of mounted rifles (300) was at the Three Springs, in 5 miles of Bristol, on the Reedy Creek road, where the main road to Abingdon and that to Bristol fork. [Major] Johnson's battalion of mounted rifles (250) was at Kingsport, or its vicinity, 7 miles from Big Moccasin Gap, and about 17 miles from Bristol. Johnson himself was in Abingdon on business that night. I telegraphed to Bristol, to Colonel Slemp, immediately what I had heard, and directed him to send a courier by Clay (3 miles from him), with orders to scout the roads leading from Estillville toward Bristol, and that they should co-operate to resist the approach of the enemy toward Bristol, keeping me informed at once of all they ascertained as to his route and purpose. I directed Major Johnson to repair that night to Kingsport, and draw his force back in the direction of Bristol until he formed a junction with Clay. I hoped by this arrangement to have my forces disposed to meet the enemy whichever way he came, and to hold him in check until I could re-enforce at his point of assault, so as to repulse or capture him. This diagram will give you an idea of the relation of places and dispositions:
I sent, by telegraph, to Wytheville for Jeffress' and Davidson's batteries to be moved to Abingdon by rail (guns, carriages, and harness) that night. I had at Abingdon about 400 infantry, under Colonel [H.] Hawkins. All the dispositions I have written so much to describe I made before I slept, after receiving Larmer's dispatch.
December 30.-This morning I found that the agents of the railroad had started the rolling stock of the company from Bristol about 3 o'clock in the morning,with Government stores that were in Bristol, and had run them to Abingdon for safety. I approved the proceeding, and expressed my gratification that the cars were just in place should I find
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