advancing across the mountains on this place and Chattanooga, reaching the ferry at this place the night of the 20th instant, reporting to General Wood, in command here, the advance of the Federal in force.
While operating in the mountains, William Beshears, of the Thirty-second Tennessee, of your command, deserted; whose gun and equipments I turned over to another member of my scouts, who, with the same, was captured by the Federals.
Robertson, of the Forty-fifth Tennessee Regiment, of your command, having been mounted, absented himself from my command, going off without permission, and joining Captain Carter's company of scouts, who was going in the vicinity of Lebanon, Tenn., who will return, as I believe, in a few days with the party.
All the balance of your command which were under me have returned to their respective regiments, except my brother (L. B. McFerrin, of the Thirty-second Tennessee) and E. Nesbitt, of the Forty-fifth Tennessee Regiment, who I sent back with this report.
By order of Lieutenant-General Hill I am reporting to Colonel Hill, of the Thirty-fifth Tennessee Regiment, now commanding Polk's brigade on Tennessee River, acting as scouts and couriers up and down the river; and, general, I most earnestly request that you permit my brother to return and act with me, if it can be done without injury to our service, as I know he can render valuable service with me.
I send you by my brother a gray mare captured. If she suits you keep her; if not return her, and when Robertson returns keep the animal that he has, which is a very fine one, and one captured by me, which I feel quite sure will suit you.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, yours, &c.,
J. A. McFERRIN,
First Lieutenant, Thirty-second Tennessee Regt., Comdg. Scouts.
[AUGUST 22, 1863.-For Cooper to Jones, Jones to Buckner, Jones to Cooper, and Stringfellow to Jones, relative to re-enforcing Buckner, see Series I, Vol. XXIX, Part II, p. 662.
KNOXVILLE, August 22, 1863.
Chief of Staff, Chattanooga:
In consequence of news from Forrest, I am concentrating all my available forces to-day in direction of Kingston. I have ordered Preston with his infantry to this point, to join rest of my forces. If you have any field transportation near Loudon to spare, please send it to me, My general train has been engaged in supplying Cumberland Gap. I cannot divide my infantry to hold Big Creek Gap. I am covering it with cavalry. Any information of the enemy on your front which should influence my movements, please send. Use the new key if in cipher. Above sent in cipher.
S. B. BUCKNER,