have one section of my artillery in position at Blythe's Ferry. There are also some fine rifle-pits there, and I think the position a very strong one. Doughty's Ferry is more favorable to the enemy, the hills on the opposite side commanding the river and flat land on this side, but the flat land is narrow, and there are good hills about half a mile from the river on this side. I have a regiment in charge of it. There is a regiment, battalion of sharpshooters, and section of artillery at this place, convenient to both. If now I scatter my command up to Washington I fear I deplete it too much, particularly as there is a river to cross on the line; but if I had a cavalry company to put beyond Hiwassee it would enable me to keep in much better position. Let me assure you I am doing all I can, with the means at my command, to keep posted.
In conclusion, I repeat I have no fear as to Blythe's Ferry.
I respectfully call your attention to the two ferries below Doughty's. I do not know their names, but they are the ones where Colonel Breedlove and Major Abercrombie are. I know but little of them myself, but Colonel Lowrey, who seems to be well informed in regard to them, thinks they are much more favorable to the enemy. I regret I did not know earlier that I was expected to look beyond the Hiwassee, as the lieutenant-general's note seems to imply, or I would have had a bridge built to-day. With that exception, however, I have done all I could in that direction, though I regarded it upon my own motion. My information from a citizen this evening is that there are 3,000 or 4,000 cavalry and artillery at Smith's Cross'Roads and a few hundred at Washington, but I agree with you that their main force is moving to our right, and will cross high up, or go to Knoxville without crossing at all, though I have no particular information inducing this impression. I detained a steamboat to-day going up the Tennessee, in consequence of my information that the enemy were at Washington, and will run it up the Hiwassee. Please forward this letter to General Stewart, if convenient, after Generals Hill and Cleburne shall have read it.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. D. CLAYTON,
P. S.-A squad of the enemy, supposed to be 150, appeared again at 2,30 o'clock this evening at Blythe's Ferry, and made two families living on the opposite side move out in great haste.
H. D. C.
HEADQUARTERS HINDMAN'S DIVISION,
Wauhatchie Depot, August 22, 1863-12 p. m.
Lieutenant Colonel T. M. JACK,
COLONEL: The following information has just been received from Rankin's Ferry through the officer commanding the guard at Running Water Bridge:
I have just heard by 2 of our men that have just come in from Taylor's Store that the Yankees have crossed the river at Shellmound, and are fighting a company of cavalry between that and the store.
B. H. FINCHER,
Lieutenant, Commanding Pickets.