to Columbus, with a view to releasing Morgan and his men. This story seems impossible, but I give it to you for what it is worth. Should they succeed in getting into Kentucky and near the river, captains of boats will be on their guard, and the gun-boats should be on the alert to prevent crossing. We are all well, and colonel McElroy arrived safely.
A. E. BURNSIDE,
LOUDON, October 5, 1863.
I respectfully state that the firing at Cotton Port took place on the morning of September 30, and not in the evening; that it was first reported to me by Colonel Wolford in writing from the front, within two hours after it occurred, and that I immediately forwarded to you by telegraph the following dispatch:
Colonel Wolford informs that the firing which he reported this morning, and which was supposed to be his advance engaged with the enemy, was below any of his command, and is supposed to have been at Cotton Port, 15 miles below Athens, on the Tennessee River. He will move forward toward Athens.
After sending the above I was still uneasy, and got Colonel Byrd to send my back two companies of cavalry, one of which I sent to Kingston for information and reported the news. I telegraphed you of small force crossing at Pin Hook. This dispatch was sent October 2. I trust the foregoing will acquit me of blame. If so, I will thank you to give me the benefit of such acquittal. I should certainly have been very remiss if I had failed to send such important information at once.
I certify that the message of September 30, above quoted, was sent and acknowledged by the operator at Knoxville on that day.
B. F. BRISCOE.
Lieutenant and Operator.
CUMBERLAND GAP, October 5, 1863.
Major General A. E. BURNSIDE:
The Confederate cavalry in Powell's Valley, in vicinity of Mulberry Gap, are concentrating at Jonesville. They are collecting conscripts, horses, and mules. I have sent scouts in that direction. The detachments of Eighty-sixth and One hundred and twenty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and Ninth Tennessee Cavalry returned to-day.