DALTON, GA., December 28, 1863.
Can you inform where there are State troops liable to service in Savannah? General Jackson reports that those at Atlanta, Columbus, and Macon are not. If there are no others than those at Rome, it will be necessary to send them immediately. It is better to send others who are nearer if they can be found. General Cobb is said to be absent. Send a brigade accordingly, and report.
J. E. JOHNSTON,
HEADQUARTERS, Russellville, Tennessee, December 28, 1863.
Brig. General W. E. JONES,
Comdg. Cav. Brig.,through Maj. Gen. Ransom, Comdg.,&c.:
The commanding general desires to make a sudden and well-concealed dash upon Cumberland Gap, with the view of obtaining possession of it. Unless you can work secretly and quielty, your effort will not succeed. You can use Rucker's cavalry along the north side of Clinch Mountain, in the direction of Evan's Ford or across the Clinch River, as you may desire.
The commanding general directs me to say that if you will advise him of the proper time, he will throw Giltner's brigade across the Holston to move down and divert attention and protect this flank of your column, and indeed our entire line may be advanced at the same time to recover some of the foraging country that we have lost, and to prevent any re-enforcements moving in the direction of Cumberland Gap.
There is a force of 100 reported at Mulberry Gap, a regiment at Tazewell, and from 300 to 500 are reported at Cumberland Gap. It will be necessary, however, for you to secure definite information before making your movement, and endeavor to get between Tazewell and Cumberland Gap, and then to secure the latter as soon as practicable.
Major-General Ransom's infantry and artillery have been ordered to this side of the river, and the commanding general wishes you to give orders to Colonel Rucker, and use him in front, or where you find it necessary.
I am, general, very sincerely, your most obedient servant,
G. M. SORREL,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Assistant Adjutant-General.
MERIDIAN, MISS., December 28, 1863.
Hon. J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
The military police of this department I find very defective. The amount of contraband trade around the whole border is large and increasing. To arrest this I propose a thorough reorganization of the provost-marshall's department.