it, inasmuch as his army at Chattanooga was in a measure free to operate against me. Finally a communication from General Grant to General Burnside was captured, stating that columns were advancing via the south side, Decherd and Cumberland Gap, to relieve him.* My ammunition and other supplies were very short, so I determined to change to the east of Knoxville, and draw off in this direction into a position from which I might strike the column from Cumberland Gap before the others were near enough to aid it. The column has not made its appearance yet, except some very small parties of cavalry. I find myself with so little transportation, however, that I can barely subsist by using all of my teams to haul flour, corn,&c., and am thus far unable to accumulate supplies. There seems to be large quantities of supplies in the country, however. The season is so far advanced that I doubt whether any important operations can now be undertaken. The advantages of the position will readily suggest themselves to you. It is for the Government to decide whether our services are essential elsewhere. I have ordered General Bragg's cavalry back to him.
HEADQUARTERS, December 13, 1863.
Brig. Gen. B. R. JOHNSON,
GENERAL: Make your march to Bean's Station as rapidly as you can, without too much fatigue to your men. A brigade of General McLaws' division is at Mooresburg and will follow after your division. You will find with that brigade 100 mounted men for your use as vedettes.
It will be well to drive the enemy's sharpshooters before you without the use of artillery, as any display of that arm may give the enemy warning of our approach. If the enemy has artillery with his cavalry, try and made rapid arrangements to take his artillery.
Some degree of caution will be necessary as you approach Bean's Station, as we have just heard that the enemy is moving up from Knoxville toward Bean's Station, and he may reach that point before us.
I hope to join you before you pass Mooresburg.
I remain, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
General SAMUEL JONES,
You will find me near Rogersville. I would like exceedingly to see you. Please put everything that you can upon the railroad bridges in rear of us.