Report of Major W. T. Wathall, of operations July 13-16 (Rousseau's raid).
TALLADEGA, ALA., July 21, 1864.
MAJOR: The lieutenant-general commanding the department has already been informed by telegraph of the principal events connected with recent movements of the enemy in this vicinity. I have the honor to make the following report more in details:
At 10.30 o'clock on the evening of the 13th instant I received a communication from Brigadier-General Clanton (then the Blue Mountain) informing me of the presence of the enemy in Ashville, Saint Clair County, on the previous night. General Clanton, when his dispatch was written, was on the point of setting out to ascertain what course the enemy had taken, and to endeavor to check his advance.
At 10.30 on the following morning (14th instant) I received another communication from Brigadier-General Clanton, written near Greensport at 1 a. m., stating that the enemy was then crossing at or below Greensport, announcing his intention of attacking them at daylight, and urging me to send all the force that could be raised to Blue Mountain to co-operate with him in resisting an advance in that direction. Although this suggestion was contrary to my own judgment, which indicated Talladega as the proper point for concentration of the few troops that could be gathered together, yet so urgent was the necessity for concert of action that I determined at once to be guided by the wishes of General Clanton, and in the great scarcity of officers to take the troops to Blue Mountain myself. I accordingly sent a train at once to the Coosa River bridge for the guard stationed three, ordered out all men capable of bearing arms in the Camp of Instruction, and at 5 p. m. arrived at Blue Mountain with less than 200 armed men, consisting of recruits from the Camp of Instruction, Captain Pitts' company of boys of the reserve class, and the disabled soldiers on post duty at this place. Besides these there were 60 men of Brigadier-General Pillow's command who had been left in charge of disabled horses, and for whom I had obtained as Many Mississippi rifles, but without a round of ammunition that could be used. Efforts had ben made to arouse the citizens and to induce the members of various reserve companies to turn out, not only by myself, but by Major Haskell, of Major-General Withers' staff, who was in Talladega for the purpose of organizing and concentrating the reserves, but without success. We were only able to obtain a few men (not exceeding twenty) of Captain Hardie's mounted company. Captain Hardie was sent out with these with orders to join General Clanton if possible.
On arriving at Blue Mountain I reported by courier to Brigadier-General Clanton, who had been out all day in the direction of Greensport, skirmishing with the enemy during the forenoon. About 9 p. m. General Clanton himself came in and informed me that, having lost sight of the enemy in his front, he had gradually withdrawn his troops to avoid being flanked or cut off from his base of operations at Blue Mountain. General Clanton appeared to be still impressed with the belief that the enemy would endeavor to reach the Oxford Iron Works and Blue Mountain. Feeling satisfied