About the 20th of September the enemy's cavalry, under Forrest, crossed the Tennessee River near Waterloo, Ala., and appeared in front of Athens, Ala., on the 23d, after having destroyed a portion of the railroad between the latter place and Decatur, Ala. Considerable skirmishing took place, and the garrison, Colonel Campbell, One hundred and tenth U. S. Colored Troops, commanding, withdrew into the fort. By night-fall the town was completely invested, and the quartermaster and commissary buildings destroyed by the enemy. On the morning of the 24th the enemy opened on the fort with a 12-pounder battery, firing from two directions, north and west, which was answered by the artillery of the garrison. Later two flags of truce were received demanding a surrender, which was declined by Colonel Campbell when he was requested to grant Major-General Forrest a personal interview, and complied with the request. At this interview Colonel Campbell allowed himself to become convince by the rebel commander that it was useless to contend against the largely superior force of the enemy confronting him, and was induced to surrender his command. The garrison, at the time, consisted of 450 men belonging to the One hundred and sixth, One hundred and tenth, and One hundred and eleventh U. S. Colored Troops, and about 150 men of the THIRD Tennessee Cavalry. Thirty minutes after the evacuation of the fort re-enforcements, consisting of the Eighteenth Michigan and One hundred and second Ohio Regiments, arrived, and after a severe fight were also forced to yield. Forrest then moved toward Pulaski, destroying the railroad as he advanced, captured the garrison at the Sulphur Branch trestle, and skirmished heavily all day of the 27th with the garrison of Pulaski, but withdrew toward night-fall. Major-General Rousseau was present at Pulaski during the engagement having collected such troops as he could spare from other points of his command to assist in staying the progress of the enemy in the destruction of our railroad communications. On the 29th Forrest withdrew from the immediate vicinity of the railroad after having thoroughly destroyed it from Athens to within five miles of Pulaski, and on the same day the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad was cut near Tullahoma and Decherd by small parties from his command sent out for the purpose, but the road was again in running order on the 30th. As Forrest changed the scene of his operations from the Decatur railroad over to the one leading to Chattanooga, General Rousseau moved rapidly by rail around through Nashville to Tullahoma, and prepared for his reception. On the same day (29th of September) 5,000 men from the District of the Etowah, Major General J. B. Steedman commanding, crossed to the north of the Tennessee River to check Forrest's movements and protect and keep open the communication by rail with Chattanooga. Newton's DIVISION, Fourth Corps, was ordered from Atlanta September 26, and replaced Steedman's command at Chattanooga on the 28th. Morgan's DIVISION, of the Fourteenth Corps, started from Atlanta for the same purpose on the 29th of September, and to re-enforce the troops operating against Forrest.
In compliance with verbal instructions from Major-General Sherman, I left Atlanta with Morgan's DIVISION to take immediate charge of affairs in Tennessee, and reached Nashville October 3.
On the withdrawal of Forrest's troops from Athens a garrison was sent out to reoccupy the post by Brigadier General R. S. Granger, commanding District of Northern Alabama, who also sent a scouting party from Huntsville toward Fayetteville to locate the enemy. This party ascertained that Forrest passed through Fayetteville on the night of the 29th, and moved toward Decherd. After passing Fayetteville, how-