I am directed to report in person at the headquarters of the Military Division of the Mississippi, which I will do in a few days. My address will consequently be "Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tenn.
Upon closing our official relations I cannot refrain (though it be rather unmilitary) from thanking you most sincerely for the uniform kindness I have met at your hands, and assuring you that it will always be gratefully remembered. If the fortune of war should again place me under your command, you will find me most willing to do my duty to the best of my ability.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ORLANDO M. POE,
Captain U. S. Engrs. Chief Engineer, Army of the Ohio.
Major General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE,
U. S. Volunteers.
NAVARRE, STARK COUNTY, OHIO,
January 13, 1864.
On the 12th of August, I was directed by the commander of the Twenty-third Army Corps to prepare for immediate service in the field. In anticipation of this, the corps commander, at my suggestion, issued an order organizing an engineer battalion, to be made up by details from the infantry regiments in the Twenty-third Army Corps. This battalion consisted of 2 captains, 2 first lieutenants and 4 second lieutenants, 16 sergeants, 32 corporals, and 250 privates, divided into two companies. I was induced to recommend the formation of this corps by the fact that there was no such organization in the Army of the Ohio, nor any other, which could be made immediately available for engineer purposes. I knew that if an advance was made, such an organization, to be under my immediate control, was almost absolutely necessary. I was desirous of carrying with us a fair allowance of intrenching tools, to do which the major-general commanding the Army of the Ohio was kind enough to order the facilities, after all the ordinary modes of procedure had failed to get the necessary transportation. Subsequent events will show how important this apparently trifling matter proved to be.
The 13th August was spent at Camp Nelson in preparation for marching. Clothing was issued to the Engineer Battalion, and the intrenching tools, consisting of 800 shovels, 500 axes, and 400 picks, were loaded.
On the 14th, they moved to Danville, and two days afterward to Crab Orchard.
The troops were disposed for the movement upon East Tennessee as follows: Hascall's division of infantry, at Crab Orchard, to march, via Somerset, Ky., Smith's Ford, Chitwood's, to Montgomery, Tenn.; Manson's division of infantry, at Lebanon, to march, via Columbia, Ky., Burkesville, and Albany, to Montgomery; two brigades of cavalry to march from London, via Williamsburg and Chitwood's, to Montgomery; two brigade of cavalry from Columbia covering the right flank of Manson's column. So accurately was the march made that, after passing over 112 miles each, the heads of the two infantry columns reached Montgomery at the same time. The march of the cavalry was equally good and well-timed. When the distance