HAEDQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Philadelphia, Tennessee, December 2, 1863.
Major General O. O. HOWARD,
Commanding Eleventh Corps:
GENERAL: The general took it for granted that the enemy would destroy the bridge, cars, &c., on our approach and escape on the other side of the river; and on the whole he does not object to it, as they will be then on the narrow peninsula between the Holston and Clinch, we holding Kingston and Knoxville, but it is all important we should know the fact, before pushing eastward that the bridge is substantially destroyed. He, therefore, wishes by the break of day that you display your force at Loudon, and, if the enemy has guns or infantry on this side of the river, to feel him with artillery and skirmishers, and, if necessary attack him in force; but unless you are certain of the result do not push your lines of battle within canister range. The general proposes to turn the division following your corps to the east toward Morganton, ford or build a bridge, and push directly for Knoxville, leaving you and the other troops to follow as soon as you ascertain that the bridge is destroyed and cannot be relaid. If to-morrow morning be quiet, it would be well to fire some artillery in the direction of Knoxville, of the enemy should afford you any target, as the sound might reach Burnside and give him great comfort. Please report to the general the earliest possible moment after daylight the condition of things at Loudon.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
R. M. SAWYER,
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
Prigmore's Farm, December 2, 1863-4 p. m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Department of Tennessee:
GENERAL: Arrived here with First Division. Found the road rough and difficult. Will reach Philadelphia early to-morrow, and Loudon during the day with the advance.
I have captured a number of prisoners, from whom I learn that Longstreet was beaten at Knoxville on Sunday, and has skedaddled by the mountains in Western North Carolina.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, December 2, 1863-sunset.
GENERAL: I am just going into camp. Am 18 miles from Loudon. Will start at daylight in the morning. Six hundred rebel infantry