command was without shoes, I could do nothing but fight, so I moved forward, and, after a sharp skirmish, got into position on the enemy's flank and partially threatening his rear. He took alarm and retreated during the night, in some haste. The next day was stormy and almost impassable behind the enemy, and I could only pursue with our cavalry. The infantry was ordered back to shelter. I regret the pursuit was not vigorous, else we should have captured a great portion of the enemy's force and nearly all his property. We got a few prisoners and about 200 wagons and some artillery carriages were abandoned, most of them partially destroyed. The enemy, by a rapid movement, threw his cavalry around through Knoxville into Sevier County, for the purpose of occupying the only foraging county in reach. Our cavalry was ordered to cross the river in his rear and cut off his force, which, in his demoralized condition, was thought proper. But the move was not promptly executed, and the cavalry delayed passing the river till the enemy had occupied the fords some distance above the mouth. When the cavalry did cross it was encountered in detail by the enemy concentrated. Half of it was driven back on the 27th, in some confusion. On the 28th the other part met the enemy, and retired slowly, until I passed an infantry force in the enemy's rear, when he made a hasty retreat. Our cavalry failed again in the pursuit, and has not been able to see the enemy since. We are now in entire possession of the country which was supposed to have abundant supplies, but it is far short of what we had expected. The enemy is where he must starve or open the railroad between Chattanooga and Knoxville. He may threaten Johnston's flank so as to get the use of the railroad, and then move against me with greater force. He now has the Fourth, Ninth, Eleventh, and Twenty-third Corps, besides a large cavalry force from Middle Tennessee under General Sturgis. He is not inclined to fight, but hopes to secure himself by moves.
If General Johnston can hold his position the enemy will be obliged to retire from East Tennessee and await re-enforcements before he can make a decided advance. I shall be as well prepared in a few days for offensive operations as I can expect to be, and propose to go into Kentucky. In order that I may be able to do this it will be necessary that every available cavalry soldier in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and West Tennessee should be passed over the Tennessee River and concentrated on the railroad in rear of Chattanooga, under S. D. Lee, with orders to destroy the railroad and break up the enemy's cavalry as far as possible, and then pass on up the Cumberland and join us in Kentucky. Sending back Johnston's cavalry to him, however, General Lee should not know that he may meet me,, but have orders to join any other forces that he may find in Kentucky. Johnston's army cannot advance into Kentucky at this season, so I propose that you should re-enforce me and join me, drawing Johnston's army to Virginia in your place. Simultaneously with my move your cavalry should make a raid upon and destroy the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and as the enemy detaches from his forces in the East to send against me you could re-enforce me in Kentucky and join me there. Pickett's division should be in readiness to join me, and his transportation and artillery should start at once, so that they may be at Abingdon when it may be proper for him to move on to join me in Kentucky. He might start from Petersburg with his troops about the time I start into Kentucky.