Just received from Colonel Harrison. He hast not received the orders to join Atkins sent him 16th. I have repeated the order and have it ready to send. Have you any further instructions?
HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH AND TWELFTH CORPS, Stevenson, Ala., October 18, 1863.
Lieutenant ColonelC. GODDARD,
Assistant Adjutant General, Army of the Cumberland:
COLONEL: It is mu duty to call the attention of the major-general commanding to the irregularity which seems to exist along our line of communications. Where the operations, welfare, and safety of an army depend upon a single track of railroad, over an extended line, it is necessary that its management should be characterized with the utmost vigor and system. The frequent accidents and the irregularity noticeable in running the trains indicate that such is no the case on the road between this and Nashville. I have been furnished with a time-table, but the running of the trains no more conform to in than do to be blowing of the winds. For instance, cars that are due at 5,45 p.m., arrive at any time between that hour and 11 p.m., if they arrive at all. I am informed that the same is true of other trains. This should not be, and I respectfully suggest that the general enjoin upon the officer intrusted with the superintendence of this branch of the military service the necessity of requiring his conductors to make their stations to the minute, and if they fail, to fill the place of the delinquents with those that will not. If it is found to be impossible to run the trains to conform to the time-table just furnished, to have one made that they can conform to, and oblige it to be done. In no other way can accidents be prevented and the requirements of the service be attained. If this is understood and observed, the track will always be clear at the proper time, and every one will be in readiness to adapt their movements to those of the trains. The running of private or express trains should be forbidden in all cases in which the running of the regular trains will be interfered with, and no one but the superintendent should be permitted to give an order relating to this subject in any case whatever. I am informed that the great delays and irregularities are caused by the trains stopping at the various stations and telegraphing in advance to see if the coast is clear. This is child's play, and nothing can stop it but the most positive and stringent orders from headquarters. It will be observed from the captured mail that Wheeler is at Courtland awaiting orders from General Bragg, and also that it is anticipated that when they move again it will be for a continuation of the raid in Middle Tennessee. It further appears that Wheele's force numbers between 2,000 and 3,000. This is probably an underestimate, as the enemy is quite as likely to err on this side as our officers on the other. He probably had between 4,000 and 5,000 men. General Mitchell informed me that he had 10,000; also that Roddey had recrossed the river. I have good reason to believe that Roddey is still on the north side of the Tennessee, and have so informed General Crook in the hope that he will be able to strike his trail, follow, and destroy him. Colonel Stokes was here on the