HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION CAVALRY,
Near Evans' House, January 21, 1864.
I make my headquarters here near Jim Evans' Ford, 3 1/2 or 4 miles from Dandridge.
Union citizens from the other side report that the whole rebel army has moved down to Strawberry Plains through Mossy Creek, cavalry and all. We have seen none of the enemy yet, and I don't think they have a force on this side. Wolford's men ought to guard those fords below mentioned in Colonel Palmer's dispatch. It depletes my command very much to leave guards at every ford. I will keep pushing on until otherwise ordered. I will not be able to get the artillery this far to-night.
E. M. McCOOK,
Colonel, Commanding Division.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE CLINCH,
Tazewell, January 21, 1864 - 12 night.
Brigadier General E. E. POTTER,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: The evening I had various reports of the approach of the enemy. To-night the excitement, in spite of all I could do, has become intense. There is really no danger here, and if I had good and experienced troops there would be no excitement. It is reported that a rebel force has crossed at Evans' Ford, estimated at from three regiments to 9,000 men by the numerous messengers who have come in. I have a strong picket posted, with instructions to be on the alert, and will hold this place if it is possible to do so with the force I have. I am well satisfied that the enemy will very soon turn his allention in this direction, for the reason that he will hold this place if it is possible to do so with the force I have. I am well satisfied that the enemy will very soon turn his attention in this direction, for the reason that he will have no use for his cavalry on the south side of the Holston after our forces fall back to Strawberry Plains, the distance between the French Broad and the Holston being so short that he can hold it with his infantry. The question of holding this courier line open and the protection of trains will depend upon the force located for that purpose. The mounted force here now is not, in my opinion, sufficient. The men are here if they were mounted. I cannot get horses.
Colonel S. P. Love, commanding Third Brigade, Cavalry Corps, reports from Ball's Bridge to-day that all is quiet on his immediate front, but that the enemy is reported at Jonesville from 1,700 to 2,000 strong; that he has sent out reconnoitering parties in all directions for forage and to observe the enemy. I do not think here is any danger now from the Virginia road, but the enemy will, if he approaches here, come by the way of Mulberry Gap and on the Moristown road. He will avoid the gap, since our forces on the right have fallen back.
There is a large amount of Government stores here which I have not been able to send off for the want of transportation, some thirty-five wagon-loads. The teams are employed in getting subsistence for the troops. Inclosed you will find a report of the district inspector, showing what is on hand and the transportation to move it. I will send off all I can as rapidly as possible. A telegram from Cumberland