enemy at Bristol has been re-enforced by troops from Richmond, but I place no confidence whatever in the rumor. I think that after my demonstration at Carter's on Sunday last, the enemy saw the necessity of destroying the road, and have accordingly collected the whole available mounted force at and in the vicinity of Bristol and Saltville for this purpose. The road is destroyed as far as bridges are concerned as far down as Greeneville. I hope my brigade will be assembled in three days at Greeneville, and as soon after as possible I will commence offensive operations. I have entire confidence in my ability, when so organized, to drive the enemy back, and if they have not been re-enforced from the east or Cumberland Gap, to capture Bristol and the salt-works. You can rest assured that the campaign shall not fail for want of vigilance and energy on my part. I trust you may permit me to carry out your original order as far as possible.
If you have heard that the Fifth Indiana Cavalry is not moving up promptly, please order them to report to me at Greeneville, at once. Expedite the movement of the Ninth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, and the detachments of my command left behind as much as possible. I send my locomotive down with this dispatch.
The telegraph wire does not work down to Morristown; it may be the wire may be down. I have instructed the officer in charge to return at an early hour to-morrow and look carefully to the line. I will return to Lick Creek Bridge to-night.
JOHN W. FOSTER,
Colonel, Commanding Second Cavalry Brigade.
Major General GEORGE L. HARTSUFF,
Comdg. Twenty-third Army Corps, Knoxville, Tenn.
NEAR BLOUNTSVILLE, September 19, [1863.]
GENERAL: I arrived at Bristol to-day and occupied the town without resistance, except by a force of 400 cavalry, which were driven out of town after a severe skirmish. I tore up the railroad, and burned the bridges, 2 miles above town. A large force of rebels is stationed at Zollicoffer. They are reported as about 6,000 strong, and are commanded by Major-General Jones. Generals Williams and Jackson are also there. From best information, I am satisfied their force is about as reported, mostly infantry. I will attack to-morrow unless the force is greater than reported. I think I can hold them till you can send sufficient force to capture them. Please bring up re-enforcements as speedily as possible. Communicate with me via Jonesborough. Give me orders as to my movements.
I will try to hold the railroad and rear till re-enforcements arrive.
No time should be lost.
JOHN W. FOSTER,
BLOUNTSVILLE, TENN., September 22, 1863.
GENERAL: We met the enemy at Hall's Ford, on the Watauga, this morning at 9 o'clock, where our passage over both rivers was dis-