at Athens, holding two brigades here, and putting one at or near Reynolds. I have with me ten day's full rations of bread and fourteen of small rations, and will store here and send trains to Columbia. All the brigades will be put to repairing the railroad and getting it in running order as soon as possible.
I trust General Grant will not leave me long, but while here I will make every effort to carry out your instructions and get the road running as soon as possible. I judge from your letter that as fast as the road is repaired from Columbia south, General Thomas' troops will relieve mine, and I can work south until I get all my force in Athens. I shall communicate with Columbia often and your dispatches will probably reach me quickest by that route.
I will to-morrow or next give you full description of the route I have traveled. I did not come by Florence but took the direct road from Gravelly Springs to the military ford of Shoal Creek, 9 miles north of Florence, thence to Lexington, thence here, and found a good practicable road most of the way. My troops are all in good condition, excellent health, and finely equipped, and are all very desirous of joining yo in the field.
I do not like to send forward the One hundred and eleventh Illinois alone; General Blair is so far ahead it might be greatly annoyed, perhaps used up. I will hold it, sending it by way of Columbia or directly forward as you may direct. They are a green regiment and not much used to bushwhackers. My column has been attacked several times but no damage done except a few wounded. I should have some cavalry as soon as possible.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. DODGE,
HDQRS. LEFT WING, SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Pulaski, Tennessee, November 11, 1863.
Colonel M. M. BANE,
Commanding Third Brigade, Second Division:
You will move with your brigade to-morrow, after supplying yourself with six days' rations, to or near Reynolds or Buford, and camp in such a position as will best protect the railroad bridges crossing Reynolds Branch and Richland Branch. It will be your duty to guard the railroad from Wales to Lynn. Protect all bridges now in repair, and make immediately heavy details to put in running order the entire road. You will draw your rations from Columbia by your regimental train and such teams as we may turn over to you.
An immediate inspection of the railroad will be made and report of its condition sent in. If there are any mills near you they will be put in running order. All depredations upon property must be immediately stopped and receipts given for all property taken.
Under no circumstances let any foraging party go out, except accompanied by a commissioned officer, and invite loyal men to bring you produce, giving them the proper vouchers. When you have to go after it, receipts only will be given. Particular attention will be paid to this. We have got to subsist off of this country for a short time, and we must therefore make it an object to the people to bring