No. 1.-reports of Maj. Gen. Ormsby M. Mitchel, U. S. Army.
General Negley's expedition from Pulaski, supported by Colonel Lytle's expedition from Athens, entered Rogersville, driving the enemy across the Tennessee and destroying a portion of their ferry-boats. Having learned of the approach of Colonel Lytle's forces, the enemy succeeded in removing their artillery, baggage, and stores before the arrival of General Negley. I expected an obstinate defense at the passage of Elk River, and accompanied in person Colonel Lytle's expedition, but without crossing, the enemy, as usual, fled at our approach. I ordered on yesterday an expedition to move promptly from Rogersville to seize the bridge across Shoal Creek and the ferry below the mouth of same stream. This duty has been promptly executed, and the ferry and bridge are ours. No more troops will enter from that region, and we have now upon this side of the river 1,200 or 1,500 cavalry of the enemy in bands of 300 or 400, whom we will endeavor to hunt down and capture or destroy but we are hopelessly deficient in cavalry, and I fear the escape of these men, who are but plunderers and robbers. The gunboat which I have extemporized will be ready for service to-day, and I will soon be able to pay my respects to the enemy in the eastern side of this region under my command.
Elk River, principally cavalry. Their headquarters were at Rogersville, near Lamb's Ferry, and at Bainbridge Ferry, below the mouth of Shoal Creek. From these points Morgan's, Helm's, Scott's, and the Texan Cavalry have started upon their marauding expeditions. On the very day I received command of the troops posted between this point and Nashville I ordered an expedition against Rogersville, to be commanded by General Negley, which was to rendezvous at Pulaski. Colonel Lytle, of the Seventeenth Brigade, was placed in command of a force to move from Athens and engage the attention of the enemy at the mouth of Elk River. The expedition has proved a success. General Negley, with the troops under his command, moved with the utmost celerity, and has won my thanks and admiration by the rapidity of his movements. Colonel Lytle's force was thrown with great promptitude to the Elk River Ferry, and on yesterday morning, having accompanied Colonel Lytle's expedition as a volunteer, I had the pleasure of greeting the two commanders in Rogersville. v The enemy had received intelligence of the Lytle expedition, which was intended only as a feint, and were in the act of removing their baggage and train when attacked by General Negley, whose coming was entirely unanticipated. I supposed he would dispute the passage of Elk River, a most formidable barrier, but in this I was, mistaken. He had already fled from Rogersville, and was in the act of crossing his last boat load of troops to the south side of the Tennessee when attacked by General Negley. An expedition started at 12 meridian on yesterday from Rogersville, to capture Bainbridge Ferry and to destroy the boats. This has been accomplished with great promptitude and success. We have now possession of all the ferries below Decatur and the shoals, and shall prevent hereafter the passage of any troops to the north side of the river. The ferries from Florence down to Savannah I trust will be guarded by boats sent from the main army at Pittsburg Landing. I have converted a large fiat, seized on the opposite side of the river, into a gunboat. She will be ready for service this day, and will doubtless render most valuable assistance on the river in preventing the passage of marauding bands. Having, as I think, effectually cut off the enemy's means of crossing the river below Decatur, and knowing almost exactly the number of troops that have entered and now remain within the region under my command from that direction, after destroying these troops I will turn my attention promptly to the mountain regions bordering upon the Nashville and Chattanooga Railway. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
893] Decatur, and failing in my efforts, I determined to organize a force strong enough to meet and defeat any force we might reasonably expect to encounter at Rogersville. The troops advanced in two columnsone body, under command of General Negley, from Pulaski; the other, under command of Colonel Lytle, from Athens. Colonel Lytle advanced upon the road from Florence to Athens, and expected the enemy to dispute the passage at Elk River, and while thus engaged General Negley was expected to enter Rogersville, attack the enemy in the rear, and cut off his retreat across the river; but in this region, inhabited by rebels, it was impossible to conceal our movements and intentions. General Negley entered Rogersville at the very hour that Colonel Lytle reached Elkl River, but the enemy obtained a few hours' notice of the approach of Lytle's troops, and succeeded in withdrawing his guns and stores and baggage and most of his troops to the south side of the river. Negley surprised them in the act of passing over the last boat load and fired upon and dispersed them. From the best information some 4,000 of the enemy's cavalry, with several pieces of artillery, have crossed at different points-at Lamb's Ferry and the ferry just below the shoals. Of these, Morgan's cavalry have been already heard from. Helm's cavalry are on this side of the river, having penetrated toward Elkton. Scott's cavalry, in part, are on this side of the river, and some bodies of the Texan Rangers have not been able to recross. On yesterday, while at Rogersville, I ordered an expedition to move at 12 o'clock, composed of troops of Negley's command, to seize the Shoal Creek Bridge. Happily accomplished. The doubt which for two weeks has been hanging over the force of the enemy on this side of the river.is now removed. Holding, as I shall do, the command of the river from Bridgeport to Florence, I venture to ask that you will protect me at points below Florence. I have extemporized a gunboat, which will be ready for service this day. I hope to be able to move her upstream at the rate of 4 miles an hour, and by her assistance to prevent the enemy from realizing the boats we have destroyed. I will now give my personal attention to the mountain region east of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railway.