War of the Rebellion: Serial 030 Page 0470 KY.,MID.AND E.TENN.,N.ALA.,AND SW.VA. Chapter XXXII.

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KNOXVILLE, December 30, 1862.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector-General:

The enemy in force have made their appearance near Big Creek Gap. A large cavalry force, reported 4,000 men, has crossed the mountain 35 miles above Cumberland Gap, and are marching through Lee County, Virginia, on Bristol. I have not 600 men on the line of the railroad, and less than 4,000 men along the Cumberland Mountain, and not more than 6,000 troops in the whole department. Nearly all the cavalry of my command has been detained in Middle Tennessee by General Bragg.

E. KIRBY SMITH,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

ABINGDON, December [30], 1862.

Major General SAMUEL JONES:

GENERAL: Enemy within 3 miles of Bristol, supposed 2,000 strong; moves on Watauga Bridge, doubtless. I telegraphed for my batteries last night at Wytheville, and have just received reply that they will be forwarded to-day. Trains were here from Bristol, and were ordered back by Dodamead. I have sent for them again, and will go to Bristol this evening and take command, on arrival of artillery.

H. MARSHALL,

Brigadier-General.

ABINGDON, December [30], 1862.

Major General SAMUEL JONES:

GENERAL: I have this moment secured a train for Bristol. The train reports the enemy some 2,500 to 3,000 strong. Watauga Bridge burning. No artillery yet arrived at Wytheville. I shall order it on, if it arrives to-night. I carry 350 men. My total, 850 infantry, 500 to 600 mounted men. If my artillery arrives, I can defend; if they tarry, I can, with your assistance, attack.

H. MARSHALL,

Brigadier-General.

BRISTOL, December 30, 1862-11 p.m.

Major-General JONES:

The force of the enemy is three regiments of cavalry, under General Carter, of Tennessee; in all, about 2,000 men; no baggage or train. They moved to Blountsville; thence to Union and to Carter Station, 20 miles from this. They left Union to-night before dark. My pickets have been to Blountsville. The impression here is that the enemy will leave as he came. Bridge at Union they burned at 1 to-day. They came through Pendleton Gap on the 28th.

H. MARSHALL,

Brigadier-General.