Be this as it may, with the aid of the instructions and my explanation you will be able to form an enlightened judgment on the subject. The day after Lookout I encountered the rebels again on Missionary Ridge, where my dispositions and their execution were extremely gratifying to me. On the Pea Vine a part of my forces had another encounter, no less satisfactory, and at Ringgold, the day following,still another. I was now fairly up with the tail end of the enemy's column. After marching all the morning through great quantities of his material of war and taken many prisoners, we fairly jammed him into the ravine in the mountains through which his route led, and then attacked,with one brigade, his rear guard, which had been posted to defend it, that being the only mode by which we could ascertain its strength and position. It was stoutly held by a division, and the attack failed. A brigade was then sent to the left to turn it, and there, too, our troops were met with an overwhelming force. I then sent a detachment to the right to find a vulnerable point, and while it was moving the artillery came up (having been detained up to this time in waiting for the bridges to be built,as the enemy destroyed them as fast as he fell back), and as soon as it was in position to rake the ravine the enemy was compelled to give way, and the pursuit was renewed until suspended by General Grant in person. My losses in all of these operations will be near 1,100 men. I took upward of 4,000 prisoners, 8 pieces of artillery, 8 stand of colors, an innumerable lot of small-arms, large quantities of artillery and small ammunition, a great number of caissons and wagons, large quantities of grain and flour, camp and garrison equipage, &c,. The troops were wrought up to an intense degree of excitement, and I believed that there is no one of them, from the highest to the lowest, who will not say that those four days were not only the most eventful, but the happiest of their lives. We started out with two days' rations, but that was enough. We lived on the excitement. My command consisted of detachments from all of the armies, and met for the first time the morning of the advance on Lookout. The introduction was informal but satisfactory, and soon ripened into mature and, I trust, a lasting friendship. This much for ourselves; now for the enemy. The Union people in Ringgold informed me that the army retreated through that town in a disorganized and demoralized condition, about one-third of them without arms, having thrown them away; one-third with arms, but herded together like cattle, and in the residue only had their officers been able to preserve anything like company and regimental formation, and all the rank and file swearing that they would not serve the damned Confederacy any longer. I was convinced at the time with the force I then had it was in my power to follow that army until I had captured or destroyed it.
The pursuit, however, was suspended for the reason, I presume, that the commanding general had not sufficient confidence in the opinion of Burnside as to the impregnability of his position at Knoxville to leave him to take care of himself until I could take care of Bragg's army. He may have been influenced by considerations of which I had no knowledge. I only know that here the pursuit ended. The rebels have now an advanced division at Tunnel Hill, and his main force is at Resaca, where they are intrenching. That army is now suffering from as many as forty desertions per day, which is reducing their force faster than they can make additions to it by conscription. It numbers about 35,000.