with orders to move to Bainbridge and seize Forrest's pontoon bridge at that place, which he used when he came into Tennessee. I then came to this place and dispased Major-General Rousseau, with a mounted force of cavalry and infantry of about 7,000 men, along the Alabama railroad to meet Forrest, who was reported at Spring Hill on the 2nd instant. General Rousseau's troops are beyond Columbia to-night, and he reports this p. m. that Forrest retreated, via Mount Pleasant, toward Florence. He will push after him as rapidly as roads will permit, and Washburn, with 3,000 cavalry, will start from Clinton, on Tenessee River, to-morrow morning, to strike General Rousseau's line of march near Pulaski and join in the pursuit. Two gun-boats have also been ordered up the Tennessee to go as far as possible. They will probably reach Florence as the river has risen very much within the past few days, and if Forrest does not succeed in getting across the river to-night I believe we shall be able to destroy him. He has done very little damage to the Alabama railroad between Pulaski and Columbia. He destoyed five miles of the road and two bridges between Columbia and Frankin. We have the telegraph repaired to Pulaski, and will soon have it through to Athens. Railroad to Athens can be repaired in one week. Bridge over the Elk River and Sulphur trestle cannot be repaired within a month, but as all the troops, in that region of the country can be supplied from Pulaski and Athens we shall not suffer much in convenience. Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad has not been in jured at all by Forrest. Following information just received by telegraph from Chattanooga:
Telegraph lines now working to Allatoona. Rebels have captured Big Shanty, and are northward bound. Sherman is after them. Railroad torn up an burned for ten miles. Chattahoochee bridge destoryed by high water, and hundered feet of bridge at Resaca also carried away by high water. General Corse's DIVISION is at Rome, and a great portion of John E. Smith's DIVISION is at Allatoona.
This force can hold the line of the Etowah and resist the farther progress of the enemy northward, whilst Sherman can move upon his rear. Sherman has ample facilities for crossing the Chattahoohcee by several bridges constructed by the army on its advance to Atlnta. He fortunately has an ample supply of ammunition and provisions in Atlanta, so that he will not be materially affected by the present state of the railroad. Re-enformements are beginning to arrive at this place, and I hope soon to have some of thme so posted as to prevent a repetition of Forrest's recent raid should he escape across the river.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
(Copy to. Honorable E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.)
NASHVILLE, TENN., October 4, 1864-8 p. m.
(Received 10. 30 p. m.)
Major T. T. ECKERT:
Storming heavy and telegraph lines not working. Forrest has gone from railroad near here, nor can I learn his whereabouts. The railroad below Dalton is badly used up. The bridges at Resaca and over Chattahoochee have been caried away by floods, and a large force of cavalry and infantry being at work on it destroying it. Before the storm came on it was working to Kingston, Knoxville, Decatur, and Pulaski.
J. C. VAN DUZER,