HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-THIRD ARMY CORPS,
Strawberry Plains, Tenn., January 1, 1864.
Brigadier General M. D. MANSON,
Commanding Second Div., Twenty-third Army Corps:
GENERAL: Your communications relative to the suffering of the troops of your command are received, and have been forwarded to headquarters Forces in the Field with earnest indorsement.
The suffering consequent upon the present severity of the weather touches me to the heart, and I am full of the deepest regret that no clothing can be at present obtained and that the subsistence stores are so scanty.
As to the latter, we have reason to expect partial relief at least within forty-eighth hours. Some pork is to-day received by Lieutenant Rankin, acting commissary of subsistence, and the share of your command is either already issued or will be at once. Every available wagon on this side of the river is out after corn or other grain to grind, and I suppose the same is the case with yours.
I am hopeful that your communication with my indorsement will come before General Grant, who is understood to be at Knoxville, and will have the effect of showing the necessity of using the Chattanooga line fully, or giving to this army a share of the supplies forwarded there, instead of relying upon the Kentucky road.
I should have been over to visit your headquarters before this but for the great delay at the ferry, and the apparent necessity of using it for wagon transportation to its full capacity.
Accept my assurances of the most heartfelt sympathy with all your troubles, and with the sufferings of the brave men who are enduring such hardships with noble patience and patriotism. Believe me that every exertion is being made to supply their wants speedily and that I am hopeful that an early day in the new year will see such improvement that we shall be justified in calling it a happy one.
With the compliments of the season, I am, general, very sincerely, your obedient servant,
J. D. COX,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION,
January 1, 1864.
Colonel E. M. McCOOK,
Commanding First Division Cavalry:
I have the honor of transmitting the following information given by Thomas Smith, of division scouts, obtained by a scout up the north side of Holston River and between Morristown and Russellville:
At Turley's Ford, 15 miles from Mossy Creek, on north side, are 5 men at a mill grinding and serving as pickets. Between the ford and Jonathan Noe's mills are posted two regiments of cavalry and three pieces of artillery planted at easy range of the ford. At Major Noe's ferry is one regiment of South Carolina infantry and two battalions of cavalry. General Longstreet's headquarters are at Russellville, 5 miles above Morristown, and his whole force between Russellville and Morristown, the left resting on Holston