River at Denton's Ford, 4 miles above Dandridge. I was on this side of the river immediately opposite their encampment with my command last evening, and was close enough to see their camps, hear their men talk, hear their bugle sound tattoo; in other words, I was within about 250 yards of their encampment. From the size of the encampment, as well as from information derived from loyal citizens and the statements of 8 prisoners whom we took at this point and at Turley's Ferry, I am positive that Morgan's division is encamped at the place stated.
The prisoners state that it came there from Panther Springs on the evening of January 5; also, that they intend crossing a force to this side of the river to-day.
I am pretty certain that there is no rebel infantry within a considerable distance of Denton's Ford or of Dandridge; also, that Armstrong's division of cavalry is yet is yet in front of General Sturgis' cavalry.
The river is fordable at Kelley's house, just below Denton's Ford; also at Denton's Ford; also at Swann's Island, 2 1/2 miles above Dandridge; also at Fain's Island, opposite Dandridge, at Jim Evans' Ford, 5 miles below Dandridge, and at Tom Evans' Ford, 7 miles below Dandridge.
I have all these roads picketed and have my men camped at Squire Brimer's, near mouth of Muddy Creek, and at a point opposite Dandridge, holding the Fain's Island ford.
Please communicate with me as soon as possible, letting me know when you will reach Dandridge. Some loyal citizens could bring the dispatch to me better than a soldier.
There are several companies of rebel cavalry in Cocke County, near Newport and Cosby Creek, on this side of the French Broad, who have been engaged in foraging.
If General Hascall, or the commanding officer of infantry column on road between Strawberry Plains and Dandridge, receives this first he will please send it on by a rapid courier to General Elliott, commanding Cavalry Corps at Mossy Creek.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
WM. J. PALMER,
HEADQUARTERS ANDERSON CAVALRY,
Squire Brimer's, near mouth of Muddy Creek, on Newport
Road, south side of French Broad, January 8, 1864-4 p.m.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General at Beaver Dam
(opposite Denton's Ford and Cowan's Ferry.
4 miles above Dandridge ad on this side of the river):
LIEUTENANT: There are about 15,000 bushels of corn, mostly gathered and in pens, above and below Beaver Dam; there are within a few miles some 5,000 bushels more. Morgan's division of rebel cavalry is encamped immediately opposite Beaver Dam, on the river and from the statements of prisoners as to the intention and the fact that 4 of the prisoners had come across the river after corn, I think it altogether probable that the rebels will cross with wagons