HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Huntsville, Ala., April 22, 1864
Brigadier General G. M. DODGE,
Commanding Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, Athens, Ala.:
GENERAL: I sent you yesterday by telegraphed a communication which I received from Major-General Hurlbut, dated Memphis, April 19, to the effect that he had reliable information that Polk's force, 17,000 strong, including Hoffy's and Jackson's cavalry, passed through Starkville on the 11th of April for Huntsville, and that Forrest was going south through Saulsbury and La Grange. The telegraph not being in working order between this place and Athens, I presume you did not receive it.
I asked the questions, Have you had any confirmation of this report or any news bearing upon the matter? Where is Starkville? supposing that he referred to a town of this name in Alabama; and who is Hoffy? I have since learned by having the message repeated that Lee's cavalry is what was meant, and that Starkville, in Oktibbeha County, Miss., is probably the place referred to.
If the infantry under Polk have gone from Demopolis to Starkville it looks as though they had design on some point on the Mississippi River, or else intend to concentrate heavily upon our right flank. Should the latter be the case, it may be necessary to concentrate nearly the whole of your available force at and in the vicinity of Decatur. It will be at least ten days before we can count upon the arrival of any troops belonging to the Seventeenth Army Corps at Pulaski.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
DECATUR, April 22, 1864
Starkville is on line of Mobile and Ohio Railroad, south of Okolona. I have not reports from there, though I have men in Columbus, Miss. All reports sent you from that quarter indicated a a move north by Polk. Will send men out to-night to go there.
G. M. DODGE,
DECATUR, April 22, 1864
No doubt "Hoffy" means Roddey, as he came north through Tuscaloosa on the 14th instant, but had no troops with him. His troops came by way of Day's Gap and Somerville, and he joined them at Moulton. I am well satisfied that Polk had made no general move up to the 13th. The letters I sent to you, written to Meddens, at Pikeville, evidently foreshadowed a move north by Polk. I also think that none of Polk's forces have gone toward Johnston. Loring himself may have been in Montgomery, but none of his troops were with him. Four Texas regiments have been ordered to Rod-