Union and the Watauga, and, if fortunate, all the bridges as far west as, and including, the very important one at Strawberry Plains, 15 miles east of Knoxville. Every precaution in the way of getting reliable guides for the routes, railroad engineers acquainted with the road in that section, and careful fitting out of the troops has received well considered attention. If successful, it will largely repay the risk by depriving the rebels of the most important of the lines of communication between their forces north and south. The most dangerous risk is from the inclement weather, which may overtake them at this advanced season. In twenty-five days the expedition should accomplish its object and return, unless it should be found advisable to occupy Cumberland Gap or some position in East Tennessee. A force will be pushed temporarily forward, to cover the retreat of the expedition, if nothing else is undertaken.
Trusting that this project may receive the approbation of the General-in-Chief, I am, very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
H. G. WRIGHT,
HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Nashville, December 18, 1862
Major-General WRIGHT, Cincinnati:
Eastern Tennessee is probably stripped of troops. If you can surprise the railroad, make thorough work. The party should seize trains; take possession of Loudon Bridge; stop one train loaded with soldiers at Cleveland; run another east to Dalton; break road; burn bridges between Dalton and Atlanta; returning destroy Loudon Bridge. Programme bold, but I believe can be successfully executed. Speed and secrecy are necessary. Part of command ought to make circuit, by Somerset, toward Columbia, thus to divert attention-to make them think you are patrolling the country. In fact, it would be better to have it slyly leak out that you intend to get in rear of Morgan, toward Burkesville, to cut him off if he enters Kentucky, and thus kill two birds with one stone.
W. R. ROSECRANS,
NASHVILLE, December 19, 1862.
Brigadier-General BOYLE, Louisville:
John H. Morgan started to-day from his camp, below Lebanon, with between 5,000 and 6,000 cavalry, no infantry, and a few small batteries, for the purpose of breaking up the railroad. His advance guard now near Hartsville. This news is positive.
W. S. ROSECRANS,
(Copy to General Granger, at Bowling Green.)
LOUISVILLE, December 19, 1862
Cannot the forces at Gallatin cut Morgan off? Hartsville is only 16 or 17 miles from Gallatin, and it seems to me the force there could whip