COLUMBUS, April 14, 1864.
At Jackson, or elsewhere:
I have been disappointed in not being frequently advised of your movements, and am therefore at a loss as to the orders proper to give you. I have not heard from you in two weeks. It is indispensable that I should be kept constantly informed of your situation and of all your operations. You have been ordered to move your unorganized troops our of West Tennessee to Columbus for organization, to leave a force below Memphis, and to move with the rest of your troops to Tuscaloosa, Ala. These orders are hereby revoked and other orders will be issued you in a day or two; in the mean season use your discretion as to movements proper for you at the present moment, remembering that your command will be required against the movements of Sherman on North Alabama and Georgia so soon as they shall have commenced. You are hereby ordered to send two companies under an efficient and determined captain int the Mississippi bottom, about Austin, for the arrest of one Captain Reasons and Lieutenant Edwards, deserters from the Fifteenth Mississippi, who, with their company, have deserted and are marauding upon the people. They must be captured at all hazards. You will order the company of Captain King, of McNairy County, formerly of Polk's battery, to report to Major Morphis, of the same county, for duty in Tennessee and North Mississippi at Tupelo. You will also order all Alabama companies, battalions, or regiments to report for duty to the commandant of the post at Tuscaloosa.
CHIEF PROVOST-MARSHAL'S OFFICE, FIRST DIST. ALA.,
Mount Hope, Ala., April 14, 1864.
[Major J. C. DENIS:]
MAJOR: I arrived here on the 11th and found everything comparatively quiet in the district. The tory raids in the mountains are becoming less frequent, and it is very evident that their main object in these raids is plunder, not caring a cent whom they rob. I think I can break up the whole clan as soon as I can organize 100 good men.
The five boat-loads of Yankees that came up the Tennessee River and landed opposite Eastport on Sunday, the 3rd instant, marched up the Huntsville road; are encamped between Athens and Decatur. They are said to be a part of Beacher's [Veatch's] and Tuttle's divisions, and number between 3,500 and 5,000.
I have a reliable scout just in from within 2 miles of Decatur. He represents the Yankees at Decatur about 2,500 strong, and entrenched (not re-enforced), but that there are about 5,000 encamped a few miles north of Decatur. They have a pontoon bridge at Decatur. Their whole force in and around Decatur and Athens will not reach 10,000. General Dodge's headquarters are at Athens, and small squads of Yankees are encamped from Florence to Athens, say from 50 to 150 in squad.
I will have arrangements in a few days to get early and reliable information of the strength and all movements of the enemy in and around Decatur and Athens.