to orders received at Chattanooga, and reported to Major-General Sherman. From there took road to Benton, sending my ammunition wagons with the infantry column on Charleston road, striking the Federal road. I came upon a drove of about 300 hogs belonging to the Confederate Government. Moved on to B[enton] with the main column, sending the Fourth Michigan on reconnaissance to mouth of Ocoee River, and the Fourth Ohio down the Federal road. The latter party captured another drove of about 500 hogs.
December 1, I marched to Columbus, on Hiwassee River; then, returning to Benton, detached to Fourth Michigan and Fourth Ohio to go back to Cleveland, with captured hogs and prisoners taken on the 29th and 30th. One regiment was sent to secure the boats at mouth of Ocoee and float them down to Charleston, and, with the remainder of the command, I proceed to Charleston. Orders from General Sherman directed me to moved on immediately to Athens, and I reached there some two hours after midnight. From Athens I sent back 150 dismounted men, under charge of Captain Wade, Ninety-eighth Illinois Mounted Infantry, to garrison the town of Calhoun, and hold the bridge at that place; also 25 men, to be joined by 25 others from the two regiments then at Cleveland, to take the captured hogs to Chattanooga. Detachments of the Third U. S. Cavalry and Fifth Ohio Cavalry reported to me for orders, and I marched for Loudon in advance of General Sherman's forces. Near Loudon my advance regiment (Third Ohio) was met by a force of rebel cavalry, routed them and took about 30 prisoners, losing 1 killed and 2 wounded. General Vaughn, with a force of infantry and some artillery, occupied the fortifications about the town, and opened upon my column with shell. Not being able to dislodge the enemy any other way, I determined to charge the works. I dismounted my command, and moved forward in line, but, on approaching his position, I found him stronger than anticipated, the confronting force being fully equal, if not superior, to my own in numbers, besides the advantage of position being greatly in their favor. I then fell back, and, after reporting to General Sherman, bivouacked about a mile from Loudon. During the night Vaughn destroyed his stores, took up his pontoons, and, after running into the river 4 locomotives and 44 cars, evacuated the place.
On the 3rd December, being ordered to move forward to Knoxville and open communication with General Burnside that night if possible, I crossed the Tennessee River and marched via Maryville. Travelling from M[aryville] I could get no information as to the position of the forces or condition of affairs at Knoxville. All reports that could be obtained indicated that the town was completely surrounded by Longstreet, but near 2 a. m. I struck Colonel Wolford's cavalry pickets some 2 miles from K[noxville] and camped within his lines. Reported in person to General Burnside the following day.
On the night of the 6th, pursuant to orders from General Sherman, I marched to Maryville, and was here joined by the two regiments which had been sent back to Cleveland. From this point I was directed to start in pursuit of a train of some 300 wagons which had been cut off at Loudon when we marched on that place, and was now making its way into North Carolina. Crossed Little Tennessee River at Motley's Ford, and after crossing Tellico and Unaka Mountains and Long Ridge, following up the Hiwassee, I arrived at Murphy, N. C., on the 9th December. Met no force of the enemy except