HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS, Loudon, Tenn., February 17, 1864.
Colonel EDWARD M. MCCOOK,
Commanding Division Cavalry, Army of the Cumberland:
COLONEL: The general commanding directs me to inform you that a dispatch, of which the following is a copy, has just been received at these headquarters:
KNOXVILLE, February 17, 1864.
There is no doubt but that a considerable cavalry force, probably three brigades, is moving from Sevierville by way of Maryville, or near that place. The head of the column was at Little River last night, and their intention is said to be to cut the railroad between Loudon and Charleston, and then move into Georgia. They are three brigades which belonged to Bragg's old army. I think the report of the infantry movements untrue. Take the necessary step to protect the railroad in your rear and to defeat the rebel designs if possible.
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
Keep a good lookout for this force, and attack it if possible; also send any information that you may obtain of its movements to these headquarters.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. S. FULLERTON,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
LOUDON, February 17, 1864.
I can hear nothing definite of the movements of the rebel cavalry. I ordered McCook last night to push a scouting party in the direction of Paint Rock and Warm Springs, and also to send spies into the enemy's camp and gain reliable information. I think the Little Tennessee is not fordable. The river has risen 3 feet at this place.
MOTLEY'S FORD, TENN., February 17, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel J. S. FULLERTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fourth Army Corps:
Garrard's division left this point at daylight yesterday morning, and is consequently out of my reach. He will have to cross the river at Knoxville in order to reach Clinton, and a telegram from Loudon would probably find him at or near Knoxville. General Granger had probably better telegraph if he thinks it expedient. There is not a days' forage between here and Loudon, nor for 20 miles above here on the Little Tennessee.
I have sent out two scouting parties, one on the Cosby Creek road, to the right of Sevierville, and one on the road up the Little Tennessee River toward Asheville. I have also sent good spies and scouts to endeavor to gain access to Longstreet's camps. Some information will be gained through these sources, though from the distance