to hold this point if I could. He said in five days the thought all would be well. The time will be out to-morrow at 10 o'clock. We are guarding the river for 25 miles, and a pontoon bridge and steamboat hull,&c.
Yours, with much respect
R. K. BYRD,
Colonel, Commanding Post.
HEADQUARTERS SPEARS' BRIGADE, Sale Creek, Tennessee, November 19, 1863.
The within dispatch having been received this evening 8 o'clock is fourth with forwarded to department headquarters.
By order of Brig. Gen. James G. Spears:
JOS. A. E. BLANG,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
KNOXVILLE, November 19, 1863.
[Brig. Gen. M. D. MANSON:]
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, in pursuance with your orders, I took with me two companies of the Seventy-first Indiana Mounted Infantry to make a reconnaissance on the roads leading to Armstrong's, Boyd's, and Ramsey's Ferries.
One company, under the charge of Maj. H. W. Wells, First Tennessee Artillery, I sent along the Armstrong Ferry road, a distance of 4 1/2 miles from Knoxville. He met no rebel troops, but reports a part of Starnes' rebel cavalry brigade (about a regiment strong) having camped near Mrs. Nave's house, 4 1/2 miles from here. He also reports that upon his return the cavalry pickets in our front informed him that a rebel cavalry force about 50 strong went into the same road he traveled and followed him, about half an hour after he started, which he did not meet, having been instructed by me to go across Boyd's Ferry and there join the other company or follow it back to Knoxville. With the other company I proceeded to Boyd's Ferry, about 5 miles from town, where I found 20 men of the Eleventh Kentucky Regiment, under charge of Lieutenant Roark. From this point I went to Ramsey's Ferry, and thence back to Knoxville, being followed by the other company.
I neither found nor heard of any rebel troops having been on these roads. About 1 1/2 miles from town the road forks, one branch (the left) going to Boyd's Ferry,the other to Ramsey's Ferry. Just beyond this fork is a ridge of hills running diagonally across, which is a very strong position. From his point the country to Boyd's Ferry is a good deal broken and covered with underbrush, and new growth of forest trees. At the ferry the ground is clear and river hills on each side, but not abrupt in their inclination.
The Ramsey's Ferry road is quite hilly, and the country is full of underbrush and woods. At this ferry there is a picket guard of 1 sergeant and 10 men. The ford at Boyd's Ferry is 3 feet deep; at Armstrong's about the same, and at Ramsey's Ferry there is no ford at all. Ramsey's Ferry is about 4 miles from Knoxville.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant Colonel, and Provost-Marshal-General, 23rd Army Corps