Evans' Ford, 4 or 5 miles below Dandridge, yesterday forenoon, and proceeded down the south side of the river in the direction of Knoxville. Lieutenant Colonel James P. Brownlow, First Tennessee Cavalry, and Colonel Palmer, whose commands were and east of Sevierville, returning from the pursuit of Colonel Thomas' Indians, were apprised of the facts as above stated, and were understood to design falling back toward Knoxville or Maryville. Mr. Eddington's own opinion is that Browlow and Palmer would engaged the enemy last evening somewhere between Sevierville and the French Broad.
Learned that skirmishing was going on at Hudson's Branch, 8 miles below Dandridge, on the north side of French Broad, yesterday evening about 3 or 4 o'clock, between some of our own and the enemy's cavalry forces, and that our engaged at that point were falling back toward Strawberry Plains, being greatly outnumbered by the rebels. Some deserters, who left the vicinity of Hudson's Branch late yesterday evening, report that Longstreet has been heavily reenforced from Lee's army, by troops under General A. P. Hill. Mr. Eddington conversed with James Randolph, esq., who is the deputy provost-marshal of Cocke Country, but now a refugee staying at Brabson's store, near Brabson's Ferry, 8 miles below Sevierville, on the French Broad, who gave it as his opinion, from all the information that he had obtained, that Longstreet has been heavily re-enforced and now propose to renew the siege of Knoxville.
S. P. CARTER,
Brigadier General and Provost-Marshal-General of East Tennessee.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE THIRD DIVISION,
Big Black, Miss., January 19, 1864.
Captain J. C. DOUGLASS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that Lieutenant Brooks, of the rebel service, crossed the Big Black, near Messinger's, in a rowboat last night; went to his mother's (Widow Brooks), about 1 1\2 miles outside of the cavalry pickets, about midnight, and ran off 18 negroes. The party was reported to me at 3 o'clock a. m. I at once sent Lieutenant Foster after them with part of the cavalry picket, but too late to intercept the party or their captives.
I am told there is a flat about 15 miles above Birdsong's. Citizens use it to bring corn over from east of the Big Black.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. F. FORCE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., January 20, 1864.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief of the Army:
GENERAL: From dispatches just received from General Foster, the siege of Knoxville is about to be renewed. It was a great oversight in the first place to have ever permitted Longstreet to come to a stop within the State of Tennessee after the siege was raised. My