and Panola were also carried off, and Chalmers, at last accounts, had not crossed. The enemy are aware of our presence and are prepared for us. They have a brigade of cavalry at Ripley watching my movements. The railroad has been strongly re-enforced, and apparently they are aware of our move, and they say Forrest shall not cross into West Tennessee. I will cross at the earliest practicable moment, and at least fight their cavalry and put Forrest over the railroad. The unexpected heavy rains and the high waters have embarrassed me much. I fear Chalmers will not be able to afford me much assistance. He is ordered to join me above Ripley if practicable. General Forrest's command consists of 450 men and two pieces of artillery. He was compelled to leave two pieces of his artillery on account of his horses.
I am, colonel, yours, respectfully,
S. D. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS, Meridian, Miss., November 30, 1863.
Maj. Gen. S. D. LEE,
GENERAL: Your letter of the 23rd instant, inclosing a copy of cipher to be used in communicating with the forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department is received. As the cipher adopted by the Government will be used by the forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department, it is considered unnecessary to adopt any other.
By command of General Johnston:
BENJ. S. EWELL,
NEW ALBANY, November 30, 1863.
Brigadier-General CHALMERS, Near Wyatt:
GENERAL: Your note of the 28th received. I have been unable to cross the river here and fear your bridge at Wyatt is gone again, as the river was higher here last evening than at any previous time. The cavalry of the enemy are in front of me at Ripley, Orizaba, and toward Lee's Mills. I will cross as soon as I can, probably to-morrow morning, and wish you to do the same and try and join me on the road to Middleton. At any rate, move farther to the right than was first intended, as my force is smaller than I anticipated, and the enemy are reported strong. Their force on the railroad is also reported large.
S. D. LEE,
NEW ALBANY, November 30, 1863-8.30 p.m.
GENERAL: Your note of yesterday morning received. Your dispatch about the bridges was received and answered. I now have