escape. If the information that you have is such as to warrant your move, you may set out upon it to-morrow morning early.
You will have a brigade and battery in position upon our left to keep us advised.
Your force that leaves via Clinton will be obliged to make a night's march in order to be sure of getting to the enemy's rear, and in that way cut him off. You should be back in position in four or at most five days.
P. S.-Advise me if you can make the move at once.
HEADQUARTERS, November 21, 1863.
Maj. Gen. J. WHEELER,
GENERAL: I sent your brigade back to report to you. When I ordered it over here I was under the impression that it could not cross above. The bad weather last night and to-day will make the river past fording everywhere I am afraid. If you could float 200 or 300 trees down against the bridge on the rise to-night, we might cut off the bridge and divide their forces. If you can do this to-night, let me know that I may have parties on the lookout to pick up as many of the trees as possible to keep them off our bridges below. I would like to get definite information about the force reported at Powell's Valley and about Strawberry Plains as soon as possible. I would also like to have you try and keep yourself advised of any moves of the enemy on the other side of the river. As soon as you hear from the Virginia forces please advise me.
HEADQUARTERS, November 21, 1863-7.30 a.m.
GENERAL: Your several notes of last night have been received. The commanding general directs me to say that he does not deem it necessary that you should fortify your position beyond the construction of some small temporary pits for the protection of your skirmishers and pickets in the event of your leaving them for a time. Colonel Russell has been sent back to you, as the commanding general does not wish to use him to cross below as long as he can secure a crossing above. He prefers that a brigade should be sent over from that direction, and has therefore directed Colonel Russell to report back to you.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. SORREL,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.