Creek is badly damaged. Also another over the same creek, 3 miles south of Reynolds', is partially out. These creeks were formerly crossed by truss bridges 100 feet span. We shall put in trestle, but it will need truss by time fall rains come on. At Richland Creek, near Richland Station, the bridge is gone, 200 feet by 36 high. At Tunel Hill, 3 miles south of Richland, is a trestle-work 600 feet long, 40 feet high, all gone. At Elk River, a bridge 600 feet long and 40 feet high is nearly all out. Trestle will replace them, but by Christmas truss bridges, 150 feet span, will be required. Two and a half miles south of Elk River, trestle bridge over small creek, 300 feet long and 30 feet high, all gone. The bridge over White's Sulphur Creek, 8 miles north of Athens, is completely destroyed; length 600 feet, height 72 feet. A small trestle-work at Athens is out; also Swan Creek bridge, 10 miles south of Athens, is all gone. Spring Creek bridge, 5 miles north of Decatur, and bridge over bottom near Decatur are all out. Seven hundred feet of trestling will repair the road between Decatur and Athens. I have placed my workmen detailed from regiments at nearly every break from Elk River to Columbia. I believe in ten days I can repair the road from Pulaski to Columbia.
The telegraph-wire from Decatur to Columbia is in pretty good order, few breaks only, and can be repaired in a very few days provided I get material; I have sent for it to Nashville. The principal dirt and pike roads leading from Lynnville, Pulaski, and Prospect, to Columbia, Shelbyville, Fayetteville, Lawrenceburg, Savannah, Waterloo, Florence, and Lamb's Ferry, are good, with plenty of water and forage. Streams now fordable. The road leading south to Athens via Elkton is good except crossing at Elk River; at times is fordable, but from this time on will probably have to be ferried. The same road from there to Elkton, thence to Huntsville, is also good, except as stated above. Also road leading from Prospect to Athens and Huntsville. High water would retard an army moving over any of the above roads as all bridges are gone.
I shall have no difficulty in supplying my command with bread, meat, and forage, and supplying my mounted men and teams with stock. If the people bring it to me I propose to pay them. If I go after it I shall only give a certificate. I now have seven mills running, which will furnish all I need. I believe that I should have na order authorizing my quartermaster and commissary to purchase to supply the command, and would like to have the chief assistant quartermaster and commissary of subsistence of department set the price that we should not exceed, as I prefer to pay one price from one end of my command to the other. I have some difficulty in getting supplies promptly because General Grant has not ordered it. This, no doubt, ere this has been done.
There is a considerable number of rebel bands scattered through the country. They do what damage they can and run. Lee and Roddey are south of the Tennessee. At Decatur they have a battery behind cotton-bales. At Huntsville is also reported a rebel cavalry force. My mounted infantry have gone there. I do not consider it prudent or being practicable to put infantry south of Elk River until we got bridges over that stream. I therefore keep mounted men south of Elk River.
This railroad is, excepts as mentioned, in fine running order, a good road-bed, fine rail (strap-joint), plenty of spare rail along the road, and good cedar ties its entire length. It lacks new water-tanks