nation. From Union men, women, and children articles of every description have been stolen, and the thieves not brought to punishment. Piteous cries and complaints come to me every day of this dreadful misconduct. I call upon you as men and as officers who have a care for our common reputation to use every exertion to put a stop to these crimes and irregularities, to punish the offenders with the utmost severity, to catch up stragglers from other corps and turn them over to the provost-marshal for punishment.
The provost-marshal makes more complaint against the Second Brigade, Third Division, than any other. Therefore I make a special appeal to the officers of this brigade.
Every regimental commander will read this circular to the officers of his regiment.
O. O. HOWARD,
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
Knoxville, Tennessee, December 8, 1863.
Major General A. E. BURNSIDE.,
Commanding Army of the Ohio, Knoxville:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, in accordance with orders from Major-General Sherman, I have moved my troops to this point and am now encamped on the south side of the river, about 1 1/2 miles distant.
The relief of Knoxville being the object of the expedition, of which my troops formed a part, having been accomplished and the enemy being in full retreat, with no possibility of returning, I most respectfully but most earnestly request that I be allowed to return to Chattanooga.
As is well known, we left Chattanooga with scarcely any transportation or supplies. The exigency was urgent, and we came cheerfully to the relief of our suffering and beleaguered brethren in Knoxville. We came directly after fighting a severe battle of three days' duration. We came content to do our duty with cheerfulness and alacrity. We have come here be forced marches, living upon the country as we came. Our men are many of them without shoes, blankets, overcoats, or shirts, and are entirely destitute of shelter, nay even their ordinary clothing is the light blouse and pantaloons of summer wear.
Our animals, having been starved to the last extremity almost at Chattanooga, are scarcely able to haul empty wagons.
We have fortunately been favored with fine weather during our march; had it been otherwise we could scarcely have reached here at all.
The season is at hand when the heavy rains of winter may be hourly looked for; when the roads will be rendered impassable. When this happens all our artillery and wagons must not only be abandoned, but frightful suffering must ensue among the men of my command who, even now at midday, are shivering over their camp-fires..
At Chattanooga we have some few supplies. We have the huts there which our men have constructed at great pains and time, and we have means of communication which in time may partially supply us for the winter.