must, of necessity, unless it is checked, be attached to it, even in the minds of our own friends.
One particular source of evil is due to the absence of proper instructions, or the character of those given, to parties sent our for forage. More serious complaints are probably made against wagoners and wagon-masters than any other class of Government employes. Robbery, theft, fraud, and open outrageous violation of all law seems to characterize their conduct in every part of the country. In behalf of a people who have suffered more than those of any other portion of the United States for their devotion to the Government, I appeal to the commanding general to introduce and enforce such regulations as will insure to them the protection they have a right to expect from an army which is here for the express purpose of restoring to them the enjoyment of those right of which they have been so long deprived.
I am, general, very respectfully, &c.,
S. P. CARTER,
Brigadier General and Provost-Marshal-General of E. Tennessee
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, Blain's Cross-Roads, 22 Miles from Knoxville.
December 19, 1863.
Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Commanding Department of the Cumberland:
GENERAL: The sufferings and privations now being undergone by our troops are most cruel, I assure you. We have been now nearly a month without tents and clothing, and from the limited quantity of our transportation-only one wagon to a regiment-and being obliged to live upon the country, our rations have been very irregular and limited.
We are now bivouacking at this place, 22 miles east of Knoxville, in the mud and rain, and many of the command are falling sick with pneumonia, diarrhea, &c., Our officers are destitute of clothing and cooking utensils, being unable to procure them at Knoxville. A small supply of clothing and shoes has arrived, about one-third of what is needed.
The stock of medicines and stationery in Knoxville is entirely exhausted. Our books an records having been left behind, we are unable to make any returns. If it is determined that we remain here this winter, I respectfully request that the First Division of this corps be sent up to join us, and with them can be sent our transportation, baggage, camp and garrison equipage, to which they can act as escort.
I am, general, very respectfully,
STRAWBERRY PLAINS, Tennessee,
December 19, 1863.
Colonel E. M. McCOOK,
Commanding First Division Cavalry:
I have the honor to report that none of the enemy have passed down the east side of the Holston River. There are 60 of the rebel