NEAR WALKER'S FORD,
December 24, 1863.
Major General JOHN G. PARKE:
GENERAL: Owing to the delay of the arrival of General Foster's orders, the troops for Maynardville went to Tazewell and have just returned, and are now encamped on the south side of the Clinch, about 2 miles from the ford. Will come up in the morning to where the Blain's cross-road branches off. The courier who takes this will remain at your headquarters until morning, and I would thank you send the latest information, together with any change in your headquarters. My original orders were to take position near Maynardville and keep up communication with you. I will report my position to General Foster in the morning. Your dispatch reached me at Walker's Ford, requesting me to send scouts on Clinch Mountain. I sent the necessary orders to Tazewell. I will send the Ninth Corps officers on to-morrow. It was unnecessary for General Ferrero to apply for them. They have only been delayed by the exigencies of the service. I am much obliged to you for them.
Very respectfully, &c.,
O. B. WILLCOX,
BLAIN'S CROSS-ROADS, December 24, 1863.
(Received 2.10 p.m.)
Accompanying I send you copy of a dispatch* just received from General Sturgis. On receipt of your dispatch this morning I ordered Colonel Capron, instead of moving his brigade up the Rutledge road, to cross the river and join Sturgis at New Market. He is now on the way. I sent also to General Willcox, and directed him to return the brigade of Colonel Wolford that had gone in that direction. I have just sent to Colonel Foster, and directed him to make the same disposition of his dismounted men as General Sturgis had indicated for Colonel Wolford, and to join General Sturgis without delay. I have directed Colonel Biddle to reconnoiter toward Bean's Station and up the river road beyond General Spears' position at Massengale's Mill, and to communicate all information acquired to General Spears. I have as yet no report from him.
JOHN G. PARKE.
HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, FIRST EAST TENNESSEE BRIGADE,
Massengale's Mill, December 24, 1863.
GENERAL: I received yours of December 23, 10 p.m. I shall proceed in conformity to the instructions contained therein, provided I can find anything to grind. I am of the opinion, however, that there is no grain in the country near this place. Upon inquiry I may be mistaken; I hope I shall be. We have two good mills here. All your instructions shall be carried out as speedily as possible, and a map of the roads drawn by a competent officer and forwarded to you at
*Not found as an inclosure.
31 R R-VOL XXXI, PT III