army, there can be no doubt the matter. Endeavor to ascertain this beyond a reasonable doubt, and as soon as you can do so, move your force around by the most practicable route to the enemy's rear and get at his communication. There is every reason to believe that the enemy is making his escape, and you should make great efforts to break him up. Our infantry is so distressed for want of shoes that we can't venture to pursue with it; you are, therefore, all that we can look to, in this apparently great opportunity to do a great deal for our cause.
We shall cross the river to-morrow and next day, and occupy about Morristown and Russellville. We can make a little diversion in the direction of Knoxville via Sevierville, and may make the impression upon the enemy that our move is to take Knoxville; or into Middle Tennessee or Kentucky. It is distressing in the extreme that we should lose so great an opportunity to lift up our poor country, merely for the lack of shoes and clothing for our men. It is also a source of deep regret that our cavalry should be in such disabled condition at this moment.
The commanding general looks to you, with hope that you may, by extra exertions and energy, in a measure, make up what we so much need in the way of proper supplies.
Colonel Giltner's brigade is at Powder Spring Gap, and under your instructions for any service.
It is necessary to use General Jones' cavalry in the direction of Cumberland Gap, and we shall require all of his available force in the direction of Strawberry Plains in making the crossing of the river.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. SORREL,
DALTON, December 17, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
There are at Resaca 1,000 of Longstreet's men unarmed, belonging to different regiments of his corps.
W. J. HARDEE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF TENNESSEE, Dalton, Ga., December 17, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:
GENERAL: The importance of the subject will be my apology for intruding at this early moment a few suggestions for your consideration. The great of the enemy's re-enforcements has dispelled all hope of offensive operations on our part, and should he move in masses it would be impossible to deliver him at this point decisive battle. To remain here inactive, looking to mere passive defense, will give him time to concentrate his forces, enable him to