The work between Huntsville and the junction is light, one bridge, the Limestone, being the only one of importance. You will find all the bridges out, but will have no trouble in rebuilding, as common trestles are sufficient. For Limestone, a permanent bridge will be made in Chicago, and put in after the temporary one you build is finished and the road running. My troops are scattered from Columbia to the junction last command being in Athens, and telegraph finished to that point. The country your troops will occupy from Huntsville west is very rich, full of forage and meat. Thus far I have subsisted my command entirely off of the country except coffee, sugar, and salt, which I have from Nashville. All my old regiments are re-enlisting and in a few days I shall be very weak, hardly enough left to protect railroad. I never witnessed such an excitement among old soldiers to re-enlist. Entire regiment have done so in a body. The Seventh, Ninth, Fiftieth, Fifty-second, Fifty-seventh, Sixty-fourth, and Sixty-sixth Regiments Illinois Infantry are all going in.
South of us Roddey has near 3,500 men. It is rumored he is concentrating near Florence for some move in connection with Forrest. At Decatur they have a battery, &c.
I shall be ready at any time to respond to any request from you in my power, and will endeavor to keep you posted of movements in my front.
I still have great admiration for our old Army of the Tennessee, and view with great pride the late unsurpassed achievements of the old Fifteenth Army Corps.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. DODGE,
LA GRANGE, Tennessee, December 24, 1863.
Force sent north reached Bolivar last evening; sent back 5 prisoners this morning; destroyed two flats at Bolivar. Will patrol the Hatchie to-day as far as point south of Brownsville. Flag of truce from Brownsville came in this evening apparently to exchange prisoners; of course, we know the real object and will endeavor to profit by it. They are here to-night as they cannot get past our patrols. Couriers from expedition south report nothing except scouting parties this side of the Tallahatchie. Expedition south returns via Saulsbury. Between this and midnight, I will forward any further information.
B. H. GRIERSON,
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Vicksburg, Miss., December 24, 1863.
Brigadier General E. S. DENNIS,
Commanding First Division:
GENERAL: Information which I deem reliable leads me to believe that the rebels contemplate trying to surprise and cut off the post