side of the Rutledge road, sending 2 reliable scouts up the opposite side of the valley. After advancing about 3 miles, a halt was ordered, and I went out to learn whether the advance had learned any news of importance, supposing that Lieutenant Beery, who was in command, would advance slowly along the crest of the hills as we had been previously doing. I then ordered 2 of the scouts to keep along the foot of the hills and under cover as much as possible until they should discover the enemy, while I took the 2 remaining (there being but 4 in the advance beside myself), and ascending to the crest of the hill searched the valley through which the road to Blain's Cross-Roads from Knoxville passes.
Thus we kept on for about 3 miles, discovering no enemy, but learning from citizens who were reported to me as reliable Union men that they had a force of one brigade at or near Blain's Cross Roads. They came in on the evening of the 11th; also, that enemy had a force of quite a large number at Flat Creek, one regiment having come in on the evening of the 12th, and on the morning of the 13th another force of two or three regiments came in.
From the position that we then were we could see for some distance up the valley. The smoke of the camps could be easily seen; also we could see a force of cavalry approaching, which proved to be a flag of truce. We immediately went down to the road and received them. From remarks made to me by the adjutant of the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry their lines were not far distant; also from remarks that they made they know the situation of the troops in this vicinity and the exact number of regiments; also, that while the truce party was coming in from the place where we first me them, they stopped for quite a while at the houses of different ones along the road who are notorious rebels.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,
G. F. SMITH,
Lieutenant W. S. THURSTON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
FEBRUARY 14, 1864. - Affair near Larkinsville, Ala.
Report of Brigadier General Morgan L. Smith, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps.
February 15, 1864
SIR: Two privates of Eleventh Texas Cavalry were captured on Sand Mountain about midnight, night before last, by 2 of Captain Latham's men with inclosed dispatch.
I saw General Grant in Nashville. He said he had just sent you authority to muster the Alabamians, and that he was at great loss to get at the designs of the rebels in your front.
The inclosed dispatch came in just before the cars arrived from the west, so I sent the original to General Grant by the conductor, to be handed to the conductor on the other road.
About 10 a.m. yesterday 2 of Captain Latham's company were attacked by about 15 bushrangers about 8 miles northwest from