we first knew definitely that the enemy had crossed at Florence, by a copy of a dispatch from General Croxton, forwarded me by General Granger. A dispatch was also received from General Thomas at 12 m., directing that the leading DIVISION of the corps march at once to Pulaski and prepared to defend that place, the rest of the corps to close up as rapidly as possible, the artillery to come by railroad, the supply train to march by Decherd and Fayetteville.
About 2 p. m. I left Athens with the THIRD DIVISION for Pulaski. Just as I was leaving I received a dispatch from Brigadier General R. S. Granger, saying the enemy was in large force at Brown's Ferry, and he anticipated they would try to force a crossing. A I was leaving Athens and could give no assistance, I advised him that if the enemy did cross and infantry force at Brown's Ferry, Athens should be evacuated, as the garrison would be liable to capture. Athens was evacuated upon false rumors. At 4 p. m. the same afternoon, by General R. S. Granger's order, a very considerable amount of public property was destroyed, although no enemy had shown themselves between Elk River and the Tennessee.
The troops were put in motion at 4 o'clock on the morning of the 1st of November. They forded Elk River and breakfasted at Elkton, and reached Pulaski at 4 o'clock in the evening. I found General Hatch with his DIVISION of cavalry at Pulaski, and by General Thomas' order directed him to await further orders, instead of pushing on to overtake General Sherman, as first ordered. On the 2nd I learned that Hood's army was in force in Florence and intrenching. I also learned definitely that a pontoon bridge was laid at Florence. The same day Woods' DIVISION commenced intrenching our position at Pulaski.
By the 4th all the infantry of the corps, expecting Kirby's brigade of the First DIVISION, with the trains, had joined at Pulaski. On the same day General Hatch's commanding to connecs Factory, to watch the enemy and keep him at Florence as long as possible. The defenses of Pulaski were put under the direction of Brigadier General Thomas J. Wood, and were rapidly pushed forward to completion, forming a formidable line in intrenchments around the village of Pulaski. General Hatch, in command of the cavalry, observing Hood's army at Florence, disposed his forces so judiciously that not a movement of any consequence could be made by the enemy in any direction that we were not immediately apprised of it, and it is very much to the credit of this excellent cavalry office that for nearly one month he maintained a line of pickets and outposts FIFTY miles in extent and nearly surrounding the rebel force of infantry, and the latter part of the time cavalry, and gave timely notice of their first advance northward, and that without any serious loss in his command. *
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. S. STANLEY,
Brigadier General W. D. WHIPPLE,
Chief of Staff.
* For continuation of report, relating to Franklin, &c., see Vol. XLV, Part I.