were torn up, the sleepers burned, and the rails bent by the fire; 3 cars and the depot building were destroyed. The brigades then returned to Parker's Gap, reporting to their commands between 12 and 1 at night. They had made a continuous march of 27 miles, besides this extra work at the railroad.
This operation prevented, for the present, the possibility of Longstreet joining Bragg by railroad, and it equally prevented the passage of any re-enforcements from Bragg to Longstreet.
The pursuit of the enemy had now ended. We had in possession about a hundred prisoners gathered on the march. The next morning the order was issued that the corps should rest one day, and afterward return to Chattanooga. That afternoon General Sherman made known to me that General Grant had instructed him to move to the Hiwassee to operate against Longstreet. He wanted his entire column, and issued orders to me accordingly, designating the route I should take. The rest of the day and night was, therefore, spent in preparation.
Wagons belonging to the different brigades were on the road, many of them stuck in the mud, all the way from Parker's Gap to the mouth of the Chickamauga. As the command was short of rations the wagons had to be brought up before the next morning. By extraordinary exertions this was done, and three days' rations distributed.
One battery and all of the wagons, except the ammunition, were sent back to Chattanooga.
November 29, the corps marched from Parker's Gap to Cleveland, 20 miles. A company of 60 rebel cavalry in Cleveland and its immediate vicinity escaped toward Dalton as we approached. The rebel provost-marshal, Captain Henly, was captured.
November 30, the corps marched to Charleston, on the Hiwassee.
On learning of our approach a company of rebel cavalry, about 300 infantry, and several wagons left toward Athens. We found the pontoon bridge broken, swung around, and many of the boats stove and others rapidly floating down stream, the railroad bridge partially destroyed, the stringers having been sawed off, and two of the trestles thrown down. A detachment of rebels on the opposite bank were trying to destroy three cars loaded with stores, whereupon Wheeler, with a section of his battery, opened fire and drove them off. From these cars we subsequently obtained some two days' rations of flour and seven or eight days' of salt, and a quantity of spikes, which came in play in repairing the bridge. Several boats were rescued by Colonel Orland Smith, by which he crossed a regiment immediately. During the rest of the day and the following night the railroad bridge was repaired planked over, and rendered passable for artillery and wagons.
December 1, the crossing commenced at 5 a.m., We arrived at Athens by 4 p.m., and encamped about 2 miles beyond; march for the day, 14 miles. Here we heard the report that Longstreet had attacked Burnside at Knoxville and been repulsed on Sunday, November 29.
December 2,the corps left camp at 5.30 a.m. for Philadelphia and Loudon. About 3 miles this side of Sweet Water the advance came upon a detachment of the enemy's cavalry. As soon as the infantry skirmishers approached within musket range the cavalry would leave. We kept them in sight till we arrived at Sweet Water, at which place we were directed by Major-General Sherman to make a