here; that they know it is Crittenden's corps. He assures me that tomorrow he will be able to get further information, and more full; that he thinks he will be able to learn what rebel commanders are at La Fayette, whence we can better judge the strength of their force there.
If the rebels intend to fight there, their object is patent. It is that with the hope of inflicting a partial defeat on us and thereby destroying our plans. And such might be the effect of a defeat or reverse of our corps. Hence I think you will agree with me that we should "take a bond of fate and make assurance doubly sure" by getting up every available man from the rear. We must not suffer even a partial defeat; if we are to fight at La Fayette, can I not have my brigade now in Chattanooga? The information of my scout corresponds with other information I have heretofore reported, showing the intention of the rebels to try to give us a check at La Fayette. If they succeed in this, they might be able to assume the offensive against Thomas and McCook; and, if unsuccessful, they would continue their retreat to Rome, to make a defensive fight. I submit this for the consideration of the commanding general. What is the news from Thomas and McCook?
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. J. WOOD,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS,
Gordon's Mills, September 12, 1863-7.30 p. m.
Captain P. P. OLDERSHAW,
CAPTAIN: Three deserters, belonging to the First Confederate, Jackson's brigade, Cheatham's division, Polk's corps, just brought in by my pickets, furnish the following information:
They confirm perfectly the story of the contraband, which narrative I sent in at 7.30 p. m. of the 10th. They say that the troops were marched back on Thursday morning to this place from the direction of La Fayette, and formed in line of battle, and that the Tennessee troops especially were harangued by Governor Harris. He told them that our army was separated into three corps, and that they (rebels) had four corps; that they outnumbered us two to one, and that they would fall on and destroy two of our corps before the other corps could come up. Governor Harris further told them that he wished to make one more Fourth of July speech after the war was over, to tell how well the Tennessee troops had fought. After remaining in line of battle some time, they were marched again toward La Fayette, and encamped Thursday night near Rock Spring, some 5 miles from here.
I should have remarked that Governor Harris told the men, in his speech, that the battle would certainly come off in four days. And they further say the common talk among the soldiers was that the battle was to come off at La Fayette, or between La Fayette and Rome. They deserted from their command yesterday morning, near Rock Spring, while it was marching toward La Fayette, their brigade being next to the rear but one, which was Preston Smith's brigade. They have been skulking in the hills since yesterday morning, trying to get to us. They say it is commonly reported that Bragg's army