War of the Rebellion: Serial 035 Page 0375 Chapter XXXV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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soon concentrated, they will be lost to this command. We have arms and everything necessary to equip them for the field, and, if exchanged, they should be sent here without delay.



LEXINGTON, May 31, 1863-10.30 p. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

Gilbert's brigade occupies such a position that it cannot be removed safely without being immediately replaced, unless the advanced column moves on a line much farther to the east ward than the one proposed. I an anxious to complete the organization of the corps as such, and cannot do it until I know definitely all the troops that will copse it. General orders from department headquarters puts me in command of the corps, except those troops serving with the Ninth Corps from military necessity, but does not state what they are, and it being the only published order or orders on the subject, is why I asked to have the regiments excepted enumerated. Why not simplify and settle the matter completely by announcing all the troops in Kentucky, without any other exception than the Ninth Corps, as composing the Twenty-third Corps in the terms of the War Department order, and then by special order detach Carter's division, or any part of it, or any other portion of the corps, when and for as long as may be necessary? This would obviate every difficulty connected with the organization, and not interfere at all with present or future intentions.




Major General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE, Commanding Department:

GENERAL: The expedition I have the honor to propose is to destroy Loudon Bridge, distant 130 miles from Somerset. It is a railroad bridge, some 500 feet long, and its destruction would cut the railroad from Knoxville to Bragg's army. There are said to be six pieces of artillery, probably brass field, two on one side and four on the other, and some stockades. The guard is a variable force, sometimes small and sometimes as many as three regiments. We can get information from there at almost any time. I would first make a move toward Monticello and Albany (and perhaps a demonstration toward Cumberland Gap), so as to draw them off, but not to drive them out, for if driven out of these places they would fall back to Clinton and Kingston, and thus cut off our expedition. The force, to consist of 1,500 men and two rifled guns, should move down the Big South Fork of the Cumberland, by the Ridge road, through Montgomery. This route leads through Union counties. The return route of the expedition would have to depend upon the information they obtained. They might return by the Ridge road, and operate in rear of the enemy, cutting his lines of supply and communication, or through Big Creek Gap; or, if Knoxville is stripped of troops, they might go up to Strawberry Plains, and burn, the trestle bridges there, some 2 miles in extent. The stock would have to feed on grass, but at the start could take sacks of grain on the horses.

Very respectfully,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.