The latter becoming disabled, and as great fears were entertained of their being seized by the enemy, it was resolved to fire them, as also the transports, to prevent their falling into his hands. In carrying this into operation, the flames spread to the buildings of the commissary and quartermaster's departments, and also to a large amount of stores on the levee, soon converting the whole into a mass of ruins. The loss to the Government as far as estimated, is set down at $1,500,000, of which about $300,000 belong to the subsistence department, and the remainder to the quartermaster's department. I believe that there was no cause to apprehend that the enemy could effect a crossing at Johnsonville and the destruction of property was consequently unnecessary. On the morning of the 5th the enemy again opened fire on the garrison, and after a furious cannonade of more than an hour's duration withdrew from his position across the river and disappeared. He crossed the Tennessee above Johnsonville by means of two large flat-boats constructed by his men and two small boats belonging to one of the gun-boats, and then moved off in the direction of Clifton. Major-General Schofield, with the advance of the Twenty- THIRD Corps, arrived in Nashville, on the 5th, and was immediately started toward Johnsonville by rail, reaching that place the same night, and found the enemy had already retreated. Directions were the sent General Schofield to leave a sufficiently strong force for the defense of that point, and with the balance of his command proceed to carry out the instructions already given him, viz, to join the Fourth Corps at Pulaski, and assume command of all the troops in the vicinity, watch the movements of Hood, and retard his advance into Tennessee as much as possible, without risking a general engagement, until Major General A. J. Smith's command could arrive from Missouri, and Major General J. H. Wilson could have time to remount the cavalry regiments dismounted to furnish horses for Kilpatrick's DIVISION which was to accompany General Sherman in his march through Georgia. At this time I found myself confronted by the army which, under General J. E. Johnston, had so skillfully resisted the advance of the whole active army of the Military DIVISION of the MISSISSIPPI from Dalton to the Chattahoochee, re-enforced by a well-equipped and enthusiastic cavalry command of over 12,000 men, led by one of the boldest and most successful commanders in the rebel army. My information from all sources confirmed, the reported strength of Hood's army to be form 40,000 to 45,000 infantry, and from 12,000 to 15,000 cavalry. My effective force at this time consisted of the Fourth Corps, about 12,000, under Major General D. S. Stanley; the Twenty-THIRD Corps, about 10,000 under Major General J. M. Schofield; Hatch's DIVISION of cavalry, about 4,000; Croxton's brigade, 2,500, and Capron's brigade of about 1,200. The balance of my force was distributed along the railroad, and posted at Murfreesborough, Stevenson, Bridgeport, Huntsville, Decatur, and Chattanooga, to keep open our communications and hold the posts above named if attacked, until they could be re-enforced as up to this time it was impossible to determine which course Hood would take-advance on Nashville or turn toward Huntsville. Under these circumstances it was manifestly best to act on the defensive until sufficiently re- enforced to justify taking the offensive. My plans and wishes were fully explained to General Schofield, and, as subsequent events will show, properly appreciated and executed by him.
From the 1st to the of November the enemy's position at Florence had remained materially unchanged. He had laid a pontoon bridge by mooring it to the piers of the old railroad bridge, at that