thought in this matter of violating any order or even wish of the Secretary of War. I could see no reason why I was not as capable of selecting a proper person to instruct with this secret as Colonel Stager; in fact, thought nothing further of the matter, than that Colonel Stager had his operations under such discipline that they were afraid to obey orders from any one but himself without knowing first his pleasure.
Beckwith has been dismissed for obeying my order. His position is important to him and a better man cannot be selected for it. i respectfully ask that Beckwith be restored.
When Colonel Stager's directions wee received here the cipher had already been communicated. His order was signed by himself and not by the Secretary of War. It is not necessary for me to state that I am no stickler for form, but will obey any order or wish of my superior, no matter how conveyed, if I know, or only think it came from them. In this instance I supposed Colonel Stager was acting for himself and without the knowledge of any one else.
I am, very respectfully, &c.,
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST EAST TENNESSEE BRIGADE,
Love's Hill, Tenn., February 4, 1864.
Captain EDWIN D. SAUNDERS,
Asst. Adjt. General, Twenty-third Army Corps:
SIR: I have the honor to report the following information from one of the scouts which I sent up the river on yesterday:
The scout proceeded to within a short distance of Strawberry Plains and ascertained that only a picket of the enemy was stationed at the Plains, and no force this side of the Plains. The picket of the rebels is cavalry, there being no infantry nearer than Mossy Creek. The reported crossing at the Plains on night of the 2nd was but about 15 of the enemy's cavalry of the picket stationed at Strawberry Plains.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES G. SPEARS,
HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-THIRD ARMY CORPS,
Knoxville, Tenn., February 4, 1864.
SIR: The following information has just been received from sources deemed reliable:
Ethan Sawyer (citizen), resident of New Market, Tenn., passed last night within 4 miles of Strawberry Plains and passed this morning, on his way to Knoxville, within 2 miles of McMillan's Station, and heard of no rebel soldiers in that neighborhood, and that he heard of no rebel force north of Holston River, except scouting parties of from 5 to 10 cross over to north side during the day, but return to south side of Holston toward night. He reports rebel pickets at all fords and ferries above Herrald's Ford; also 400 at Nance's Ferry (character not stated); also reports rebel infantry force at New