destroyed, the train sent to bring them having run off the track. Two pieces thus left were drawn in by the men of the Ninth Corps.
Before the Fourth Corps had proceeded 5 miles beyond the river toward Sevierville, reports came from the cavalry that the estimates of the amount of forage and grain to the south of the French Broad were much exaggerated, and that there was in reality barely enough for the cavalry alone, the enemy having already foraged to a considerable extent there.
This fact, coupled with this pressing nature of the enemy's movements, induced me to change my plans in order to provide against an advance, of the enemy in force. It was reported (thus apparently confirming the reports conveyed to me in your dispatch of the 17th instant) that he was largely re-enforced. This rendered it necessary to guard securely my communications to the rear, and at the same time to obtain, as far as possible, subsistence from the country for men and animals.
I therefore placed the Twenty-third Corps in positions around this town. The Ninth Corps 5 miles south of the railroad, but still within supporting distance, if needed. The Fourth Corps guarding the rest of the railroad, Loudon and Kingston, with a division at Maryville, to collect the forage and grain of the neighboring country.
The cavalry were ordered to hold as far up the French Broad as possible, and to subsist themselves there.
All the animals and teams that could be spared were ordered to Camp Burnside. While these arrangements were in progress, the enemy's cavalry, on the 23rd instant, made a dash upon and captured a drove of 800 cattle, which was being carelessly driven to this town from Cumberland Gap via Blain's Cross-Roads.
The guard, Company H, Tenth Michigan Cavalry, retired without firing a shot. I pushed out some infantry as soon as I heard of the affair, and recaptured about 200 of the cattle; the remainder had been hurried across the Holston by the rebels.
On the 24th instant the rebel cavalry made a dash at Tazewell, but was repulsed by Colonel Kise. General Garrard has since withdrawn the garrison of that place to Cumberland Gap, in order to whose terms of service have very nearly expired, shall leave for their homes.
On the 27th General Sturgis attacked the enemy's cavalry near Fair Garden, about 10 miles east of Sevierville, and after a sharp fight, lasting all day, defeated them with severe loss in killed and wounded, capturing over 100 prisoners and 2 steel rifled guns. Colonel McCook, with his division, was chiefly engaged, and finally, cleared the field with a saber charge. Wolford's and Garrard's divisions came up after a forced march in time to join in the pursuit.
General Sturgis has orders to endeavor to cut the enemy's communications and make a raid in his rear, but I very much fear that the jaded condition of his horses will prevent the successful accomplishment of this object. General Garrard also has orders of the same purport.
The condition of the command is such as to demand rest for a time, if its services are expected to be of avail in the spring. The men are much weakened by their diet, which has consisted almost entirely of meat for the past two months, and are in such condition