General Geary's division at 2.30 a.m. returning to his camp in Lookout Valley.
General Osterhaus' division will follow General Geary and encamp in Chattanooga Valley, between Rossville and Chattanooga, and report to General Grant for instructions. The baggage and wagons will start as soon as the moon is up.
The cavalry under Colonel Nicholas will bring up the rear.
General Geary, directly before leaving, will cause all the mills, the railroad depots, the tanneries, and the two road bridges over Chickamauga River near Ringgold to be thoroughly destroyed.
Colonel Nicholas, commanding the cavalry, will keep his cavalry at least a mile in rear of General Osterhaus' column during the movement, and report to General Osterhaus until his division shall have passed Rossville, when Colonel Nicholas will return with his command to camp in Lookout Valley.
By command of Major-General Hooker:
H. W. PERKINS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH AND TWELFTH CORPS,
Lookout Valley, Tennessee, December 28, 1863.
Honorable SALMON P. CHASE,
Secretary of the Treasury:
SIR: I wrote you very hastily from Ringgold, and in my letter intimated that the battle just ended developed and closed differently from what was designed, so far as concerned the operations of my column. I had no time to explain, and have had none since until now. That you may correctly understand my reasons for making that statement, I send you herewith copies of instructions and correspondence, * which will leave you no room for misapprehension. I mark them confidential, as I am not satisfied, under the orders of the War Department, that I am at liberty to furnish them even to a minister of the Government. By the first order, which unceremoniously deprived me of the Eleventh Corps, you will perceive that the strategy and tactics of the campaign were to throw it into the hands of Sherman, to my exclusion. On receiving the order, I said to General Thomas that it was my practice to accompany the portion of my command going into battle, and that if he had no objection I would go with the Eleventh Corps to Chattanooga, to which he assented, and said that he would be glad to have me do so. You will observe the attack was ordered to be made on Saturday, the 19th. At that time the greater part of the troops to whom this duty was assigned were at Bridgeport, certainly two good marches distant. Of course they were not on hand at the appointed time, and the movement, which was intended to be more or less of a surprise, was postponed, first until the next day (Sunday), and again until the following Tuesday. You will rightly conclude that these delays extinguished all possible hope of taking the enemy unawares, especially if you bear in mind that the pontoons were removed to the point of crossing and the batteries placed in position to cover it on the day first named for the execution of the movement. This, however, had no material consequence, for it was so remote from
*Not found, this being printed from Hooker's Letters Sent Book.