will pardon me for sending an officer into your department on that duty. The interest of the service seems to me to require it. Captain Robinson is an accomplished engineer, and he will, of course, not interfere with any one you may have sent on the same duty.
Very respectfully, &c.,
BRISTOL, VIA ABINGDON, January 1, 1863. [Received at Dublin, January 1.]
Major General SAMUEL JONES:
GENERAL: The enemy burned the Watauga Bridge last night, according to report, and to-day has crossed the Holston to the neighborhood of Blountsville, 10 miles from this place. I have commenced a move on Blountsville at dusk to-night, and, though my force is inferior, will bring him to action, if I can. I arrested the telegraphic operator here, and have to send this by courier to Abingdon.
BRISTOL, VIA ABINGDON, January 1, 1863. [Received at Dublin, January 1-9 p.m.]
General SAMUEL JONES:
Enemy, 2,000 strong, has commenced retreat to-night, by way of Moccasin Gap. I have 1,000 in full pursuit, 800 infantry and four pieces of artillery following; will do all in man's power to overhaul him before he crosses the Kentucky line.
MURFREESBOROUGH, TENN., January 2, 1863.
General S. COOPER:
The expedition under Forrest has fully accomplished its object. The railroads in West Tennessee are broken in various places. Large amounts of stores destroyed, many arms captured, and 1,200 prisoners paroled.* Morgan has also done his work, but the full effect is not known. The enemy in Tennessee and Mississippi are without railroad and telegraphic communication with their Government.
JACKSON, January 2, 1863.
General BRAGG, Murfreesborough:
I congratulate you upon the success which has attended all your operations. Press them vigorously I want Forrest and Roddey on this side of the Tennessee. Direct them to send to me for orders.
J. E. JOHNSTON,
*See Series I, Vol. XVII, Part I, p.593.