miles of Virginia and probably into Virginia. I am now waiting for reports from the front so that I can definitely report to you the position of our advance.
One of our cavalry brigades had a sharp fight yesterday at Blountville, in which the enemy were beaten and dispersed. I will telegraph the particulars this evening or to-morrow. The main body of the troops are now moving in the direction your order indicates. The bridge at this place is burned, and I suppose the one over the Holston at Union Station is also burned. That is the extreme point that I was ordered by General Halleck to hold. I leave for Knoxville very soon, and will try to telegraph you from there early tomorrow morning. Nearly 40 miles of the distance has to be made on horseback, owing to the burning of some small bridges between Greeneville and Jonesborough, which I hope to have repaired very soon.
I shall leave force enough in this neighborhood to, in all probability, hold this section until the citizens can be armed. The entire country is Union up to the line of the Watauga River. Sevier County is entirely rebellious. I hoped to have been able to have accomplished one very important piece of work within forty-eight hours, but the receipt of your order will delay it. But I do not for a moment doubt the wisdom of the order. You may be sure I will use all possible dispatch in carrying it out. The news from Rosecrans is rather discouraging, but I sincerely hope and believe that he will be able to hold his position until such re-enforcements as you have ordered to him can arrive.
Our cavalry, under General Shackelford, has been continually in contact with the enemy, driving them all the time. Colonel Carter's brigade has been moving along line of railroad, and Colonel Foster has been on the flank. He whipped the enemy very handsomely, both at Blountville and Bristol. We have thus far captured but four pieces of artillery and but few prisoners. I hope direct telegraph communication will be opened with you to-morrow.
A. E. BURNSIDE,
HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., FOURTH DIV., 23rd ARMY CORPS, Calhoun, Tenn., September 23, 1863.
I have received the following dispatch from General Burnside:
CARTER'S STATION, September 23.
You must keep your scouts and pickets well out, and not allow yourself to be surprised or defeated if you can avoid it. Have driven the rebels from this place, and the bridge is burned [Carter's Station, Tenn.]. I shall move down with all my available force.
A. E. BURNSIDE,
White's division is at Athens. We have communication with Knoxville and the East by telegraph from this place. Major-General Burnside's advance force will be here to-day.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.