Nashville and Huntsville Railroad. To seriously affect the railroad we should be able to hold it for at least half a day. My force is so small that I cannot make proper detachments for striking the road and at the same time fight the force of the enemy. The entire force of Wharton's and Martin's division lie between me and the railroad. I will do the best I can. If the general wishes any modification, send a courier through to-night. To make success certain I should have my whole force, Wilder at the same time making a diversion to attract the attention of the enemy.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. S. STANLEY,
Major-General and Chief of Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Trenton, September 7, 1863-8.30 p.m.
Your dispatch of 10.30 a.m., 7th, is received. The general commanding thinks it practicable for you to make a successful expedition against the enemy's line of communication. Considering the relative strength of the enemy's cavalry and our own, and the additional fact that Forrest's whole force and nearly all of Wheeler's are in the neighborhood of Chattanooga and cannot be brought to bear against you, he has the more confidence in your ability to succeed in the expedition. Even should you fail in thoroughly breaking the railroad, you would at least make a strong diversion in that direction.
General McCook has been directed to hold the pass of the mountain to cover your return, and to send two brigades as far as Alpine to aid in securing your route and forming a support. The general commanding directs you to push forward rapidly and with audacity. The severing of the enemy's railroad communication with Atlanta will be the most disastrous to him.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. GARFIELD,
Brigadier-General, Chief of Staff.
ALLEN'S HOUSE, 4 Miles from Valley Head, Ala., September 7, 1863.
Colonel A. P. CAMPBELL,
Commanding First Brigade:
You will prepare your command and have it in readiness to march at daylight to-morrow morning.
* * * * * *
By command of Colonel E. M. McCook:
(Copy to Colonel O. H. La Grange, commanding Second Brigade, and Colonel L. D. Watkins, commanding Third Brigade.)