HDQRS. LEFT WING, SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Athens, Ala., April 17, 1864.
Major General J. B. McPHERSON,
Commanding Dept. and Army of the Tennessee, Huntsville, Ala.:
GENERAL: I returned from Decatur yesterday by way of Mooresville. I think General Geary must have made some mistake; there certainly was not the force he reported.
The enemy in the valley has closed in on us, and this morning their advance is 5 1/2 miles out. Roddey is reported by scouts and citizens to have camped 9 miles from Somerville, at Sulphur Springs, night before last. Citizens from Somerville report this.
This addition to their force in the valley is all we know of since the arrival of Patterson except three regiments of infantry at Moulton. Deserters come in from there direct; they are the Twenty-seventh, Thirty-first, and Fifty-fourth Alabama.
The scout in from Pikeville reports no movements, but says Polk's staff officers passed up examined the roads, and says that his army is about to move. I inclose a letter* from the conscript officer at Fayette Court-House, Ala.; it is addressed to one of our men, although he is not aware who he is writing to. Our mail arrangements to Montgomery will be completed in a week or so, and we will get the papers regularly as well as the reports.
Colonel Rowett reports a few regiments opposite him; also that they are building boats in Yellow Creek and opposite Clifton. Last heard of Forrest he was in Jackson. Last Sunday refugees from McNairy County, Tenn., made two reports-one was that a considerable force had gone to join him from the south, and that he was to attack Memphis; the other, that he was sending his trains, conscripts, &c., south preparatory to crossing the Tennessee River. We are in communication with the force at Clifton. Major Murphy, commanding that force, says Forrest is going to cross, but he cannot tell at what point. We have the river so closely, watched that they cannot get over without our having due notice of it.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. DODGE,
HDQRS. NINTH OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY,
Martin's Mills, April 17, 1864.
[General G. M. DODGE:]
GENERAL: I have sent Major Williamson to take command of the men sent to the mouth of Elk River, giving him your orders. He will connect with the Seventh Illinois, who patrol down to the mouth of Cypress Creek, joining my patrols, who patrol as far as Eastport. The enemy are sometimes seen patrolling opposite Florence, Cheatham's Ferry, and along the river. A reliable man whom I saw to-day says that they flak of crossing and trying to capture our patrols. I have sent Mr. Harris over to-day, who will learn what is to be known as to their movements. I think there is no heavy force near here; Johnson's and Jackson's regiments, I think, are all; they probably do not exceed 400 or 500 men. From letters captured, dated March 17, it seems that a forward movement into Tennessee
* Not found.