to destroy none, as he could cross a locomotive at Loudon, and use the road down as far as Hiwassee.
We have eaten and are eating up much meat, meal, flour, &c., and though we try to forage on the enemy, I fear we take much of Union people. But we try and discriminate by receipts. I sent word by Wilson to have, say, 50,000 rations of sugar, coffee, salt,, and bread, sent me to Cotton Port. We can live well enough anyhow,and I won't complain if you send nothing for the men are shining fat, but these things are asked for. Shoes are in great demand. Unless otherwise ordered, as soon as Long comes in and is rested, I will march slowly and deliberately for Cleveland and Chattanooga.
I cannot hear of Elliott and presume he is where he should be, up the Clinch, on the flank of Longstreet. I saw Burnside's troops march out in pursuit before I left. I suppose Wilson has given you a copy of Burnside's letter to me.
If you want me to destroy railroad, mills, machinery,or anything, send me word, for I am sparing all these on your verbal order to spare the railroad from Tyner's to Charleston. The bridge at Charleston could be easily fixed, leaving no break from Tyner's to Knoxville but the bridge at Loudon. Burnside has 5 locomotives and 20 cars. I have saved 30 cars between Charleston and Loudon.
I expect to hear from Long in three days. The truth is, we are flourishing up here, and in no particular hurry to come to Chattanooga. So if you want, us, send the order, or if you want to push the enemy beyond Dalton, I am also "in position."
Send me orders by the party that bears this, who is an expert scout. After to-morrow, the road via Harrison and Cleveland will be safe.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Columbus, Tennessee, December 11, 1863-7.30 a.m.,
Maj. General W. T. SHERMAN:
GENERAL: Your dispatch from Athens (dated yesterday) arrived last night and found me where, I am glad to learn, you still desire me to be.
I arrived here the evening of the 8th, and immediately started the mills to running. My troops are well supplied with flour and meal and fresh meat. I have captured some Confederate flour and wheat and am subsisting on it. My troops are fully rationed in flour, meat, and salt for two days from this morning. There is considerable grain yet in the neighborhood and three fine mills, two of which answer my purposes. I need coffee, sugar, and will need salt in couple of days. Please let me know when the stores you expect arrive. I can return the wagons loaded with meat and flour or cornmeal. Many of my men are shoeless.
Bragg is not moving yet, but it will be well to watch him in the direction of Red Clay. Hardee is in command of Bragg's army, B. having been removed. The rebels are not fortifying at Dalton, so say deserters.
I have bridged the Hiwassee at this place, and can move at any time. As long as we operate in this vicinity this road and its fords