HEADQUARTERS ANDERSON CAVALRY,
Near Sevierville, January 15, 1864.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, that on learning that a cavalry force of the enemy on the evening of the 13th and captured a train of eighteen wagons, I started in pursuit at 3 o'clock the next morning from my camp on the French Broad, 4 miles from Dandridge, with detachments of the Anderson Cavalry and the Tenth Ohio Cavalry, amounting in all to less than 200 men.
After a march of 30 miles we found the enemy on Cosby Creek, 23 miles from Sevierville, and within about 5 miles of the Great Smoky Mountains.
They had rested to feed their animals, and were about to take the road thence to Newport. I immediately charged them in column of fours, routing their entire command, which fled in the utmost disorder, throwing away their guns, belts, blankets, saddle-bags, &c., and most of them quitting their horses.
We captured 52 prisoners, including Brigadier-General Vance, brother of Governor Vance, of North Carolina, and a captain and lieutenant of his staff (the assistant adjutant-general and acting inspector-general of the command); also about 150 saddled horses, and over 100 stand of arms, besides destroying a large number of arms on the road.
We also captured a fine ambulance filled with medical stores, of which we were sadly in need; also a quantity of bacon, salt, meal, &c., picked up by the rebels on their retreat from Sevierville.
We also recaptured all the wagons and mules, together with the wagon-master and 23 other prisoners, that were taken with the train. Four of these were loyal citizens who had been tied to prevent their escape.
The enemy had 2 men wounded. Our loss was nothing. I have sent Home Guards to scout the mountains for dismounted rebels, of whom doubtless a considerable number will be captured.
The entire force is dissipated, and the men not captured will probably return to their homes.
General Vance's assistant adjutant-general informs me that the force we attacked was about 300 men.
Colonel Thomas, with 150 Indians, composing the rest of the invading force, with two pieces of artillery and ten to twelve wagons, remained back at Gatlinburg (14 miles from Sevierville), where he will probably remain until he hears of the defeat of Vance.
If some fresh cavalry can be sent here immediately, these Indians and guns can be captured.
General Vance informs me that he left Asheville, N. C., with his command on the 8th instant, and that his men have been in the saddle ever since.
He came through Waynesville, Quallatown, and Gatlinburg. Nearly all of them had new horse equipments, and all were well clad. I have forwarded the prisoners to Knoxville, and returned the train to its wagon-master.
I am, lieutenant, yours, very respectfully,
WM. J. PALMER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.