SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF TENNESSEE,
Numbers 38. Missionary Ridge, October 23, 1863.
I. Brigadier General D. Leadbetter is announced as chief of the department of engineers on the staff of the commanding general.
II. Captain S. W. Presstman is assigned to the command of the engineer troops of the army.
By command of General Bragg:
GEORGE WM. BRENT,
[OCTOBER 23-29, 1863.-For correspondence, etc., relating to the re-opening of the Tennessee River by the Union forces, see Part I, pp. 220-222.]
SWEET WATER, Tennessee,
October 23, 1863.
His Excellency President DAVIS:
DEAR SIR: After my best respects to you, as you requested me to write you when I last saw you in Richmond, I do so at this time. I was anxious to see you when you were at Chickamauga, but I was engaged then in trying to get up an expedition to move from Cleveland to this point and drive Colonel Wolford's command back, which was laying waste this section of country and my county. General Bragg ordered two brigades of cavalry to advance along the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad.
I proposed a plan to Major-General Stevenson, who was to follow with a small infantry division, which he adopted. We had one brigade in the rear of the enemy, and ready to make the attack when a flag of truce met our forces. Colonel Dibrell, who was commanding General Forrest's old brigade, did not feel willing to advance and disregard the flag and surrendered the command to me. I knew then that the attack should be made or Colonel Morrison's brigade would all be cut to pieces and captured, so I carried out my programme and routed Colonel Wolford's brigade, and such a rout I never saw, and if the men had acted as true soldiers and not commenced plundering their train,&c., I would have captured over half his command. We captured about 500 prisoners, the same of horses or more, and the same of arms, all their wagon trains, six pieces of artillery, horses and harness complete. We lost 13 men killed and some 60 prisoners. The enemy lost, killed, about 35, and many wounded. It was a grand victory.
The enemy now hold Loudon, 28 miles south of Knoxville. I am of the opinion that General Burnside is sending a large force to that point for the purpose of advancing toward Chattanooga. I hope all may go well here. Major-General Stevenson has arrived.
In conclusion I am sorry to say that our Vicksburg prisoners in East Tennessee are not reporting for duty. Our people who have been and are within the enemy's lines are very disheartened.
My brigade has not been exchanged yet. I have or had sent to Fort Delaware 550 men from Big Black, Miss., and paroled at Vicksburg