move direct to Rome, by Blue Mountain railroad, marching over the unfinished part, taking its transportation with it. Answer by telegraph.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY BRIGADE, Near Elyton, Ala., April 23, 1864.
Major General S. D. LEE,
GENERAL: The inclosed memorandum form Captain Thomas was received yesterday evening; that officer represents the enemy as concentrating at Decatur, and says they have moved all their force form Huntsville to that place. His account, and that of one of Henderson's scouts, sent you yesterday, do not agree exactly. I hope to hear from Coffey by night.
I will remain, if practicable, in this valley to-morrow, and start for the railroad on the day following, by which time I hope forage may be in readiness.
I have not been able to learn of the existence of any body of tories and deserters large enough to warrant an expedition anywhere within my reach, and as the movement would be so very severe on my horses, have not sent out on the chance of coming upon any straggling ones.
While writing this the inclosed letter from Coffey and note from General Roddey have been received and are respectfully forwarded.*
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. FERGUSON,
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
Memorandum of information given by Captain Thomas, of General Loring's staff, who returned this evening from scout to vicinity of Decatur. He left the Tennessee Valley yesterday morning.
Enemy's force at and around Decatur estimated between 10,000 and 15,000 of infantry; cavalry, two regiments. Thought that a raid is intended in direction of Rome, or its vicinity. General Roddey returned several days ago. General Clanton is ordered by General Bragg to report to General Johnston, at Dalton. General Clanton's force, 360 men, moved out with his command Thursday morning to attack the enemy; I think at Decatur.
S. W. FERGUSON,
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
DANVILLE, April 21, 1864.
Brigadier General FERGUSON,
Commanding Brigade Cavalry:
GENERAL: I learn from Generals Clanton and Roddey that the enemy at Decatur are thought to be the advance guard of a large army of 30,000 men intended to operate on Johnson's flank or against
*Roddey's note not found.