HDQRS. LEFT WING, 16TH ARMY CORPS, Pulaski, Tenn., February 1, 1864.
GENERAL: I am in receipt of yours of January 30, and, so far as driving the enemy south of the Tennessee, I have anticipated your orders. The force sent by General Thomas struck the enemy on this side of Florence, skirmished with him, drove him back, and returned to Huntsville, still leaving the enemy on this side of the river. I immediately fitted up what mounted men I could, preferring to take the chances of getting whipped in the offensive to standing here to be attacked at the pleasure of Rodey. This force moved out under Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips Thursday [28th] morning, struck the enemy Friday [29th] noon, and continued driving him Friday night. Johnson's brigade, of Roddey's division, recrossed tot eh south side of the river, Colonel Phillips pressing them so hard that he captured all their trains-some 20 mule teams,200 head of cattle, 600 head of sheep, and about 100 head of horses and mules. He also burned Foster's factory and mill which had supplied them. This has cleared the north side of the river.
The point we should, in my opinion, seize upon as soon as possible and hold is Decatur. It is the best point to obtain information of movements of he enemy from as well as for our cavalry to operate from either southeast or west, and I do not believe this line of communication can be successfully used unless that point is held.
I notice what you say in relation to movements of Generals Sherman, Logan, &c., all new to me, and explains the movements of troops toward Mobile, which I telegraphed you yesterday and to-day. There is no doubt but a considerable force had gone in that direction. I think, however, only one division and one brigade have left Johnston.
You are aware that I have guarded or lines of communication for a long time, and I trust when the campaign opens General Grant will see fit to allow me to take part in it. I am always willing and cheerfully acquiesce in any duties assigned me, but like all others sometimes have a preference. I trust you will not consider it as out of place for me to express the above wish. I judge from your letter that the present movement is only temporary.
The reports and movements of the enemy look as though Johnston was now south of he Etowah River.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. DODGE,
Brigadier General JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Chief of Staff.
Numbers 3. Report of Brigadier General Charles R. Woods, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, Fifteenth Army Corps.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Woodville, Ala., January 30, 1864.
MAJOR: The party of 50 men sent out by me day before yesterday to scout through the country lying between Paint Rock and Flint River and down to the Tennessee has just returned. The lieuten-