him orders-which found him at Decatur-that Kingston was out of our way; that he should send his boat to kingston, but with his command strike across to Philadelphia, and report to me there. I had but a small force of cavalry, which was, at the time of my receipt of General Grant's orders, scouting over about Benton and Columbus. I left my aide, Major McCoy, at Charleston to communicate with this cavalry and hurry it forward. It overtook me in the night at Athens. On the 2nd of December, the army moved rapidly north toward Loudon, 26 miles distant.
About 11 a. m. the cavalry passed to the head of the column and was ordered to push to Loudon, and, if possible, save a pontoon bridge across the Tennessee, held by a brigade of the enemy, commanded by General Vaughn. The cavalry moved with such rapidity as to capture every picket, but the brigade of Vaughn had artillery in position covered by earth-works, and displayed a force too respectable to be carried by a cavalry dash, and darkness closed in before General Howard's infantry got up. The enemy abandoned the place in the night, destroying the pontoons, running 3 locomotives and 48 cars into the Tennessee, and abandoning a large quantity of provisions, four guns, and other materiel, which General Howard took at daylight.
But the bridge was gone, and we were forced to turn east and trust to General Burnside's bridge at Knoxville. It was all important that General Burnside should have notice of our coming, and but one day of the time remained.
Accordingly, at Philadelphia, during the night of the 2nd of December, i sent my aide, Captain Audenried, forward to Colonel Long, commanding the brigade of cavalry, to explain to him how all-important it was that General Burnside should have notice within twenty-four hours of our approach, and ordering him to select the best material of his command to start at once, ford the Little Tennessee, and push into Knoxville, at whatever cost of life and horse flesh. Captain Audenried was ordered to go along. The distance to be traveled was about 40 miles, and the road villainous. Before day they were off, and at daylight the Fifteenth Army Corps was turned from Philadelphia for the Little Tennessee, at Moranton, where my maps represented the river as very shall, but it was found too deep for fording, and the water freezing cold. Width, 240 yards; depth, from 2 to 5 feet. Horses could ford, but artillery and men could not. A bridge was indispensable. General Wilson, who accompanied me, undertook, to superintend the bridge, and I am under many obligations to him, as I was without an engineer, having sent Captain Jenney back from Graysville to survey our field of battle. We had our pioneers, but only such tools as axes, picks, and spades. But General Wilson, working part with crib-work and part with square trestles, made of the houses of the late town of Morganton, progressed apace, and by dark of December 4, troops and animals passed on the bridge, and by daybreak of the 5th, the Fifteenth Corps, General Blair, was over, and Generals Granger's and Davis' ivisions were ready to pass; but the diagonal bracing were imperfect for want of proper spikes, and the bridge broke, causing delay. I had ordered General Blair to move out on the Maryville road 5 miles, there to await notice that General Granger was on a parallel road abreast of him, and in person I was at a house where the roads parted, when a messenger rode up bearing me a few words from General Burnside, dated December 4. Colonel Long had arrived at Knoxville with his