to say that he cannot spare Starnes' cavalry from the purpose for which he has ordered it detached from your command. You can replace it with the cavalry of Hilliard's Legion. It is only armed with sabers, but can be made available for scouts or distributed among better-armed mounted troops.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. BELTON,
KNOXVILLE, TENN., August 9, 1862.
General BRAXTON BRAGG, Chattanooga, Tenn.:
GENERAL: The movements of Nelson's division for the past few days indicate a possible intention of his taking such position on the road between Kingston and Sparta as to enable him by a rapid valley. I have therefore thought it proper to respectfully suggest to yo to place a force (say on division of your army) at Loudon, for the purpose of the enemy. From the present position of Buell's forces the road to Sparta would seem to be one of your natural lines of operations into Middle Tennessee, and you will see by reference to the map that Loudon is a convenient point from which to rapidly move upon any point threatened, and sufficiently near Chattanooga to bring the force rapidly back to your main body if need.
General McCown's division arrive here to-day. The cavalry (900 strong) under Colonel Scott will move from Kingston toward London, Ky., on Tuesday, and I will be able to move my forces from Clinton about the same time. I understand General Morgan has at Cumberland gap nearly a mont's supply of provisions. If this be true the reduction of the place would be a matter of more time than I presume you are willing I should take. As my move direct to Lexington, Ky., would effectually invest Morgan, and would be attended with other most brilliant results in my judgment, I suggest my being allowed to take that course, if I find the speedy reduction of the Gap an impracticable thing. I inclose a letter* bearing on that point. It is from the lieutenant-colonel of Colonel John H. Morgan's regiment, and I know him to be the man of that command. He is said by all to do all the drilling, planning, and fighting which has gained his regiment such eclat, and as he is a modest and intelligent gentleman I think his views are entitled to be well considered.
Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENTS NO.2,
Chattanooga, Tenn., August 10, 1862.
Major General E. KIRBY SMITH,
Commanding Department of East Tennessee:
Yours of yesterday's date, with its enclosures, is received this morning, and I thank you for the valuable information and suggestions. Lieutenant-Colonel Duke's report, herewith returned, is very interesting
* Not found.