have but 40 rounds per man on hand. In the mean time I will do all in my power to gather in wheat and corn, and have it ground for the ese of the troops, as rapidly as possible.
In case the Paint Rock and Dunbar arrive promptly with a sufficiency of flats, I would suggest that the whole command proceed to Loudon and cross the river there, as it will give us the advantage of a double base at Kingston and Loudon.
It is clearly evident to me that Longstreet does not intend to cross to the south side of the river, either to fight or escape.
His only route is by the Lynchburg railroad or the French Broad River.
Captain W. E. Merrill, U. S. Engineers, of my staff, is ordered to report to you to render any assistance in building the bridge, and report to me on its completion.
Whatever we do should be done with the greatest promptitude.
In case our troops are caught in a cold rain in these mountains at this inclement season of the year, many of them must perish and many more become disabled, without the means of sheltering, feeding, or otherwise providing for their comfort.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
December 3, 1863.
DEAR GENERAL: Yours is received. The river is a more formidable obstacle than I had supposed. Halt your column where you please and keep a staff officer here to advise you of the time when bridge will be complete. If the boats Paint Rock and Dunbar come up, we can both cross there, then here. I will push the work on the bridge. The rebels have a train of thirty wagons between here and Tellico Plains, escaping for Murphy, but I have sent all my cavalry to Knoxville. Halt your Second Division at Philadelphia, and make the mills grind flour. You can collect any quantity of shorts and rye up the valley.
W. T. SHERMAN,
December 3, 1863- 3 p. m.
The river here is more of an obstacle than we calculated. It will take some time to bridge. Has the cavalry gone to Burnside?
Don't move your command till you hear one bridge is done. Can you do anything in the way of crossing? Any boats saved? We expect the boats Paint Rock and Dunbar up with provisions, and they may serve to pass our troops, but in the mean time we must advise Burnside that we are near.
W. T. SHERMAN,