I am not in the habit of flattering, but I have deemed it my duty to express to General Grant and others in whom I confide not only the satisfaction but the great pleasure I experienced in being associated with you in our late short but most fruitful campaign.
Not only did you do all that circumstances required, but you did it in a spirit of cheerfulness that was reflected in the conduct and behavior of your whole command.
I beg you will convey to General Schurz, Colonel Buschbeck, and to all your officers the assurance of my official and personal respect.
Should fortune bring us together again in any capacity I will deem myself most fortunate and should it ever be in my power to serve you, I beg you will unhesitatingly call on me as a friend.
With great respect, you friend,
W. T. SHERMAN,
December 18, 1863-1.30 p.m.
The object is to get your whole command on the other side of the river and push on toward Morristown, attacking the enemy and finding out his intentions. If you cannot get your battery over go without it; there should be no time lost. General Sturgis will join you as soon as possible with as much of his force as possible. I will not venture to dictate the point of crossing, but from your report I am led to believe that McKinney's Ford is good. Be as expeditious as possible.
J. G. FOSTER,
HEADQUARTERS CHIEF OF CAVALRY, DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Richland Creek Bridge, December 18, 1863-10 a.m.
Brigadier General S. D. STURGIS,
Chief of Cavalry, Army of the Ohio:
GENERAL: My command has reached this point, one brigade fording at McKinney's; ford reported good, about 3 feet deep. General Spears represents the enemy in strong force, cavalry and infantry, or dismounted cavalry, three-fourths of a miles in his front, with battery one-fourth of a mile from the road to Nance's Ferry, and commanding it. There is said to be a ford below Strawberry Plains, although deep; if so, the trains are exposed to attack from that direction if the enemy's cavalry is above on the south side of Holston. The question of subsistence is becoming a serious one, unless the resources of this locality are greater than appearances indicate. Can you give me any relief while my scouts are foraging? Is it desired that I should feel the enemy in connection with a reconnaissance just ordered by General Spears, or endeavor to obtain possession of Nance's Ferry? Having sent the guide sent me to cross the brigade at McKinney's Ford, I was delayed in procuring one for this road.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. ELLIOTT,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Cavalry.