are yet 7 bridges to build. Between Columbia and Pulaski, 6 bridges averaging 100 feet. I will finish these in ten days. South of Pulaski one bridge 200 feet, one trestle 600 feet. At Elk River a bridge 600 feet, 40 feet high. South of Elk, 2 1/2 miles,
trestle-work, 300 feet long, 30 feet high, all gone. Over White Sulphur Creek trestle-work, 600 feet long, 72 feet high gone. At Athens, and south to Decatur are 5 trestles gone, altogether reaching about 700 feet. In all other respects the road is good.
The enemy have a battery at Decatur and considerable cavalry. Lee and Roddey are near there. Wheeler has gone to Bragg. At Elk River and all points to Columbia where bridges are gone I have heavy details at work, but need tools,&c. I can put the wire in a few days. Please have General Grant give orders for the telegraph superintendent at Nashville to supply my men with what they need; also the staff department there to respond to all my requisitions. Good dirt roads and pikes lead from here to Savannah, Florence, Waterloo, Rogersville, Shelbyville, and Fayetteville; also to Athens and Huntsville, except crossing of Elk River.
I have one regiment of mounted infantry in Athens. I am living off of the country entirely except small rations. Have written you fully.
G. M. DODGE,
BRIDGEPORT, November 16, 1863.
(Received 5 a.m., 17th.)
Hon. E. M. STANTON:
I have come to Bridgeport for a few days to meet General Sherman and regulate this, now the principal depot of the Army of the Cumberland, and to complete transfer of shops and depot from Stevenson to this place.
All quiet at Chattanooga. Ten days' rations on hand, but animals still suffering and breaking down for want of forage. Capacity of the railroad still under fifty cars per day. Track bad. Orders have been given by General Grant to take up iron from many disused railroads, in Department of the Tennessee, to relay this Nashville and Chattanooga road. Two steam-boats have enabled us to accumulate rations at Chattanooga and get up a small supply of forage. They work night and day. Another will be repaired and out in four or five days, unless some accident on railroad keeps back machinery expected to-morrow. Another boat, 155 feel long, 30 feet beam, will be launched in ten days more. Her engines are here. Engines taken from another steam-boat at Nashville arrived here to-night, and some progress has been made with parts of with parts of her frame. We have here but one saw-mill, and it does not supply lumber fast enough for boat-building. I have ordered other saw-mills. Expect to return to Chattanooga in a few days.
Our present great difficulty is to procure forage to relieve our starving animals. I have requested the removal of the cavalry to some point where they will not draw supplies by railroad and can forage for themselves. The movement has been ordered.
M. C. MEIGS,