occupy, you will please fall carefully back when you can to this side Mossy Creek keeping a good show of force to the front and picketing all roads leading out to the front and flanks of your new position.
I am, general, very respectfully,
S. D. STURGIS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST EAST TENNESSEE BRIGADE,
Massengale's Mill, December 26, 1863.
Major General JOHN G. PARKE:
GENERAL: I have no news to report of great information or much importance. My command is encamped at this place and I have the river and roads picketed at the important points. I hear of but very little forage or breadstuffs in this section of country. I hear of but one squad of rebel cavalry near here on this side of the river, which was reported yesterday to be at Spring Creek camp-ground above this point.
At this place I do not believe any surplus of subsistence in meal and flour can be collected, nor do I think a supply for this command can be had until we have means of crossing the river. There is a small lot in sight on the other side. I have some parties out in search of forage, &c., that will return this evening, at which time I will be able to make a more definite report.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES G. SPEARS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding, &c.
P. S.-Since writing the foregoing I have had an interview with Dr. Thornburg, who lives near the headquarters, and who informs me that there is forage and subsistence in this county to a considerable extent, and that he can furnish me with some considerable amount of supplies, enough to do some time.
Respectfully, yours, &c.,
J. G. SPEARS,
OFFICE PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL OF EAST Tennessee,
Knoxville, December 26, 1863.
Brigadier General EDWARD E. POTTER,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: The attention of the commanding general is again respectfully directed to the fact that numerous complaints continue to be entered at this office in regard to the unauthorized and pernicious manner in which foraging is conducted by certain United States officers and soldiers in the vicinity of Strawberry Plains, as well as elsewhere in East Tennessee.
Numerous instances are reported in which large amounts of forage have been taken from our most zealous and devoted Union citizens and no voucher or receipt of any kind given in return.
As an illustration and example of many similar cases, the following were just related to me by Lieutenant-Colonel Brownlow, who