copy of your letter of the 15th instant, relating to affairs in East Tennessee, our present position and future operations, to General Grant, was sent, by his direction, to General Thomas, with instructions to relax no energy and spare no exertions in his preparations for moving a force into East Tennessee, sufficient, with Foster's, to drive longstreet out of the State, as he had been previously ordered, no matter what news, short of retreat of the enemy, he might have from General Foster:
KNOXVILLE, TENN., January 23, 1864-7.30 p. m.
Major General U. S. GRANT:
The enemy has retired to Strawberry Plains, followed by our infantry, who have recaptured a portion of the drove of cattle. I apprehend no further movement of the enemy very soon. The troops are now preparing to go into quarters. They must have a month or two or rest, or they will not be in proper trim for the spring campaign. General Sturgis, with his whole command, is above Sevierville. Colonel McCook's brigade, of General Elliott's division, has captured a rebel wagon train loaded with supplies, with an officer and about 80 prisoners. General Sturgins has sent a force to destroy the rebel's pontoon-bridge near the mouth of the Nola Chucky.
J. G. FOSTER,
JNO. A. RAWLINS,
Brigadier-General, Chief of Staff.
KNOXVILLE, January 26, 1864.
Complaints are made constantly by Union citizens on south side of holston River of depredations by soldiers. Cannot something be done to check the outrages?
E. E. POTTER,
Chief of Staff.
LOUDON, January 26, 1864.
Chief of Staff, Knoxville:
I have issued the most stringent orders and done everything in my power to prevent marauding, but hungry men are difficult to control after fasting for five months on half and quarter rations. Nothing has pained me so much as being compelled to strip the country; friend nd foe must fare alike, or the army must starve. The country does not afford the food and forage we require. I think any and caught plundering or foraging on his own hook should be summarily shot.
[JANUARY 26, 1864.-For Foster to Grant, inclosing correspondence with Longstreet in reference to the amnesty proclamation of President Lincoln, see Series III.]