Sevierville, Tenn., January 23, 1864 - 12 m.
Colonel E. M. McCOOK,
COLONEL: The present position of your force (if I understand it aright) is, I think, the best possible at present. You are enabled to guard well the most feasible fords, especially Jim Evans' Ford, and at the same time occupy such a position as will enable the remainder of the forces to concentrate on you if necessary. The idea of seizing the Dutch and Irish Bottoms would be a good one if we had infantry on the way here, but I am informed by General Potter (now here) that the infantry will not march from Knoxville. Under these circumstances our forces would be too much scattered, and should be enemy force any of the fords in the vicinity of Dandridge we should be fatally divided. One brigade of Colonel Garrard now guards the fords below the Little Pigeon; the other is here, to be sent wherever most required. If we should move up and scatter along the river, besides risking being divided, we should not be strong enough at any one point to successfully resist, and we would be unable to hold those bottoms should the enemy determine to drive us out.
When we once discover the object and intention of the enemy we can either meet it in force successfully or we could not resist it divided.
Any suggestions you may have to make I will be glad to receive, and I trust you will so use Colonel Wolford's division as will enable you mutually to sustain each other.
I am, colonel, respectfully, &c.,
S. D. STURGIS,
P. S. - The general directs me to say that he will move his headquarters to Fair Garden to-night or to-morrow morning.
WM. C. RAWOLLE,
Captain, Aide-de-Camp, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Knoxville, January 23, 1864.
Brigadier General T. T. GARRARD,
Commanding District of the Clinch, Tazewell, Tenn.:
GENERAL: By direction of the major-general commanding, I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the communication of the 19th instant of Colonel C. D. Pennebaker, then in command of the district, and to say to you that Jones' brigade numbered but 1,500 men when it passed War Gap, which number has since been diminished by the small parties detached.
You will do as you see fit in regard to attacking this force, but you should constantly harass it, the object being to hold as much of the country in your front as possible and obtain the forage therein.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY CURTIS, JR., Assistant Adjutant-General.