HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
December 26, 1862.
GENERAL: The general commanding directs that you prepare your corps for immediate movement. The enemy are in force in front, and appearances indicate an advance on their part.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE WM. BRENT,
HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Murfreesborough, December 26, 1862-9 p.m.
Major-General CHEATHAM and
GENERAL: I am directed by the lieutenant-general commanding to order you to prepare your division for immediate movement. The enemy is in force in front, and appearances indicate a forward movements on his part. You will order three days' rations to be cooked.
I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,
L. L. BULTER,
KNOXVILLE, TENN., December 26, 1862.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I returned from Murfreesborough, where I remained until the arrangements for the transshipment of the troops were completed and in process of execution. At the urgent request of General Bragg, I sent only Stevenson's division, of three brigades, from the army in Middle Tennessee, and an East Tennessee brigade, stationed near the railroad, at Kingston, was added to his command, making an effective force of about 9,000. The advantage of this change was, it leaves McCown's division intact with General Bragg, and transfers the East Tennessee, which, though good troops, are better away from the Union influences by which they are here surrounded. Bragg's army is in fine fighting condition; you need have no fear for the result when it is brought into action. I only wish his right extended up toward McMinnville, securing his own retreat by Sparta, and covering East Tennessee from any move of the enemy operating on his right flank. General Bragg is in good spirits; he has been in constant receipt of information indicating the evacuation of Nashville, and feels confident he will soon be in possession of the city.
Rosecrans is enterprising; his force is, I think, underestimated, and I would look for offensive operations rather than the abandonment of Middle Tennessee, which the evacuation of Nashville necessitates.
I called Bragg's attention to the fact that Rosecrans had just had prepared 1,000 pack saddles, looking evidently to operations in the mountains of East Tennessee or North Alabama.
Morgan was at Murfreesborough when I left, but intended moving in two days; his expedition was in every one's mouth, and, I fear, has been too openly canvassed. I saw in a Nashville paper a correct estimate of his force and its destination, and an indication that preparations were making for its reception.
I hope our prospects in Mississippi have improved, and that your visit with the President will give cheering results. The natural obstacles of