KNOXVILLE, TENN., January 12, 1864.
Major General U. S. GRANT:
Two deserters from Barksdale's old brigade have come in and given us full details of the enemy's position, strength, and condition.
Longstreet's main body is between Morristown and Russellville, with cavalry in front at Kimbrough's Cross-Roads. His strength is, as I gave you when here, 26,000 men, and 40,000 rations are issued daily. No re-enforcements from Virginia.
The bridge at Union nearly completed; that at Carter's Station, over the Watauga River, is commenced. The condition is every way bad. They lack clothing, especially shoes, rations, and forage. The country in their vicinity for nearly 20 miles is nearly exhausted. They have now to cross to the south side of the French Broad for forage. The talk among the officers and men is that they will soon have to retreat to Bristol. Some regimental commanders have not drawn tents, expecting to move back in a week.
Our own condition is worse by far than when you were here; animals dying; some clothing arrived; no forage by the last three boats. We are now entirely destitute of bread.
Bridges at Strawberry Plains crossed by train to-day. Will be able to across wagons on Thursday. Shall move nearly all the force over to Dandridge to enable us to live. The movement is now in progress. Hope to get the pontoon bridges at this place done to-day. Shall go to Loudon to-morrow to hurry up the supplies of bread.
J. G. FOSTER,
KNOXVILLE, January 12, 1864.
The high water of the rivers and the rapid destruction of our teams by death of animals from starvation has rapidly diminished our supplies from the country, and we are now destitute of bread, coffee, and sugar. Please order forward some of these and see that the boats run as rapidly as possible.
J. G. FOSTER,
HEADQUARTERS ANDERSON CAVALRY,
Jim Evans' Ford, January 12, 1864-10 a.m.
A. A. A. G., General Elliott's Cav. Corps Hdqrs.:
LIEUTENANT: I have had a careful estimate made by Mr. N. B. Swann and Captain Sharp, responsible citizens of this district, of the amount of corn remaining on the south side of French Broad, from Tom Evans' Ford (7 miles below Dandridge) to Brimer's, at mouth of Big Pigeon (4 miles above mouth of Chucky). The estimate only includes the large plantations of corn. It is as follows:
At D. M. Fain's quarters.................................... 1,000
Fain's Island.............................................. 4,000
Jim Evans' and Fox's....................................... 4,000