HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Fayetteville, Tenn., November 9, 1863.
Brig. Gen. G. M. DODGE,
General Grant, on the 5th, supposed we were moving on the Athens and Huntsville road, but by this time he is differently advised and may somewhat modify his orders, but should he not I dispose of your command as follows: At Pulaski feel with your cavalry to Columbia up the pike, sending a commissary with sufficient wagons to get you bread, salt, sugar, coffee, & c.; then move down to Elkton or Prospect and put parties to work on the Richland and Elk River bridges until the regular repair trains come up from the rear. As soon as those bridges are advanced far enough for you to be assured that supplies can reach you by that road, move to Athens and await orders, guarding the road back as far as Pulaski.
Whilst delaying at Prospect you will find abundance of meat and corn up and down the valley of Elk River, which use of freely, leaving barely enough for the inhabitants, and let them feel and know that by breaking our communications they force us to eat them out. Elk River Valley has heretofore contributed largely to supply the enemy, and to be fair the people should do as much for us. You will find that the Fifteenth Army Corps, in passing up this valley, have already made a deep impression, but still a vast amount of corn and meat remain.
General Crook is with a strong cavalry division at Maysville, near Huntsville, and I understand General Elliott has another division at Winchester, near Decherd.
What is at Columbia I have no means of knowing, but from General Grants dispatch I infer there is a force there competent to construct and guard the railroad forward to Pulaski.
I found all the roads up the valley of Elk very bad, but I have not yet had a full report of the condition of the road from Florence to Pulaski or from Pulaski here. When you write give me exact information on these points as I should know the condition of all roads leading back toward the Tennessee.
I am, with great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN.
* See Grant to Sherman, November 5, . Offical Records, Series 1, Volume 31 Part 3, pg. 54.
SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 31, Part 3, pg. 100
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