of his division quartermaster to-day, who inform me that Forrest is now at Philadelphia with three brigades and that Breckinridge has joined him with a division. Forrest has thirteen pieces of artillery, seven large and five small ones.
My brigade will be over the river to-day and will march toward Athens to-morrow. I have orders to communicate with Rosecrans' forces at Pikeville or the nearest point. I will probably communicate with you at Smith's Cross-Roads.
By command of Colonel R. K. Byrd:
Captain and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS, Hawkins' Station, September 8, 1863-10 a.m.
Captain P. P. OLDERSHAW,
CAPTAIN: My command was in position here at 7 o'clock this morning, about 1 1/4 miles in rear of General Wood's headquarters. The road at this point is said to be 1 1/2 miles from the base of the mountain on the right; on the left there are hills and valleys, with many roads. General Wood believes that the mountains on the right are held by a large force, and Hawkins, who lives here, in a conversation with me asked a great many questions as to whether cannon will reach from the top of the mountain (2 1/4 miles) to his house,&c. He also says there are a good many southern soldiers on the hill.
I propose this afternoon to ascertain by a reconnaissance whether this impression is correct or not.
Summerville [Summertown], on top of Lookout is a place of resort, and is connected with Chattanooga by a good turnpike, and the top of the mountain is level. If we approach Chattanooga our best route is by that place. The people say we cannot get wagons up the mountain but I don't believe them. We can, I am persuaded, get artillery up by ropes,&c. On my reconnaissance this afternoon will determine that question. All quiet.
JOHN M. PALMER,
HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS, September 8, 1863-1.30 p.m.
Commanding Second Division:
The general commanding directs me to acknowledge receipt of your dispatch of this 10 a.m. He approves of your reconnaissance, but directs that it do not start out till morning, as General Van Cleve is to make one also in the morning in the direction that one of your companies went yesterday, and he desires that the demonstrations be made nearly simultaneous. General Van Cleve will cross the valley with his brigade before day, so as to hide observation by the enemy. The general urges great caution and vigilance in this reconnaissance.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. P. OLDERSHAW,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.