his band had attacked them at the tunnel, and that they (being only two) could not resist them, and started for this [place], pressing two horses in on the road. The negroes stated that the rebels were tearing the track up, burning ties, &c. I immediately sent (3. 45) Captain Cleveland, of First Tennessee Mounted Infantry, with forty men, to scene. At 5 o'clock this evening I sent Lieutenant Gable and fifteen men of the One hundred and first Colored Regiment up the railroad to the tunnel and Buck Lodge the cavalry until to- morrow I gave them orders to pursue and kill every one of the scoundrels they caught, and hearing from the conductor or baggage man of the down train that he saw 6 dead bodies-4 soldiers and 2 railroad hands-lying near the track, some of them with the head scout open with an ax, and only seven men at the tunnel, I ordered Lieutenant Gable to remain as stated, and to-night at 7 o'clock I sent six of my batterymen armed, on a hand-car, up to the tunnel, with orders to the sergeant to investigate fully and report to me to-night. I am now waiting on them to return, which will be 11 or 12 o'clock to-night. I will then finish this report in time to send it you by the 1 o'clock train to-night.
While waiting for them I wold call your attention to the fact that the country above us is full of guerrillas. Governor Johnson's proclamation enrolling the citizens is sending them to the guerrillas and to the rebel army. This county has not even the germ of loyalty in it, and while the rebels and guerrillas are advised of every movement of our side we can learn nothing of them until too late. Men that talk loud, both here and at Nashville, of their devotion to the Union, never do an act for its support, but, if their negroes are to be believed, when they are at home stigmatize all as Yankees, and chuckle over the way they get around the Federal authorities. I have a long list of names, together with witnesses and charges, that I will forward you as soon as I get it completed, showing how the citizens of this and Wilson County act, and if I am here next week will try and arrest some of them. If here was one more full company of mounted [men] her ethan there is, the county could be kept quiet, because if every man who furnished them anything was dealt with severely they would soon learn to fear us as much as they pretend to fear the rebels or guerrillas, and when they learned that lesson they could and would give us information. There is not force enough at this point-there is only sixty cavalry (Tennessee mounted infantry) and my battery that are at all reliable; eighteen of the cavalry are on picket duty every day, and fifteen of the artillery as patrol, and leaves but few men for scouting purposes. One company more, either infantry or mounted, with what we have would do, for we could always have enough men to scout within fifteen to twenty miles of the post. The guards on the railroad are negroes, and recruits at that.
Twelve o'clock at night. -My couriers have not returned from up the road yet, but I learn from the conductor on this train that Harper and his band killed 5 of the colored soldiers and split their heads open, set fire to the wood pile, but the coming of the cavalry we went up started them. If I learn anything further I will write you.
Yours, very respectfully,
BEN. S. NICKLIN,
Captain Thirteenth Indiana Battery, Commanding Post.
Major B. H. POLK,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Nashville, Tenn.