DECATUR, ALA., October 26, 1863.
Major General JOSEPH WHEELER,
Commanding Cavalry Corps, Guntersville, Ala.:
SIR: Yesterday, at About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, about one regiment of mounted men of the enemy made their appearance on the bank of the river opposite this place. They were deployed as skirmishers at first, but rallied and yelled a good deal, remained some time and fed their stock in the bottom, and then retreated to Mooresville, 5 miles from here, and camped.
As I knew that some ferry-boats were on the northern bank at the mouth of Limestone Creek, I dispatched to General Roddey for a regiment to be stationed at the fords and ferries on the river to watch the enemy. As I had some 87 prisoners here-CO-odd U. S. prisoners of war-I felt rather uneasy until my scouts informed me that the boats were safe on this bank.
Although I am satisfied that the enemy is not going to attempt to cross, it is to be presumed that they might do so, knowing that we have but a small force and many prisoners here.
The ferries on the river have lately been very badly guarded; in fact, not at all about here, and a sufficient number of boats might be left carelessly on the north bank to suit their purpose.
The enemy which appeared here yesterday is the same force which camped the night before at Athens. They are expected to return toward Huntwville to-day. One brigade crossed above would have captured them all.
I would most respectfully call your attention to the necessity of a regular courier-line between your headquarters and this post. It is too far to send a man through, and it is impossible for me to supply the couriers for that line.
A stand ought to be [made] at Mrs. Blackwell's, and one at Price's, between here and Somerville.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. F. FALCONNET,
Major, Commanding Post.
HEADQUARTERS, October 26, 1863.
Colonel GEORGE W. BRENT,
COLONEL: I sent a telegram* from General Beauregard, asking that Anderson's brigade be ordered to Savannah, to you yesterday. I suggested that Benning's brigade be sent instead of Anderson's, because Anderson's was more inconvenient, and because his brigade was strongest it would be preferable to retain it. Benning's brigade, I have no doubt, will be quite strong enough for the purpose for which it is needed May I ask that the commanding general will give such orders in the case as he may see fit? I do not feel authorized to keep Anderson, nor have I the authority to send him away, or Benning in his place.
If I have such authority, I would like to be advised of it as soon as possible, that I may order the brigade to Savannah at once.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
*See p. 589.