enemy are any place where he can harass them you may order such expedition as you deem best. If it is now too late to do any service, direct Elliott to take up a position on the line of the Hiwassee and await further orders.
Logan has gone to Bridgeport with two divisions that were here. I do not suppose it will be necessary to order him to whole you are.
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Athens, December 11, 1863
Major General U. S. GRANT:
GENERAL: I have reported to you the successful relief of General Burnside, my leaving him the two divisions, commanded by General Granger, and my return to the Hiwassee. But a dispatch I made you, and intrusted to General Howard to be carried by an officer going to Chattanooga on business, was lost by the officer from his exceeding care to keep it safe by separating it from other letters. This is just reported to me and I will send this through by some of my own men.
On the 7th I left Knoxville, and on the 8th I dispatched Colonel Long with the cavalry through the gap at Tellico Iron-Works, with orders to overtake a certain wagon train and destroy it, to make his appearance in North Georgia, and stampede the people capture
horse, mules, &c. I followed him to Tellico with Morgan L. Smith's division, which I left there in support and came here.
Jeff. C. Davis is at Columbus, on the Hiwassee, and is building a bridge; has three mills going and plenty to eat; he needs shoes, sugar, and coffee, to be happy. Howard has one brigade at Charleston, and is repairing the railroad bridge which the rebels damaged after we passed north; it must be ready now.
Howard will move to-morrow to Charleston with his corps, and advance one division to Cleveland and open communication with you. I must cover Long, but the moment he returns I can return to Chattanooga or move on Dalton. There is a good road from Columbus, or Cleveland, or Spring Place, which completely turns Dalton.
I think we should now compel Hardee to fall back of the Etowah River, giving us Rome and the Oostenaula. Of course we must fight if Hardee gives us battle, but he will not. Longstreet is off and can not do harm for a month. Lee, in Virginia, is occupied and Hardee is alone. We know that it is all nonsense to blame Bragg; it was his army, his men that broke. Bragg, Hardee, or no man could have held his army after our combinations were made.
If you move all your army to Ringgold and Varnell's Station, and I pass along down east of the Oostenaula, we can whip Hardee in no time, and we can enter Rome. Rome, you know,is not on the main railroad, but on a side road, just where the Oostenaula and Etowah unite (I have been there), and is a great manufacturing depot.
I find this country full of mills, but have destroyed none, because we hold and may hold the country. I have about thirty cars on the railroad and have destroyed none. General Burnside requested me