south side. The question of forage is becoming a very serious one with us. We now send 10 and 12 miles for it and have difficulty in obtaining sufficient even then. Besides, it is ruining our horses, for when they return to camp they have traveled some 20 or more miles over bad roads and their backs and the saddles are ruined by the packing of the load. To improve our condition and deprive the enemy of his accumulated supply, I am anxious to driven him away from the vicinity of the French Broad. The only question with me is as to the importance of holding Mossy Creek.
If I leave it with all the cavalry, the infantry now there will not be strong enough and will have to be sent to this place. If I leave sufficient cavalry to aid in holding it, I will not have force enough to drive the enemy from the French Board. I know of no special reason for holding Mossy Creek, beyond the fact that I have two saw-mills running getting out lumber for the bridge at Strawberry Plains. The infantry force can, of course, occupy it when it arrives, but in the mean time the lumber night be lost.
I write this for the purpose of advising with you as to what is our best course in the premises. If you can inform me as to when we may expect a division to reach this vicinity I will be greatly obliged to you.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. D. STURGIS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Chattanooga, January 9, 1864.
Brigadier General A. C. GILLEM,
Your report on the Northwestern Railroad received. Colonel McCallum will have 700 of his construction corps in Nashville in a week ready to go to work on the Northwestern Road. I wish you to see that Innes uses them to the best advantage. That road should be in running order in one month. We have an abundance of work to do out here, and to enable us to accomplish it we must have every railroad convenience that it is possible to get.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH AND TWELFTH CORPS,
Lookout Valley, Tenn., January 9, 1864.
Commanding Second Kentucky Cavalry:
I am directed by the major-general commanding to request that you will dispatch about 40 men up the valley for purposes of reconnaissance. He directs that the officer in charge be instructed, on reaching Trenton, to detach a portion of his command to cross the mountain in the direction of La Fayette, and another to go down it toward Valley Head, and for each to make inquiries of the Union residents concerning the movements of any portion of the rebel forces. It is reported that a force left its camp at Dirt Town to make a descent