entire train of subsistence will be distributed, and you will get an additional supply; at least I suppose you must. The order to retain three days' supply untouched I consider of vital importance, and, unless in case of extreme necessity, must be observed. You were supplied with 20,000 rations by the pack-mules on the day of your arrival. They were sent you from General Carter's supplies, and left at Lackey's. You must exert yourself to the very utmost to get yourself supplied from the country.
Take immediate measures for building the pontoon-bridge at Loudon. Send a pretty strong scout from the Forty-fifth Ohio to Athens or below on the railroad, and report the information obtained immediately. It is probable you will be able to obtain a large quantity of supplies west and south of the river in the Sweet Water Valley, if your reconnaissance proves it safe to forage there and if your bridge is promptly built. Report to me frequently and fully.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. L. HARTSUFF,
SEPTEMBER 3, 1863.
A reliable citizen has just been in my office, bringing information of the enemy. He lives 20 miles from here and 8 miles to the left of Jonesborough; he left home at 4 o'clock this morning. He is an old citizen, whose judgment and reliability are well vouched for. He says the force of the enemy is about 3,500, of which 2,500 are mounted; that they are stationed this side of Jonesborough, with pickets reaching from the Chucky River up as far as Graysburg and Fall Branch, covering a front of almost 20 miles; that they are making as large a display as possible to deceive us; that they do not intend to fight us, but behind this line of pickets, and as much in front of it as possible, they are stealing all the horses they can lay their hands upon, and mounting their men; that they have mounted about 1,000 since they came down to Jonesborough; that the Sixteenth Georgia Battalion is in the vicinity of Fall Branch, with a large number of good horses, and that this force could be easily captured or scattered; that the enemy could be easily drawn back by our advancing; that their principal object is plunder; that they expect to hold us in check long enough to accomplish their object by displaying a bold front and exaggerating their numbers.
My scouts sent out last night have not yet returned. They should be in soon unless captured. I hope to have sufficiently reliable information in a few hours to warrant you in ordering my advance upon the enemy directly in front, or my movement in their rear, which I think will be the more successful. At the moment we go forward in force, the enemy will fall back, and, if we press them, will retreat too rapidly for our horses to check them. I have never doubted my ability either to capture or drive them out of the State, notwithstanding their exaggerated reports, if my cavalry could be actively employed, because I did not think them largely re-enforced, but in the absence of definite information, I may have made a mis-