LOUDON, TENN., August 24, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to make you acquainted with the following account of the proceedings of the raiding party from the south, in this vicinity for your information:
On Saturday last a detachment from this place had a skirmish with the enemy near Sweet Water early in the morning, and finding their strength too great fell back. In the afternoon, near Philadelphia, had another skirmish, and 3 men captured, 1 of whom made his escape, but no one killed or wounded. The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded in these two skirmishes was 6 or more. We captured 1 from the Sixth Georgia Cavalry. That day the enemy moved to the south of this place and crossed the Little Tennessee at different fords the 20th and 21st. The 22nd some crossed the Holston at Louisville and cut the telegraph at Concord, and did a little damage to railroad, and then returned to the south side of the river the next day. Railroad and telegraph to Knoxville now repaired. I inclose copies of telegrams from General Tillson, which will inform you of the subsequent movements of the enemy. The railroad and telegraph between Philadelphia and Athens are badly injured. the construction train is here, and will proceed at once to repair the road and telegraph as rapidly as possible. There is no injury to either between Loudon and Philadelphia. The country has been thoroughly scattered, and we fell assured that they have all crossed to the other side of the Little Tennessee River. I felt confident of being able to defend the place and protect the bridge, but had not force to attack the enemy in the field. Loudon and Kingston were not molested. General Tillson is at Knoxville, and as the place is very strongly fortified there is no cause of fear. I return this p. m. to Knoxville, having made arrangements here for the safety of bridge, &c. Shall spare no effort for the security of the garrisons, &c., under my command, and shall use every endeavor to harass and defeat the enemy. Captain W. W. Cushing, military conductor, is just in from Charleston; reports no rebels, but road very much destroyed between Athens and Charleston.
I am, general, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier General, U. S. Vols., Commanding Fourth Division, 23rd Army Corps.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
KNOXVILLE, August 24, 1864.
Lieutenant REED, Aide-de-Camp:
I have just received definite information of the enemy from a scout I sent out to Maryville last night. The brigade of which I telegraphed you last night as being on the Boardman Ferry road was only a part of the enemy's force. They also passed up Tar Creek road, and the main body on the Sevierville road. They are crossing French Broad in several places. See next dispatch for balance.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
KNOXVILLE, August 24, 1864.
Lieutenant REED, Aide-de-Camp;
Their force is from 2,500 to 3,000 with five pieces of artillery. I have sent the information to Gillen and suggested to him the propriety of turning back, if possible, and striking the enemy before he can cross