War of the Rebellion: Serial 023 Page 0724 KY., M. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXVIII.

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KNOXVILLE, TENN., July 7, 1862.

Brigadier General C. L. STEVENSON, Commanding Division:

GENERAL: I am directed by the major-general commanding to say to you that we may soon assume the offensive against General Morgan's column, in which case it will be of the utmost importance to push a cavalry force across upon his line of communications for the purpose of cutting off his supplies. If we can succeed in doing this the enemy will be obliged to evacuate his position at Cumberland Gap or some out and give us battle. He wished you to make careful inquiries and get all the information you can with reference to the practicability of moving such a force through Big Creek Gap or by any other route which you may think most practicable. Particular inquiries should me made about the position of the enemy's magazines. The general thinks from information received that they have deports at Flat Lick and Loudon. If your investigations prove the scheme to be feasible three regiments of cavalry may be sent to capture them. By taking these, capturing the trains on the road, pushing on and destroying the bridge over the Kentucky River, a blow could be given which would so cripple the enemy's resources as to compel the evacuation of the position. the force sent on this expedition would have two lines of retreat: one south by Kingston and Sparta; the other east, into Virginia, through Pound Gap, or some other pass in that vicinity. The commanding general desires you to make the necessary inquiries without exciting suspicion or attracting attention. The plan should not be known till the expedition is determined on and started.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. CUNNINGHAM,

Acting Aide-de-Camp.

KNOXVILLE, TENN., July 8, 1862.

Brigadier General C. L. STEVENSON,

Commanding Division, Bean's Station, Tenn.:

GENERAL: I have the honor, by order of the commanding general, to inclose herewith a communication* from Colonel Reynolds received at these headquarters. Colonel Reynolds has been directed not to destroy supplies, as it is probable our troops will soon occupy the country where he is operating, in which case everything it can afford will be needed for our own use. A communication from Cumberland Gap was forwarded you to-day. The commanding general thinks it would be well for you to make arrangements without delay for closing up with your command nearer to Cumberland Gap, on the line either of the Clinch or Powell's river, as your may think best for maintaining communication and co-operation between the brigades of your command. Meanwhile he desires you to push forward the preparations for moving the cavalry force referred to in the communication of yesterday, as from indications of the enemy's movements it may be necessary to assume the offensive sooner than was at first anticipated. A Florida regiment has been ordered from Chattanooga to Knoxville. This will leave two regiments in reserve here to be ordered wherever occasion may require.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. CUNNINGHAM,

Lieutenant and Acting Aide-de-Camp.

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* Not found.

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