From certain directions and instructions which you give me in your written communication, I fear you have not been made acquainted, by those who might have done so, that I am fully acquainted with all the roads and localities on both sides of the gap, and further, that I have been in the military profession almost continuously ever since my sixteenth year. For the above reasons I was chosen, I believe by General Burnside, and appointed to this independent command, receiving directly from him verbal, but not detailed, instructions, as I believe he trusted to my experience and local knowledge.
I hope and believe that I shall conduct operations on this side so as to enable you to enter the gap.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
JOHN F. DE COURCY,
Colonel, Commanding U. S. Troops North Side of Gap.
Reports of Colonel James P. T. Carter, Second Tennessee (mounted) Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
BULL'S GAP, October 2, 1863.
Lieutenant-Colonel Purington has fallen back 5 miles west of Greeneville. He says in a dispatch just received:
The enemy are in force at [or] near Henderson, their pickets extending to within 2 1/2 miles of Greeneville. I sent out a party of one company, supported by another, to make a reconnaissance. They drove in the enemy's pickets to within a mile of Henderson, when, they being re-enforced, we were obliged to fall back. When within a mile and a half of Greeneville the enemy made a dash on us from all directions, and, completely surrounding us, we were obliged to cut our way through, which we did the loss of 3 men; 2 were probably captured, the other killed or wounded.
The loss of the enemy must have been considerable.
JAS. P. T. CARTER,
Major-General BURNSIDE and General SHACKELFORD.
BULL'S GAP, October 3, 1863.
The following just received from Colonel Garrard:
ON HILL THIS SIDE OF BLUE SPRINGS-2.30 p.m.
On reaching here I found that Lieutenant-Colonel Purington had driven the rebels across the town. They show a small force on the hill in edge of the woods; no more that 60 or 100 have been by our forces. The citizens report their force as a regiment. I will ascertain their strength.
I can develop nothing but vedettes.
JAS. P. T. CARTER,
General BURNSIDE and Brigadier-General SHACKELFORD.