artillery horses, except four per gun, had been sent to Stevenson to be fed, but those that are there are so far reduced that it will require a month's feeding to make them effective.
Nothing can prevent the retreat of the army from this place within a fortnight, and with a vast loss of public property and possibly of life, except the opening of the river. General Hooker has been ordered to prepare for this, but Rosecrans thinks he cannot move till his transportation arrives from Nashville, from which place it marched on the 8th. It should have been in Bridgeport on the 14th, but is not yet reported. The telegraph between there and here is broken, however, and it now requires ten to twelve hours for couriers to make the distance.
In the midst of all these difficulties General Rosecrans seems to be insensible to the impending danger, and dawdles with trifles in a manner which can scarcely be imagined. Having completed his report, which he sent off for Washington by General Garfield yesterday, he is now much occupied with the map of the battle-field and with the topography of the country between here and Burnside's lower posts. Most probably the enemy contemplates crossing in that region, but we are no longer able to pursue him, hardly to strike a sudden blow at his flank before he shall have crushed Burnside. Meanwhile, with plenty of zealous and energetic officers ready to do whatever can be done, all this precious time is lost because our dazed and mazy commander cannot perceive the catastrophe that is close