I told the delegation to go back and say to their neighbors that until they were willing to do this honestly, sincerely, they had no right to ask, much less expect, the United States Government to throw the shield of its protection around them and their property. That I would not do it, nor permit them to organize a police force under the sanction of the Federal Government when they at least were hostile to it. But when they were ready to come out and declare their love for it openly, and put forth their powers in its behalf, then I would give them all the protection I could. This is the language I have invariably used to these people.
There is a strong Union feeling springing up in the section of country between the Mississippi and Yazoo, and also on the west side of Bayou Macon, which I shall aim to promote as much as possible.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
December 2, 1863-7.20 p. m.
Major-General FOSTER, Cumberland Gap:
It seems very extraordinary that, so far as we can learn, Grant's successes have not yet been communicated to General Burnside. He says, on the 28th, that he had received no intelligence later than the 18th. It looks as if there had been before your arrival at Cumberland Gap a lack of diligence in this matter. If couriers are sent every hour and by every point of compass it would be nothing compared to the importance of letting him know Bragg's defeat and Grant's movements to aid him. I hope you have not been remiss in this matter, while I fear that sufficient exertion has not been made. If news can come, as it does come, from Burnside, it ought to go to him, and there can be no excuse for its failure.
EDWIN M. STANTON
Secretary of War.
TAZEWELL, December 2, 1863-7.30 a. m.
(Received 1.40 p. m.)
A courier came in from the front last night with the report that heavy firing was heard at Knoxville from 3 o'clock p. m. yesterday to the time he left. Can this be Granger attacking Longstreet's rear?
I am posting my small force on the Clinch River in good positions for defense or offense.
J. G. FOSTER,
CHATTANOOGA, December 2, 1863-8 p. m.
Major-General FOSTER, Tazewell, Tennessee:
Sherman will reach Knoxwille to-morrow or the day following. His force is large, and Longstreet must retreat before it without