first good country he struck was around Jacksonville, Benton County. Columbus, Ga., is being extensively fortified.
Forrest left all his trains at Tupelo, and they are engaged hauling corn to that point. Two soldiers belonging to General Smith's command, wounded in the fight at Okolona, were killed in the hospital at aberdeen by some of Forrest's men. It created considerable excitant and indignation among the citizens. The railroad from Demopolis to Selma is lined whit corn-cribs.
Lieutenant-General Polk said if Smith had reached Sherman he would have gone to Selma, and they could not have stopped him. He (Polk) said he estimated Sherman's forces at about 20,000 men. Scout had orders from General Forrest, General Polk, Atlanta, Rome, &c. He says they all say their army is to-day at its maximum, and that they cannot increase it. Every point he was at he saw gangs of deserters at work in chains, and met them on all trains; the slave exemptions creating a good deal of bitter feeling. I send a number of Southern papers of dates up to April 6.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. DODGE,
HUNTSVILLE, April 8, 1864.
Brigadier General G. M. DODGE,
No news from Whitesburg except indications that the enemy has increased his force on the opposite side of the river. The bridges on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad at Beaver Dam and Limestone are not very strongly guarded. Will you have an eye to them?
The force at this point is not strong, in consequence of the absence of veterans. You have force enough, have you not, to attend to Decatur and other points on your line, even though Forrest and Clanton should unite? Veatch ought to be with you shortly, which will enable you to strengthen the garrison at Decatur. As soon as General Garrard can get his cavalry division together, I will apply to Major-General Sherman to have him guard the line of the railroad as far down as Pulaski.
JAS. B. MCPHERSON,
ATHENS, April 8, 1864.
I can take care of everything in my command. Don't believe they dark attack Decatur. Will have another regiment at Limestone bridge to-morrow.
General Veatch's command will be here to-day. Forwarded a report to-day that will give a pretty good idea of all enemy's forces up to April 2 or 3. General Garrard has a large force at Columbia, but has not relieved any of my troops yet.
G. M. DODGE,