HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Missionary Ridge, November 2, 1863.
[General S. D. LEE:]
GENERAL: Your two communications of the 30th ultimo have been received, and the general commanding instructs me to express to you his thanks for your vigilance and efficiency.
He desires that you will now turn your attention to the railroads from Nashville to Decatur and Bridgeport. If possible, break them up and destroy the communications of the enemy, hang upon his rear and flank, and harass him by all the means in your power.
General Roddey will remain and co-operate with you.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE WM. BRENT,
HEADQUARTERS, West Side of Morganton, November 2, 1863-5 p. m.
Major J. J. REEVE,
DEAR SIR: I started at 2 p. m. with about 700 men and intended crossing at Motley's Ford, above Niles' Ferry. When within 2 1/2 miles of this place I met a courier, who reported the enemy had pursued Captain Coffin and attacked his rear at the river.
I immediately double-quicked up and found that Captain Coffin and 25 or 30 men who were on the other side had gone up the river, and the enemy had gone back after capturing 5 or 6 our men. They had only 30 or 40 when they dashed upon our men. The pickets on this side returned the fire. The boat was loaded, and those in it were so excited that they let the boat go, and it has floated down. I have sent down for it.
I met here a Mr. J. E. Corley, of Knoxville, who says they had withdrawn all their pickets from the south side of the river and were building a pontoon bridge at Knoxville, as he was informed on Saturday, and that all the boats on this side had been sunk or destroyed, and that they had one pontoon at Concord. He had been at his father's for a week, 6 miles above Unitia. I am informed Corley is reliable.
Your dispatch overtook me here, and I will await the arrival of General Vaughn's and Colonel Morrison's orders.
I also learn from Mr. Corley that they had a small force south of Knoxville, and all their troops down sick over there. Captain Coffin reports Colonel Wolford's brigade over there picketing Little River. I think the party that fired on him had been put across the river at Lenoir's. He says the enemy say they are not going to leave East Tennessee.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. G. DIBRELL,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.