Deserters confirm this, reporting Brown's and Cumming's brigades, of Stevenson's division, coming back from Nickajack trace last night, and are now encamped near Summertown. The deserters report further one battery encamped near Summertown and a few pieces at Nickajack trace. Cheatham and Forrest are reported to have resigned. The troops are said to be fixing winter quarters in two lines, one in front and one in rear of Missionary Ridge.
O. O. HOWARD,
HDQRS. SPEARS' BRIGADE, EAST Tennessee VOL. INFANTRY, Sale Creek, Tennessee, November 19, 1863.
Maj. General J. J. REYNOLDS,
Chief of Staff, Department of the Cumberland:
SIR: Scouts, belonging to my command, have just arrived from the south side of Tennessee River. I respectfully submit the information gained for your consideration.
There are 400 or Forrest's cavalry stationed at Peck's Chapel, 2 1/2 miles from Blythe's Ferry; they came there late in the evening of the 13th instant. There has been a continual train running to and from Bunker Hill Ferry since the above date. There are no troops at Georgetown, and but a small picket at Kincannon's Ferry, on the Hiwassee River. Wheeler's command went up the country last week, intending to cross the river somewhere above Loudon. Longstreet's command is close to Loudon. A pontoon train also went up the country on the 16th instant.
I learn that a man by the name of Jack Ables and a woman by the name of Ritchie have been carrying on considerable correspondence with the rebels. Ables crossing at the head of Jolly's Island, and the woman Ritchie at Thatcher's.
Two pieces of artillery came down the country on the 14th and went back on double-quick on the 15th; two pieces still opposite Blythe's Ferry.
No news of importance from above. All quiet within my lines. My position remains unchanged.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
JAMES G. SPEARS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Chattanooga, November 19, 1863-12 p.m.
Brig. General JAMES G. SPEARS,
Commanding Tennessee Brigade, Sale Creek:
You will move with your command farther down the river and will distribute your force so as to guard at the point now guarded by General Morgan's regiments, to wit, the Tenth and Sixteenth Illinois at Dallas, and the Tenth Michigan at Smith's Ferry. The regiments of Generals Morgan's command have been ordered to move farther down the river.
By command of Major-General Thomas:
J. J. REYNOLDS,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.