DECHERD, November 8, 1863.
Chief of Staff:
Shall I await further orders before returning to General Sherman? If not, what does General Grant think about opening the railroad from Nashville to Decatur?
JOS. C. AUDENRIED,
U. S. Army.
CHATTANOOGA, November 8, 1863. [Received 4 p.m.]
You need not remain any longer. I sent you duplicate of dispatches to General Sherman, care of General Crook, last night. Orders have been given for the repairs of road from Louisville to Decatur some days ago, and contracts are now being made for having
*See Part I, p.767.
the bridges all framed in the North and sent on to the road ready to put up. You will see from my dispatch to General Sherman that a part of his force is to guard the road for the present.
U. S. GRANT,
CORINTH, MISS., November 8, 1863.
By scout, represented to be reliable by General Dodge, just reported, I have the following information, which I think is true:
Gholson is 8 miles this side of Tupelo, with a brigade of cavalry and two regiments of infantry, about 3,500 in all. This is from a scout direct from his camp. Ferguson's brigade is at Russellville, with scouting parties at Bay Springs and this side as far as Danville. Roddey is on east side of Bear Creek, extending to Leighton, at which place there is a large rebel train of supplies. Moreland's battalion is dispersed in companies between this post and Eastport. Lee I do not hear of. The enemy have a force at New Albany, of which I hear nothing definite.
I have made the following disposition of my troops: Hurst's regiment at Grand Junction, with four companies to occupy Saulsbury; four companies of Ninth Illinois Cavalry at Middleton; Third Illinois Cavalry at Pocahontas; First Alabama [African descent], six companies at Pocahontas, also Kidd's light battery; three companies First Alabama [African descent] at Big Hill, to protect Tuscumbia bridge, and one company at Cypress Creek; strong outpost of cavalry at Chewalla; First Alabama Cavalry at Camp Davies, 5 miles south of here.
At this post, One hundred and eighth Illinois, One hundred and twentieth Illinois, One hundred and thirteenth Illinois, and Engineer Regiment, and First West Tennessee [African descent], Seventh Kansass Cavalry, Third Michigan Cavalry, and remainder Ninth Illinois Cavalry. I have also about 300 of Dodge's and Fifteenth Army Corps stragglers organized. I think this can protect road and hold this place against the forces of enemy as now advised.
I have sent a special and imperative order to Hurst, who is at Camden, near Purdy.
I am sending forward to Memphis all Government property we do not want, and all the rolling-stock of road. Shall send off my sick and refugees as fast as possible. The road, in my judgment, can only be held intact by driving off of the country all inhabitants near it. This I shall do. I shall relieve this post and the entire line of the host of traders and speculators who embarrass all of our military operations in time of alarm.
JNO. D. STEVENSON,
CHATTANOOGA, November 9, 1863-2.30 p.m. [Received 1.40 a.m., 10th.]
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
It has been impossible for Thomas to make the movement directed by me for Burnside's relief. I have directed a pontoon bridge to be