War of the Rebellion: Serial 052 Page 0188 Chapter XIII. KY.,SW.VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N. GA.

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was to go to Knoxville to re-enforce Buckner. It was also surmised that Knoxville was in the possession of the Federals. (This was on Monday.) The troops from Tennessee in bad spirits; those from Mississippi and Georgia in good spirits, as they were "getting nearer home." Another rumor was that Johnston was to re-enforce Bragg, but he saw nothing to indicate the truth of this report. He believes the place is being evacuated, as the prisoners were all started to Atlanta, and only a portion of the rations left for present use.

Respectfully, sir,

TH. J. WOOD,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., FIRST DIV., 21ST ARMY CORPS,

August 27, 1863.

Captain M. P. BESTOW,

Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division:

CAPTAIN: In answer to your inquiry for facilities for crossing the river, I have to say there is nothing to cross with. There are three little saw-mills in the country, but they cannot saw for want of water; at most, but very little. We will have to take all the material from the woods, except what we may be able to procure from houses of rebels living near. I do not know whether it is contemplated to cross the river with a force sufficient to fight the enemy or only to cross over after they may have been driven off from another direction, or when troops shall have come up on the opposite side to cover our crossing. We cannot make pontoons without lumber; therefore we cannot build them here unless the lumber is sent from the rear. As to building rafts, that is easily done. All the tools we need are axes, saws, and augers, and plenty of cable rope. This would do well enough to cross with if no enemy was in the way. There is one other resort-to build a bridge. The river is not deep, and there is no danger of a rise for some time. My plan would be to frame bents, thus v-v, in the woods, having the timber as light as possible. If lumber could not be obtained from houses and barns in the valley for the floor, I would have puncheons split, ready for use. Such a bridge could be prepared in ten days. The inequality of the bottom of the river would have to be met by leaving length of post sufficient to allow sawing off, or to have the river carefully surveyed by sounding at night while the bridge was being prepared. I would have no sills, but let the posts rest on the bed of the river. To do this will require hewing-axes, chopping-axes, and the ordinary framing tools, such as saws, augers, and chisels. Having everything ready, this bridge could be put up in a very short time.

No marked change in the appearance of things on the other side of the river, except that the enemy are hard at work at the various crossings. They will very soon have every such place well fortified. At Harrison's they are seen to be working day and night. A deserter reports all of Hill's corps above here, extending as far up as the railroad bridge across the river; also reports Polk's corps, of two divisions, near here. A citizen reports 2,000 rebels at Kelley's Ferry; came there yesterday. From a deserter I learn that the enemy have sent all the baggage and machinery that he can spare. He (the prisoner) was in the guard-house, with many others, for desertion.