ward went up to Mansfield's Gap on the road leading from the gap to Talbott's Station. I learned here that squads and companies of rebel cavalry had been passing and repassing all day, and was informed by a citizen that Morgan's command (size unknown), which was encamped at Widow Kimbrough's last night and this morning, left there at 1 p. m. to-day and took the road for Panther Springs.
I believe this information to be correct, although I could find no one who had seen them leave. It was corroborated by the fact of the party which had been at Brooks' Cross-Roads, having been withdrawn at noon, and also by the existence of the other recent camp which we saw. If it had not been dark I should have gone on to Widow Kimbrough's, where there is evidently some force or the pickets would not have been at Bettus'. I propose to do this in the morning if you have no other disposition to make. I have not been diverted from the fulfillment of orders by 25 rebel cavalry, although I sent an officer and 6 men to Fane's Mill to ascertain what I could about them after they had run close into my pickets on the Mossy Creek and Dandridge road at about noon to-day. They captured 1 horse belonging to a man of the reserve, who was getting some baking done at a house just beyond the pickets. The whole of the rebel cavalry could come from Dandridge or vicinity to Mossy Creek by the shortest road without meeting any of Colonel Wolford's force or pickets.
I am, general, yours, respectfully,
WM. J. PALMER,
PULASKI, December 28, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT:
One of our men has come in. Left Cave Spring the 19th. Says on the 16th Hardee had his headquarters at Dalton, with his army near there; one brigade of infantry at Resaca; Kelly's division of cavalry was with Hardee at Cave Spring. There was a brigade of cavalry of Martin's division, the First [Sixth], Second, and Third Tennessee, under command of Colonel Wheeler, of the First [Sixth] Tennessee. They were building barracks and expected to stay the winter in Rome. There was a large force of State troops, estimated at 15,000. Martin's other two brigades of cavalry were with Longstreet on his way here. He passed through Godsend, Somerville, Courtland, &c. No troops at those places of any account.
G. M. DODGE,
HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Scottsborough, Ala., December 28, 1863.
Brigadier General G. M. DODGE,
Commanding Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: Your letter of December 24 was received yesterday. We are pushing slowly along the road westward, the roads being almost impassable. But small quantities of forage and stock remain