Numbers 55. Report of Brigadier General Robert S. Granger, U. S. Army, commanding District of Northern Alabama.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF NORTHERN ALABAMA,
Decatur, Ala., November 6, 1864.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the forces under my command during the late operations of Hood's and other forces in Northern Alabama, from the 12th to the 29th of October, 1864:
Having learned that General Hood had left General Sherman's front and was moving northward for the purpose of destroying his communications, and not knowing but that some point in my district might be selected by him to effect a crossing into Tennessee, I took such measures as I was able, by direction of the general commanding, to obtain information of the whereabouts and intentions of the Confederate forces. I accordingly, on the 12th day of October, sent out spies to Gadsden and Blountsville, with directions to report immediately the approach of the enemy in any force from directions. The gun-boat General Thomas, Captain Morton commanding, having been assigned by Captain Forrest to that portion of the river between Whitesburg and Decatur, I requested Captain Morton, and ordered Captain Naylor of my own gun-boat, Stone River, to thoroughly patrol the river to Whitesburg and beyond, landing at such points as they could approach with safety to glean all the information possible. On the 14th of October I received a dispatch from Captain Morton, informing me that General Hood's army, together with Forrest, Wheeler, and Roddey were in Deer Head Cove, Dug Gap, fifteen miles from Caperton's Ferry, and were moving upon the landing at that place for the purpose of effecting a crossing. I immediately telegraphed this information to the general commanding department and ordered the Eleventh and Thirteenth Indiana Cavalry at Stevenson (en route for Nashville) to be stopped in order to assist the forces at that point in obstructing the advance of the enemy, should he make any serious demonstration on that place. My scout in the mean time, however, had returned from Blountsville and reported the enemy moving toward Chattanooga, and Captain Morton repeated his telegram of the movements of the enemy upon Caperton's Ferry with positive assurance that his information was correct. I immediately directed the gun-boats at Decatur to move up the river with all possible dispatch to the threatened point, ordered an additional scout across the river from Larkinsville in direction of Lebanon and Rawlingsville, and also from Athens and Pulaski in the direction of the river. On the 19th, at 11 a. m., I left on a reconnaissance up the river on gun-boat, arriving at Bridgeport at 6 p. m. on the 20th. I saw no appearance of the enemy, but received reliable information from the south side that General Beauregard was with Hood's army. On the 23rd I received a telegram from the general commanding department that it was reported Forrest, Lee, and others were moving on Tuscumbia, intending to operate against General Sherman's communications, and directing me to send out efficient scouts in that direction to ascertain the correctness of the report. I telegraphed to the general commanding that I did not believe the forces of Forrest and Roddey had yet joined Hood, and sent him the report of my scout, just in, who was captured by the enemy and taken to Courtland, which placed Roddey about Moulton and Somerville, Forrest near Flor-