Spring. There is a great scarcity of water, with a very limited supply of green corn, in this part of Lookout Valley. The country improves after crossing the ridge.
I have ordered a reconnaissance to be made toward Johnson's Crook this morning (two regiments infantry and one section of artillery), that object of which is ascertain the truth of a report that a cavalry force is in the edge of the valley toward Chattanooga; also to gain an accurate knowledge of the road over the ridge, and secure some Confederate stores near the Macon Iron-Works.
There are two large iron-works near here. Is it necessary to destroy them? A deserter, an intelligent and seemingly and honest man, states that he deserted (this being the third time) from his regiment (Fourth Georgia) at Chattanooga two days since. At that time there were three brigades in town, a large force 8 miles south-east and another force at Harrison's Ferry.
All the military stores and important workshops have been removed. There is a prevalent rumor among some of the most intelligent citizens that re-enforcement are arriving at Chattanooga; that extensive preparations are being made to resist our approach toward Rome or Atlanta. The impression the enemy has of our movements is that our force was divided, diverging widely to flank on the north and south simultaneously; that Bragg was preparing to meet these wings in detail. The arrival of my division opposite Trenton has created surprise. A (reported) large force of cavalry was moved down from General McCook's front to watch us. All we have seen of them is 12 or 15, and I do not think there is more than 400, under command of Colonel Maudlin, who was in Trenton day before yesterday. A Mr. Gifford states definitely that Wharton's command went to Rome.
An officer just returned from the party sent out to reconnoiter in the direction of Johnson's Crook reports the capture of the following articles, viz: Large lot of spades, picks, and shovels, 29 pairs of shoes, 146 sacks shelled corn (2 bushels), 13 sacks oats, 6 kegs nails, 1 keg fuse, 2 kegs white lead, 250 sacks wheat, lot of stationery, 1 keg blasting powder, 39 sacks salt (11 sacks taken since used and destroyed by Thirty-ninth Indiana Mounted Infantry), 1 sack cotton, 1 barrel tar, 3 barrels lard.
I have set Payne's Mill at work grinding the wheat; the mill, however, is small and cannot grind more than 30 bushels per day.
I have the honor to remain, yours, very truly.
JAS. S. NEGLEY,
HDQRS, THIRD BRIG., SECOND DIV., 14TH ARMY CORPS,
Brown's Spring, Ga., September 5, 1863.
Seventy-fourth Ohio Volunteers:
SIR: The colonel commanding enbraces this opportunity of expressing his thanks to Captain Crook, Lieutenant Drummond, and their commands, for their laborious and arduous duties in repairing roads by which the troops of this entire command were not delayed