CHATTANOOGA, February 16, 1864.
Major-General GRANT, Nashville:
I have just received a telegram from General Schofield, dated February 14, stating that he had reliable information that Longstreet had advanced to Strawberry Plains, and had brought up pontoon-boats. Schofield thought that he might intend to make a cavalry raid to cut his communication with Loudon, or that he might advance to attack Knoxville, and asks me to send him re-enforcements as early as practicable. What shall I do? If re-enforcements are sent to Knoxville they will be detained there for the winter, and cannot make an advance on Longstreet until the Loudon and Strawberry Plains bridges are rebuilt. It will also become necessary to give up any demonstration against Dalton. But if Schofield can hold Knoxville the demonstration on Dalton can be made, and I hope with success. Captain Gay, just from Knoxville, and gone to Nashville, does not mention such reports.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Chattanooga, February 16, 1864-11 p.m.
Major-General SCHOFIELD, Knoxville:
Your dispatch of 2 p.m., 14th instant, just received. Have you any further information? If so, let me know. If it is not necessary to send troops to your assistance, I am directed by Major-General Grant to make a demonstration on Dalton. Answer immediately.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
KNOXVILLE, February 16, 1864.
Major-General THOMAS, Chattanooga:
Your dispatch of the 13th was not received until to-day. Major-General Grant directs me to furlough as many of the veterans as I can spare. I can hardly spare any unless you can send me some troops. If you can give me Stanley's division at Loudon and hold the road from that place to Chattanooga, I will be able to furlough more of my veterans.
Longstreet has occupied Strawberry Plains in force. I think of trying to dislodge him and hold that place, so as to repair the bridge and be ready to use the road. Otherwise I fear Longstreet will destroy it entirely. It will take my whole force to do it. Can you spare the men I suggest?
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS, Loudon, Tenn., February 16, 1864.
Colonel EDWARD M. McCOOK,
Commanding Division Cavalry, Motley's Ford:
COLONEL: Information has been received that Longstreet is attempting to pass into Georgia, along the base of Smoky Mountains, turning our right flank.