made his appearance near town on road leading southwest, until the Eighteenth Wisconsin and Seventeenth Iowa reached this place. About the middle of the afternoon Colonel Alexander, with the Forty-eight Indiana and one battery, left here by rail for Madison. On reaching there they found that the Fifty-ninth Indiana, a part of the Thirteenth Illinois, with the Fifth Ohio Cavalry-125 men-had already recaptured the station, and were then following the enemy in their retreat toward Triana, near which place they had crossed the river the night previous. The enemy being mounted and our cavalry being insufficient, the infantry could hardly be expected to do them much damage. The did, however, manage to overtake their rear guard, with whom they skirmished, killing 1 man, wounding several, and captured 4 prisoners and some 30 or 40 horses. Our loss during the skirmishing was 2 or 3 wounded. At present, having received no official report from Colonel Gorgas, I am unable to give his losses, but they are supposed to be some 40 or 50 missing, but a few wounded, and I am unable to learn of any one having been killed. They burned the station-house, cut the telegraph wire, but it was repaired and in running order the same night; the railroad unharmed. All the regimental property of the Thirteenth Illinois was captured and carried off or destroyed, including regimental train, camp and garrison equipage, men's clothing, blankets, &c. A full report has been ordered to Colonel Gorgas, and will be forwarded as soon as received. The Fifth Iowa Infantry Veterans returned to decatur Saturday, and were ordered to take position along the railroad at and near Madison Station to strengthen that line. Preparatory to moving there the regimental baggage, camp and garrison equipage, and records of the regiment, which had been stored at this place, were taken by cars to Madison Station on Monday, the 16th instant. The whole of this property was destroyed, and 6 of the men left in charge of it were taken prisoners.
I have just received a dispatch from General Gresham, stating that Rowett on his return reports having driven the enemy across the Tennessee at Florence, killing several and capturing 24 men, whom he has with him. We have reports of the enemy gathering in several places throughout the country on this side of the river, who have crossed the river in small squads. It is also reported that those on the south side are moving up in the direction of Bridgeport or Chattanooga, no doubt to strike at the weakest place in our line of communication. From the force I have, extended as it is along the line, it is totally impossible for me to operate against them successfully, but must content myself in endeavoring to secure the line of communication.
I learn that I was misinformed in regard to the telegraph line being cut near Winchester, as per telegram of this date of Major-General McPherson. There is, however, a considerable force of the enemy in the vicinity of Winchester and Fayetteville.
Since writing the above, Colonel Gorgas' official reports has been received, which is herewith inclosed,* and from all the information obtained I am led to believe that he was culpably negligent.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. E. SMITH,
Major R. R. TOWNES,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fifteenth Army Corps.
*See of May 17, p. 271.