damage to steamer Anna, which, in consequence of damage from our batteries, is reported to have sunk, I have now the honor to state that my command is in front of Johnsonville, at which place there are three gun-boats, seven transports, and quite a number of barges. I have batteries above and below the boats, and am to-night fortifying and placing a battery directly opposite them, and will to-morrow endeavor to sink or destroy them. Johnsonville is strongly fortified with heavy siege pieces in their works, and is garrisoned by a heavy force. There are several boats and barges yet unloaded for want of room; the landing and banks (several acres in extent) are piled with freight for Sherman's army; all the houses are full, and trains are running incessantly night and day in removing them. I regret to state that the transport Venus was recaptured by the enemy. In moving up from Fort Heiman orders were misunderstood and the boats got in advance of our land batteries, were come upon suddenly, and vigorously attacked by two gun-boats of the enemy; the transport was disabled and abandoned; the crew escaped. having only my ordnance train and a few wagons for carrying cooking utensils with me, I found it impossible to remove the stores captured from steamer Mazeppa, at Fort Heiman, and had them placed on transport Venus, with a view, if possible, of carrying them up the river by Johnsonville or hauling them out from Reynoldsburg to Camden. Owing, also, to the condition of the roads and the fact that the horses attached to the 20-pounder Parrott guns were won out, the guns were also placed upon the Venus and have fallen into the hands of the enemy. We still have the gun-boat in possession, but she is out of coal, and her furnaces being built for coal, and it being impossible to supply her or get her by Johnsonville, I may have to burn her. Will make the attack on the transports to-morrow at Johnsonville, and will, day after to- morrow, if necessary to do so, burn the gun-boat and move to join General Hood.
My command is coming in. Many having been absent for clothing, and the bad roads and worn-down condition of the horses compel me to move slowly. Have ordered that portion of my command at Jackson and Lexington to move at once to Perryville and arrange for crossing the river with all the commissary and quartermaster stores I have there. Have also ordered my wagon train, with one regiment and one company which were left at Corinth, to move to Cherokee, and written General hood to give them such orders as may be necessary. A portion of my Kentucky troops, sent in the direction of Paducah to guard my flank, will also be here in time to move with my day after to-morrow. Will advise you again of the result of my operations to-morrow.
Have received an order from General Beauregard to move my command and report to General Hood, north of the Tennessee River, and will obey the order unless it is countermanded. I am of the opinion, however, that blockading the river here will be more detrimental to the enemy and advantageous to General Hood than to move my command into Middle Tennessee; nevertheless, I shall go there as soon as the scattered condition of my command and worn-out condition of my horses will permit.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. B. FORREST,
Lieutenant General R. TAYLOR,
Commanding Dept. of Ala., Miss., and East La., Selma, Ala.