HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Nashville, Tenn., December 10, 1862-9.50 p.m.
Major General THOMAS L. CRITTENDEN, U. S. Volunteers.
Comdg. Left Wing, Army of the Cumberland.
Camp on Murfreesborough pike:
GENERAL: The general commanding desires you to be informed of a rumor, which has reached him this evening, to the effect that Hardee and Buckner are both at Nolensville.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. P. GARESCHE,
Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff.
DECEMBER 10, 
Major General GORDON GRANGER,
Commanding Army of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.:
GENERAL: In pursuance of the project which has been discussed by us of as raid into East Tennessee, you will dispatch, as soon as practicable, a force of, say 1,200 men, under Brigadier-General Carter, U. S. Volunteers, with order to proceed into that country,and destroy so much of the railroad as may be practicable, by burning bridges, &c. This force should proceed from their various stations, by several separate routes to the point of rendezvous, from which they must move in a body through the mountains, when, continuing together, or separating into two bodies, as may be deemed best by General Carter, from the information he may obtain, it will move rapidly upon the railroad at points where there are important bridges, and, after destroying the sam, it will make the best of its way back to join your army.
I still incline toward Mount Pleasant as the route by which the expedition should pass the mountains, and this should be followed, unless controlling reasons, such as the position of the enemy's forces in East Tennessee, or the matter of supplies, should indicate some other as more preferable. Every preparation for the success of the expedition in the way of assuring that only sound and hardly officers and men are sent, that the necessaries for such a march are provided, and that proper guides are furnished, should be attended to. As an old cavalry officer yourself, accustomed to long and hazardous expeditions, I am confident that the matter could not be in better hands than yours. Your suggestion of sending wagons with supplies along with the expedition, to accompany it so far as the roads will permit, and then to transfer the loads to the mules, is of the highest importance to the success of the undertaking, and must be followed. By this means the command, on leaving its wagons, will be able to move forward with all the supplies it can carry. With reasonable good fortune the expedition ought to be able to destroy the bridges at Union and Watauga, and, if circumstances favor, the whole of the bridges between, and including those at Union and Strawberry Plains. On crossing the mountains it will have to be determined by the commander whether to keep the command together or to divide it into two detachments, one to continue on to Union, the other to move in as direct a line as possible to Strawberry Plains, the two afterward uniting at some point between these places. The latter promises the greater success; the former would seem to be the safer. Having accomplished the objects of the expedition, the command will