DUNLAP, August 23, 1863-12 m.
Chief of Staff:
Minty dispatches* from Smith's Cross-Roads, dated 3 a. m. this morning, that the enemy is crossing at Blythe's Ferry and at the mouth of Sale Creek, He moved back in direction of Poe's Tavern. A small force of Forrest's men attacked his forage party yesterday, and were driven through Washington by his scouts there. He further reports that five pieces of artillery and 900 men arrived at Blythe's Ferry night before last. All this is on the information of six men that he sent to the river last night. He gives no intimation as to the number that had crossed, and I have dispatched Van Cleve to know if he retired on Poe's by his orders; if not, he must reoccupy his position as indicated in general orders to watch the movements of the enemy, and if forced to retire, must do so on Pikeville. I am much annoyed at this movement of Minty's, as I deem it of the utmost importance that he should be with Van Cleven.
I am anxious to hear from you about supplies at Tracy City.
CAMP SECOND BRIGADE, 19 MILES FROM CHATTANOOGA,
August 23, 1863. (Via Cowan, 8.30 a. m., 24th.)
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: Yesterday evening, owing to the condition of the atmosphere, the camp of the enemy could be located very correctly by the smoke. There seem to be but few troops near Chattanooga, there being but one camp and that not large. The next encampment is at the mouth of Lookout Creek, and still another can be seen at Kelley's Ferry; then up the river the first force is at Friar's Shoals, 4 miles from Chattanooga, one at Harrison's and still another at Cleveland, which is not on the river, but on the railroad. Judging from the smoke the force at all these points is about equal to the force in the city, except that at the shoals, which is only a regiment From the best information we can get there is one brigade at each place named; this would make about five brigades in all in this part of the country, say 20 miles of front.
So far as the city is concerned it is impregnable from the front. There are but two guns at the shoals. The river is fordable there. From where I am now encamped there is an old road, called the old pike, running to the right, and strikes the river at Williams' Island; this is a very good way, by a little work, and is the only crossing place not guarded by the rebels. I have had some fears they may some night throw across a force there, to cut off our advance and place a strong picket on it.
Colonel Wilder had another bout with the batteries at Chattanooga, and the sharpshooters have frequent and sometimes sharp work, so they say. I cannot vouch for the fact.
I now think the enemy is of the opinion that an attack is not to be made in this direction with a large force, and have consequently left at Chattanooga, and at each of the crossings, only sufficient force to
*See Minty to Otis, p. 139.