base. May I ask that you will adopt such measures as may be in your power to have your road put in condition to supply me here as soon as possible? Major Wallace, the president of the Georgia and East Tennessee Railroad, goes to Bristol to offer his services and hands to you to aid in restoring my communication as soon as possible.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS, December 2, 1863.
General R. RANSOM, Jr.,
Commanding Division, Southwestern Virginia.
Colonel Giltner has handed your letter to him of the 1st and read. Colonel Giltner is here and seems indispensable to us. Our communication with General Bragg's army is cut off and I am making my arrangements to retire to Virginia if compelled to retire at all. I have written several times, urging you to join us as soon as possible. Let me repeat this as a move almost essential. The enemy is advancing in considerable force to relieve the army at Knoxville, and without your aid the relief must compel me to retire.
General W. E. Jones is also near here, and is also essential to secure me in my move to my new base. I received a message yesterday purporting to come from you, to the effect that you would be here to-morrow night, and I have confidently counted upon your aid till the moment of seeing your note to Colonel Giltner. I feel that Colonel Giltner cannot possibly be spared from this command at present, but if you will not come to join me I must make my arrangements to join you immediately. Please advise me fully, in haste, that I may act advisedly.
I wish, too, that you would use every effort to have railroad and telegraph communication with Richmond restored as soon as possible.
It is important that I should operate here, so as to relieve General Bragg's army as much as possible, and to do this I must hold the force at Knoxville till the enemy sends strong succoring forces to its relief. I do not think it possible to use your forces to any greater advantage than by coming to my aid, and if you can influence the movements of General Vance you should bring him also.
I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
It will take me several days to move my supplies in your direction, and I hope that you will move in this direction, at least so as to aid me in my movement. I will bring your cavalry with me.