toward McMinnville; probably trying to get out the way they came. There is a report of some rebel force being at Lebanon, but I do not think it is looking toward Kentucky. The Tennessee River is in good stage and rising. They cannot cross the ford opposite Lebanon.
J. D. WEBSTER,
NASHVILLE, TENN., September 8, 1864-1 p.m.
(Received 10.30 p.m.)
Major General M. C. MEIGS,
We expect to have the Chattanooga road open by night of 10th. General Sherman in the mean time will have plenty of subsistence. Forage will be a trifle short. I went over the broken part of the road yesterday. The damage was considerable.
J. L. DONALDSON,
ATHENS, September 8, 1864.
Have just returned from the pursuit of Wheeler with 1,300 cavalry and two pieces of artillery. I left Wheeler at Lexington, sending a regiment of cavalry six miles below to look after him. I engaged his rear guard as often and severely as he would permit. The woods were continuous for about nine miles. As he had ten miles start of me that morning we were not able to press him sufficiently to bring on a general engagement. While pressing I was halted by General Rousseau for the purpose of joining with him. General Rousseau, however, did not come up, but changed his direction toward railroad, and ordered me to leave Wheeler and proceed in direction of Athens to intercept General Williams, who, it was supposed, at that time was trying to join Wheeler. Wheeler last night was at Centre Star, two or three miles from the river, with all his force except Williams and some Tennessee troops. From the best information I could get he was about 3,500 strong. He has probably crossed his wagons and artillery over the river. He gave it out, however, that he was not going to cross until he heard from Williams. At 11 a.m. to-day I met Colonel Streight at Elk River; [his force,] from what he said, was 2,500 infantry and two pieces of artillery. In consulting me what he should do, being at liberty, as he said, to do as he pleased, I advised him to move down and attack Wheeler, and gave him one of my best regiments of cavalry, about 450 strong, and ordered the Tenth Michigan Infantry, 300 strong, which had marched down with him, to report to him. General Rousseau, having received report of this, left here this p.m. with all his own cavalry and about 400 of mine; all that were able to travel. Major-General Steedman and Brigadier-General McCook and Croxton accompanied him. I would mention that I advised Streight that if Wheeler had crossed the river, or if he forced him over the river, to destroy the ferries and guard the fords, all of which are within a space of sixteen miles, which I concluded will effectually shut in Williams north of the river. I would have remained with Streight, and believed it was proper to have done so, but I had received two dispatches from General Rousseau to leave Wheeler and return to this point immediately to assist in the