S. Granger for cavalry, and he replied that he had no cavalry to send, and for me to impress horses and mount men for scouts, being all the time threatened by guerrillas.
On the 2nd of October, I issued an order and impressed between 40 and 50 horses, mounted a like number of men, and sent out two scouting parties of 20 men each, one under Lieutenant Farnsworth, on the Sparta road, to go 6 or 7 miles, and the other, under Lieutenant Allen, on the Pikeville road, to go the same distance. Both lieutenants reported to me at about 11 p. m. that they had executed their orders, and that there was no enemy in front.
However, in the meantime, a large number of citizens came into McMinnville, Tenn., direct from Sequatchie Valley, among whom was Judge John C. Gant, of Cleveland, Tenn., who reported the enemy to have crossed the Tennessee River above Washington, from 5,000 to 10,000, and moving down the valley. Considering the report of these citizens reliable, I concluded to burn the quartermaster's and commissary stores, and evacuate the place on the morning of the 3rd.
About sundown on the same evening, Captain Blackburn, with Company A, Stokes' cavalry, came in and reported he had just come on the road from Tracy City to McMinnville, and stated positively that there were no enemy in force this side of Tennessee River. Upon being interrogated he stated the same again and again.
Again, at 8 o'clock in the evening, Judge Gant came into my room and I sent for Captain Blackburn and Lieutenant Heath. Captain Blackburn could not [come], but sent Lieutenant Heath. Judge Gant on one side of the table stating that the rebels had crossed the Tennessee River in force, Lieutenant Heath on the other side stated most positively that there was no enemy in force this side of the Tennessee River, and offered to pledge his right arm that there was none.
Deeming it most proper to take the statement of commissioned officers in preference to that of citizens, I came to the conclusion to not burn the stores, but remain quiet and await further information.
On the 29th or 30th instant, I ascertained how many men Surg. St. J. W. Mintzer, in charge of general hospital, had for duty. I had what old arms were at the post repaired and armed 50 or them and gave them ammunition, and on the morning of the fight sent a commissioned officer to take charge of them.
On the morning of the 3rd, at 8 o'clock, I sent out a scout, under Lieutenant Farnsworth, of 24 men on the Pikeville road, with orders to go 10 or 12 miles. Himself and command were cut off and failed to give me any information.
At 10.30 o'clock I ordered out Lieutenant Allen with 20 men on the same road; he had passed my pickets between one-fourth and one-half mile, and reported the enemy in force. I immediately drew up my command, consisting of about 270 men, together with 50 convalescents whom I had armed; this 50 men were ordered to guard two road leading by the hospital to the center of the town. Companies B, D, and G were thrown to the immediate front in the suburbs of town, Company C ordered to go on the Sparta road, entering town. Companies E and A were placed so as to guard the Manchester and Woodbury roads, and also held in reserve, in case the enemy should succeed in making their way into the center of town, to hold them in check until the whole force could be rallied together, when it was my intention to put the men in houses and fight in that position.