Push as rapidly as you can to the Hiwassee and determine for yourself what force to take with you from that point. Granger has his corps with him, from which you will select in conjunction with the forces now with you. In plain words, you will assume command of all the forces now moving up the Tennessee, including the garrison at Kingston, and from that force organize what you deem proper to relieve Burnside. The balance send back to Chattanooga.
Granger has a boat loaded with provisions, which you can issue and return the boat. I will have another loaded to follow you. Use, of course, as sparingly as possible from the rations taken with you, and subsist off the country all you can.
It is expected that Foster is moving by this time from Cumberland Gap on Knoxville. I do not know what force he has with him, but presume it will range from 3,500 to 5,000. I leave this matter to you, knowing that you will do better acting upon your discretion than you could trammeled with instructions. I will only add that the last advices from Burnside himself indicated his ability to hold out rations only to about the 3rd December.
U. S. GRANT,
CHATTANOOGA, November 29, 1863-7 a.m.
Major General JOSEPH HOOKER,
Commanding, &c., near Ringgold, Ga.:
I am directed by the major-general commanding to acknowledge the receipt of your note of November 28, 5 p.m.,and to say that your detention of Palmer's corps is approved, and in view of the bare probability that the enemy may have assumed a menacing attitude in your front, you are authorized to detain Palmer as long as you may think necessary.
In anticipation of your return here in a few days, and the probable continuance of bad roads, the general thinks you had better send back your extra artillery and wagons at once.
J. H. WILSON,
HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH AND TWELFTH CORPS,
Ringgold, Ga., November 29, 1863-1 p.m.
Your dispatch of 7 a.m. received. I notified General Thomas of my detention of Palmer's corps last evening by the same courier that carried the dispatch to you. At the same time General Palmer notified General Thomas, asking for orders in view of his having been ordered to Chattanooga by General Palmer, ordered him to return reply, dated at midnight, to General Palmer, ordered him to return at once. Upon General Palmer showing me this order I of course directed his compliance with it. He has been gone some three hours with his command. The enemy are unquestionably prepared to make a defense at Tunnel Hill, but the only force that has shown itself in front of my advance pickets has been a body of about 50