HDQRS. 35TH AND 48TH TENNESSEE REGIMENTS,
Near Georgetown, Tennessee, October 22, 1863.
Commanding at Charleston and Loudon, E. Tennessee:
DEAR SIR: I am commanding the Thirty-fifth and Forty-eighth Tennessee Regiments at this point, numbering about 400 men. I was sent here to gather up wheat and put three mills in operation, and to gather up stock for the army. Have been very successful in both. I am also picketing the Tennessee River from Igou's to Blythe's Ferry with my infantry and a few mounted [men] whom I have in my command.
The enemy has fortified and done a good deal of ditching on the opposite side at Blythe's Ferry. They have also ditched on the island at that point to protect them while hauling corn from the island. Colonel Cooper, commanding a regiment in Spears' brigade, is in command of about 400 men at Blythe's Ferry. I have a good company of infantry guarding that point stationed on this side. Spears' headquarters are located on Sale Creek. The remainder of his brigade is with him. Byrd, commanding brigade of cavalry, is located at Post Oak Springs above.
I have scouts who go across the river every night. They report that Joe Clift, owning a mill on opposite [shore], and who has been grinding for the Federals, applied to General Spears on last Tuesday or Wednesday for a guard for his mill. General Spears replied that they were under marching orders and liable to move at any moment, consequently he could not furnish it. General Spears told Joe Clift that the Federal forces in east Tennessee were in a precarious situation; that our troops were marching on them from above and below, and that he was fearful they would be cut off. The Union men and private soldiers are of the opinion that Rosecrans is preparing for a retrograde movement; that he could not support his army where he now is very long.
Rosecrans sent 1,000 wagons across Walden's Ridge by the Poe road, loaded with sick, wounded, and other surplus, as the Yankees say, on last Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday night four or five batteries passed up by Sale Creek in the direction of Post Oak Springs or Smith's Cross-Roads as though they were hunting out a road to Middle Tennessee or getting forage for their stock or going to East Tennessee. Our scout was not able to ascertain which. They were nearly starved, as they pressed General Spears' corn as they went up by Sale Creek. They had a general rip and cursing spell.
They said that their horses had had no forage for forty-eight hours.
Some of the gassing, boasting officers brag that Rosecrans had received 60,000 re-enforcements and would hold his position, while others of his men and officers said that he had not received one-half that number and could not hold it.
I have thus summed up and penned down the various items of information acquired by my scouts on the opposite side of the river. You can weigh it and judge for yourself. I hope if anything of importance should occur above you will let me know, and oblige,
Your obedient servant,
B. J. HILL,
37 R R-VOL XXXI, PT III