cross the Coosa, but to reach it will have near 75 miles to march, over two mountains-the Sand Mountain and Raccoon. Each wagon, of which there are about twenty, will require about 8 mules, and these are scarce and have to be fed.
Now we know that we can always safely count on lumber of old houses. We can make balks of trees, and can make abutments and piers of logs, as well as trestles of such timber as we can count on at the banks of Coosa.
You can take the whole or part of this pontoon train, and I leave it somewhat to your judgment and experience. The labor for such a train for the distance named will almost, if not entirely, equal that of construction when we get there. We will need boats, and I am willing you should have them, and spikes, nails, ropes, and everything likely, to be needed, but I do doubt the necessity of carrying along the whole train.
After you have thought the matter all over, you can send an officer here to Nashville to take down just what you want.
The pontoons consist of two side frames, with cross-pieces all ready tenoned and morticed, with canvas to cover all the thanks and cheeses, with anchors, ropes, and everything complete, are here ready to march off as soon as mules are hitched on. But you and I know the labor and trouble of hauling such heavy loads, but I leave it to you to determine.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Huntsville, Ala., April 17, 1864.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Mil. Div. of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tenn.:
GENERAL: I have just returned from a trip to Guntersville Landing, Cottonville, Port Deposit, and Claysville, sometimes called Vienna, and as soon as I get some sketches made and ascertain something more definite about roads opposite Port Deposit, will give you my views as to the best point for crossing the Tennessee River.
I have just received a telegram from Dodge, who is now at Decatur. The enemy are hovering around him in considerable force. Three brigades of cavalry-Roddey's Patterson's, and Clanton's-and three regiments of Alabama infantry are at Moulton, and they have given out that they intend to attack Decatur. Dodge has sent a force out once or twice, and they invariably fall back before the infantry, but stop our cavalry. I do not think they have any serious intentions of attacking Decatur, but are covering some other movement. We will endeavor to watch them closely.
It is reported the enemy are building boats to cross the Tennessee on Yellow Creek, above Hamburg. The gun-boat should watch the river closely from Clifton Chickasaw.
I inclose herewith a letter* which I have just received from a friend of mine in Canton, Miss., whose information has heretofore been considered reliable, and whose facilities for knowing what he writes about are good. I believe him sincere and anxious to do everything in his power to aid our cause.
* Not found.