Reports of Major General Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Ohio.
KNOXVILLE, TENN., October 17, 1863-10 p.m.
(received 1 a.m. 19th.)
GENERAL: In view of the emergency that might at any time call most of my troops to Rosecrans, I feel it my duty to first clear my left flank of the rebel force there, and so destroy the railroad and prevent the movement of any large force from Virginia.
On the 8th instant, the enemy held down as far as Blue Springs and a cavalry brigade of ours held Bull's Gap, supported by a small body of infantry at Morristown. I accordingly dispatched a brigade of cavalry around by Rogersville to intercept the enemy's retreat and with a considerable force of infantry and artillery moved to Bull's Gap.
On Saturday, the 10th, advanced a cavalry brigade to Blue Springs, where they found the enemy strongly posted and offering a stubborn resistance. Skirmishing continued till the arrival of the infantry, about 5 p.m., when I sent in a division of infantry, who charged and cleared the woods gallantly, and drove the enemy in confusion till dark. During the night the enemy retreated precipitately, leaving their dead on the field and most of their wounded in our hands. We pursued in the morning with infantry with infantry and cavalry. The intercepting force met them at Henderson's but, owing to some misunderstanding, withdrew and allowed them to pass with only a slight check. The pursuit was continued until evening, when I withdrew most of my infantry and returned to this place. General Shackelford, with his cavalry and a brigade of infantry, continued the pursuit, the enemy making a stand at every important position; but he has driven them completely from the State; captured the fora at Zollicoffer, and burning the long railroad bridge at that place, and five other bridges, and destroyed three locomotive and about thirty-five cars. His advance is now 10 miles beyond Bristol. Our loss at Blue Springs and in the pursuit was about 100 killed and wounded; the enemy's considerably greater. About 150 prisoners were taken. General Willcox, with a division of new troops, occupies Greenville. The rest of my infantry force is concentrated here and at Loudon, with a cavalry brigade at Post Oak Springs, picketing down to Rosecrans' left, and another cavalry brigade on the south side, with outpost near the Hiwasee. A regiment of North Carolina troops we are now organizing here yesterday captured Warm Springs, N. C., and now hold Paint Rock Gap.
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-chief.
NEW YORK, November 13, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Department of the Ohio during the time I was in command:*
* * * * * * * *
Preparations# were again commenced for a move into East Tennes-
*For parts omitted, see Series I, Vo. XXIII, Part I, p. 11, and Vol XXXI, Part I, p. 272.
#Which had been disturbed by Morgan's Ohio raid; see Series I, Vol. XXIII, Part I, pp. 13-15.