A cavalry force should precede the main column, turning to the right at Sparta, and move by Pikeville toward Blythe's Ferry, attracting the enemy to that point during the advance of my main column on Kingston and Knoxville. Have ten days' rations reach Sparta two days after I pass that place. On that day I can send back to Sparta wagons enough to take the ten days' rations too Knoxville or Loudon by the time my original supply is exhausted. By that time a depot can be formed at the Falls of the Caney Fork, as that stream is navigable to that point, 12 or 15 miles from Sparta, when the Cumberland is navigable to Carthage, and an additional supply of ten days' could be put in Sparta from McMinnville, making twenty days' supply within eight days of my command, and the command supplied with ten days'. If the enemy does not abandon Chattanooga when he finds the railroad cut at Loudon, the army can concentrate at that point and drive him off.
There are two roads from Carthage to Knoxville, one by Sparta, good;the other by Montgomery, pretty good. About 700 wagons would supply my corps after getting possession of Loudon until the railroad could be opened.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS.
Major-General, Commanding Center.
DECEMBER 7, 1862
Do you think there is any danger of the brigade at Carthage?
GALLATIN, December 7, 1862
Colonel Harlan reports that the enemy had recrossed the river when he arrived at Hartsville. I have ordered him to occupy the place, and be on his guard. I will send messengers to intercept the brigade from Glasgow,, and order it to Hartsville, if you think best. For the present I think it would be best to do so until we have more definite information of the movements of the enemy.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
DECEMBER 7, 1862.
Yes. Send messenger to intercept them; they went the direct route, and must be near Carthage.
[W. S. ROSECRANS,]
[DECEMBER 7, 1862]
Where is Dumont's division now lying?
[W. S. ROSECRANS,]
9 R R-VOL XX, PT II