AT NORWOOD, November 3, 1863-2 p. m.
Major J. J. REEVE,
DEAR SIR: You will please inform the major-general commanding that we crossed the Little Tennessee at Parker's Ford, found it very deep, sent a scout from there toward Henry's Mill and Maryville, and another scout toward Morganton, moved the balance 5 miles to this place, and have sent 100 men 5 miles on the Maryville road, where it is reported 200 Federals were yesterday, and a small scout to the left. We find not doubt but that the pontoon bridge at Knoxville is down, and that Wolford's brigade is on Little River, which is fordable at all crossings. We also learn that the forces about Loudon have been moving toward Knoxville, and that the trains do not run farther than to Lenoir's, and seldom that far down. I would further add that, unless our scouts learn something to change it, we will recross the river to-night and encamp at McGee's, where forage is abundant. If it meets the approbation of the major-general, I think McGee's would be the best place to camp my brigade.
I can then picket this river as far as necessary up and down, and be convenient to the crossings, and can at all times keep pickets and scouts over here.
The prospect for driving out stock is not flattering as it would be unsafe to scatter out details so near a force as large as Wolford's. My informant does not know whether Wolford has more than his own brigade or not.
Brigadier-General Vaughn is with me, and I advise with him as he is familiar with all this country and its population.
If the major-general desires me to advance farther and to drive out stock, he will have to re-enforce me, as the enemy have every advantage of me with my small force, as they can cross Holston at any point from mouth of Tennessee to Knoxville, and we can only cross Tennessee at and above Parker's or Motley's Ford, which is 8 miles above Morganton.
The river fell 4 inches last night and is falling, but will not be fordable at Morganton for several days.
I also learn the enemy have 500 or 600 head of broken-down stock 5 or 6 miles south of Knoxville and are guarding it, but Wolford is between us and that. They are evidently trying to hold supplies above Little River and south of Knoxville, and by establishing our camp advanced as far as McGee's, it would tend to drive them back and probably save much of the country between Tennessee and Little Rivers.
I will await further orders at McGee's place, known as Motley's Ford.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. G. DIBRELL,
HEADQUARTERS, McGee's, November 3, 1863-7 p. m.
Major J. J. REEVE,
My scouts report within 7 miles of Knoxville no enemy.
I sent 100 men to go on to Maryville to-night, and the same to go as near Unitia as they could, and to report back to-night. A Union