February 5, 1864-9 p. m.
Commanding Brigade of Infantry, Memphis, Tenn.:
Move without supply train. We cannot wait. Take tools for building a temporary bridge over the Coldwater, using the boats already prepared. If you have reason to believe that the enemy have fallen away from the region between the Coldwater and Tallahatchie, cross the Coldwater and move on Panola without further orders. Should he still hold that country in force and you become heavily engaged, we will move to your assistance; and should you hear heavy firing on your left, move promptly to the assistance of the force engaged.
WM. SOOY SMITH,
Brigadier General, Chief of Cavalry, Military Division of the Miss.
KNOXVILLE, February 5, 1864.
Willis White, a sergeant from the First Tennessee Infantry, commanded by Colonel Turney, stationed near Staunton, Va., deserted and came in this morning.
Reports that he left Staunton, Va., on the 10th of January on furlough to come to Tennessee; that he saw no troops on the road at any point until he came to Russellville and Morristown, which points he reached on the 25th ultimo. At these places the most of Longstreet's infantry were encamped. On the day of the fight above Sevierville the most of the infantry and artillery went to Dandrige, crossed the French Broad River, and marched toward Sevierville, but returned the next day, recrossed the river, and camped near Dandridge. General Longstreet came over to Dandridge on last Monday and returned to Morrostown.
On Tuesday morning, the 3rd instant, when he (the deserter) left Dandridge, the infantry were preparing to return to Morrostown. The most of the cavalry were said to be in the neighborhood of Sevierville.
On last Sunday he says he met in the evening above Dandridge General Ransom's division going toward the railroad station. One of the captains and several of the men told him that they were going to take the cars and were going to Mobile, Ala. The men were hallowing and seemed delighted. They said they would march all night. he states that provisions are quite scarce at Morristown; that he saw over 300 men entirely barefoot and badly clad; Bushrod Johnson's command is daily deserting; that there is great dissatisfaction amongst the soldiers. He says it was the desire of the officers and men to remain at their quarters until spring, but they were in constant dread of being flanked by the Federal army. He says the men will desert by hundreds just as soon as the leaves come out. No fortifications at Morristown or Russellville. Rebels have comfortable cabins. They were in constant dread of being cut off from Virginia. I examined him closely; he seems to be rather an intelligent man. Says he has been in army nearly two years; lives in Lincoln County, Tenn.; had two brothers in the Forty-fourth Tennessee, under Bushrod Johnson, who deserted shortly after they went to Morristown.
R. A. CRAWFORD,
Colonel and Chief of Secret Police.