HEADQUARTERS FIRST EAST TENNESSEE BRIGADE,
Love's Hill, Tenn., February 6, 1864.
Captain E. D. SAUNDERS,
Asst. Adjt. General, Twenty-third Army Corps:
SIR: I have the honor to report the following information, obtained through my scouts, which are constantly kept up from day to day:
There are no rebels this side of the river, excepting in small squads of from 4 to 6, who are prowling through he country robbing and pillaging. For two or three days past 6 rebels have visited daily the mill at Flat Creek bridge and taken grain found there.
There are also 2 rebel soldiers by the name of Epps, and 1 or 2 others by the name of Legg, who are scouting about their homes, and who are supposed to have been the men who shot one of Crawford's scouts near the gap of the mountain. The scout this morning is instructed to obtain all the facts relative to the same.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES G. SPEARS,
HDQRS. TWENTY-THIRD MICHIGAN INFANTRY VOLS.,
Camp Pratt, February 6, 1864.
Lieutenant S. H. HUBBELL,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Div., 23rd Army Corps:
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding the division, the following items gleaned by my cuts last night:
Longstreet's headquarters at Morristown. Longstreet at New Market on Wednesday. Hood's old division, consisting of three brigades (Jenkins', Anderson's, and one other), at present commanded by Jenkins, brigadier-general, four pieces of artillery (brass guns), and the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry (rebel), stationed at New market and the fords along the left bank of the Holston. Estimated force of infantry and artillery, 3,000. The bulk of Longstreet's forces at Morristown and Dandridge. Movements toward Dandridge. material for pontoon bridge at the French Broad, 5 miles above Dandridge.
No troops of the enemy this side of the river, except scouts and guards at Barlow's Mill, at mouth of Buffalo Creek, 6 in number.
At this mill are about 4,000 bushels of wheat. it is reported that the owner of this mill is rebel. Shall I send a party to destroy it and its contents? I think it can be done without risk. when our forces went up to Flat Creek ont he 1st instant, the rebel pickets were withdrawn from Strawberry Plains. The troops at New Market have no camp or garrison equipage with them.
Trains on the railroad do not run below Greneville. Fears are entertained by the rebels that the railroad will again be destroyed by our cavalry.
It is reported that on the 17th ultimo Longstreet was at Dandridge with 20,000 men and twenty pieces of artillery, hoping to force a general engagement. Strips of rawhide were issued to his men to bind up and protect their feet. The enemy's loss in skirmish of that day (Sunday) was 63 killed.