October 11.-Marched on through Athens, making an easy march, and encamped at night on Limestone Creek, General Crook's command encamping 3 miles from Athens, on Beaver Dam Creek.
October 12.-Resumed march at daylight, and arrived at Huntsville about 10 a. m., where I gained information that the rebel General Roddey had crossed the river at Guntersville, and had, the evening previous, passed through Maysville, in the direction of Winchester and Decherd. I immediately changed the direction of my column, and moved out on the New Market road, intending to march all night and overtake him before he struck the railroad. It began to rain just before dark, and about dark my advance met an enemy, much to my surprise. I ordered them to move steadily and cautiously forward, and shortly a brisk skirmish ensued, some of the time the contending parties being so close they could distinctly see each other's faces by the flash of their guns. The rain coming down in torrents, and total darkness surrounding us, I was compelled, reluctantly, to halt and bivouac.
October 13.-I moved the command forward at daylight and found that the enemy had during the night retreated. On reaching New Market I learned that the force I had met was Roddey's cavalry, and it had, after meeting my troops the previous evening, suddenly countermarched to New Market and taken the road to Sulphur Springs and Athens. It seems from all the information I could gather that Roddey had crossed the Tennessee at Guntersville with his command, and was moving to strike our communications in the vicinity of Decherd and Cowan, probably intending to co-operate with General Wheeler in his movements. The defeat and precipitate retreat of Wheeler across the Tennessee probably materially interfered with his arrangements, for on arriving at Branchville, 3 miles from Salem, he suddenly countermarched his column and started back for the river. At New Market I threw out all my unserviceable horses, and with the remainder of the division started on in pursuit, having previously sent an order to General Crook, who was moving up from Huntsville, on the Maysville road, to strike for Athens by the nearest possible route, hoping thereby to reach there ahead of Roddey, or, at least, to strike him in the flank. I followed with all possible speed, but the heavy rains and muddy roads rendered it impossible to make very great speed, and at 3 p. m. I discontinued the pursuit, not having been able up to that time to overtake their rear guard, and feeling satisfied that before I could overtake them it would be dark, and under cover of the night they would be able to cross the river. I also sent orders to General Crook to discontinue his pursuit and move toward Decherd. At night I encamped at Kelley's Mills, on Bean Fork of Flint River.
October 14.-Marched with the First Division to Branchville and bivouacked. It rained all day in torrents, and the roads had been previously rendered almost impassable for the artillery, saying nothing of the labor the horses had in getting over the muddy roads. The men were completely drenched, and I think it was altogether one of the most disagreeable days I ever moved a column. Colonel Long, with his brigade, arrived about dark from Fayetteville, where he had been ordered by General Crook when leaving Rogersville, and encamped on Bean Creek, near Salem.
October 15.-I moved on toward Decherd in the morning, hoping to find rations for my command, but soon after passing Salem I received