time. A brigade of cavalry in front toward Maynardville skirmishing all day yesterday with a superior force, and is still engaged, being forced to retire toward the Clinch River. The artillery and infantry now taking position to command the fords.
J. G. FOSTER,
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee, December 2, 1863-8 p. m.
(Received 10.45 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Sherman writes me that he will reach. Knoxville on 3rd of 4th. Foster is in position to come into the valley as soon as it is safe to do so with his force. If not already retreating. Longstreet must do so, and with great loss. I see no route for him but up the valley into West Virginia. Is there any force in West Virginia that can head him or cut the road in his front?
U. S. GRANT,
Athens, December 2, 1863- daylight.
DEAR SIR: All my messengers are back. Granger moves this morning from Decatur, 15 miles to our left, on Philadelphia. I had an officer and 4 men in Madison last night; no sings of troops or wagons moving from Loudon to Tellico Plains. The same rumor pervades the country of Longstreet's defeat and retreat, but when or by what route I am not certain. We must not let him blind us by false rumors. I want you to move steadily and briskly on the main Loudon road and make, say, 15 miles by 2 p. m. Blair will keep close up. Davis has fallen behind in drawing rations and looking for a near road. He is 9 miles behind.
About 2 I will cause all the cavalry to pass to the front and push direct into Loudon, secure the locomotives and as much of the bridge as possible. If we can save the bridge, then all is right. Make all proper inquiries by the road, and of we find that Longstreet has sent wagons or troops to the right rear, we must turn across after him and leave Granger to go to Loudon, but we must be dead sure.
The officer I sent to Madison is a young but good officer, and I trust his report rather than the vague rumors we hear here. He brought back 2 prisoners, one of whom is the editor, who says he saw the dispatch from General Vaughn to Captain---, to the effect that they had attacked Knoxville on Sunday and were repulsed. To-day we must learn for certain the truth. When sure that Knoxville is safe we can venture to experiment on Longstreet's line of retreat. It is not south or southeast, and if true must be toward Virginia.