as soon as possible for the purpose of having an operation performed, which the surgeon informs me is necessary to obviate the bad effects likely to result from the present condition of my leg.
J. G. FOSTER,
KNOXVILLE, December 26, 1863.
Dispatch received. As soon as the railroad brigade at Strawberry Plains is completed and ammunition arrives, we can advance in force. In consequence of injury to my wounded leg from the fall of my horse on the 23d, I am disabled for a time for field service, and have therefore felt it my duty to ask to be relieved.
J. G. FOSTER,
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, December 26, 1863.
GENERAL: Your letter* of the 14th instant is received.
I learn from the Quartermaster-General that the delay in furnishing funds to Colonel Swords and Captain Dickerson is not the fault of his department, but results from the inability of the Treasury Department to immediately meet the requisitions already made. I hope the difficulty will be very soon removed.
The troops you ask for from North Carolina cannot now be sent to you. In fact General Grant's reports show that he has more troops under his command than he can use or supply. If he can subsist more in East Tennessee he can easily send them there. The reason given for withdrawing Sherman's force was the impossibility of supplying it. If what you have there now cannot be subsisted, it certainly is not good policy to send more from other departments, which cannot well spare them.
However, all this matter of distributing the armies under General Grant's command must be left to his discretion.
In regard to appropriations by Congress for railroads, your letter has been submitted to the Secretary of War, who will bring it to the attention of the President.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
KNOXVILLE, December 26, 1863-5.30 p. m.
General Grant informs me that Averell has succeeded in cutting the railroad at Salem in Longstreet's rear and in destroying locomotives, cars, depots, and stores at that place. The general thinks
*See Part I, p. 281.