One division will encamp at this place and one three miles from here. Unless different orders reach me I shall march to-morrow on Knoxville. A boy who carried a disaptch from Colonel Byrd to General Burnside reprots Longstreet gone and Burnside in pursuit of thim. He saw troops move out of Knoxville*.
O. O. HOWARD,
[31.] Major-General, Commanding.
Knoxville, December 6, 1863.
Major General O. O HOWARD,
U. S. Volunteers:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I thank you for your kind leter, but the raising of the siege is due to the prompt movement of our friends to our support. General Sherman will be here to-morrow in person, when our future movements will be settled. Hope to see you very soon.
Sincerely, your friend,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Four Miles from Maynardville, December 6, 1863-2 p. m.
Colonel Graham's brigade is here; Colonel Garrard's is coming up. There is a force of the enemy (said to be a brigade) reported five miles from this point on Flant Creek, this side of Clinch Mountain, in the direction of Rutledge. Scouts have been sent out to ascertain their location, strength, &c., and as soon as Colonel Garrard's brigade comes up, if still within striking distance, I will attack them. I have no reliable information, but all the facts and reports I can gahter tend toward the conclusion that the enemy are running back from Knoxville toward Virginia, the infantry and trains going up on the other side of the Holston, the cavalry protecting this flank being on this side of the river. I hope to have more reliable information to-night. I will communicte all I can gather promptly. I have sent out to try to open communicate with Knoxville and Clinton. Will you be kind enough to see that Lieutenant Cross hurries up to us the 6,500 rations of hard bread ordered last night? The men need it.
JOHN W. FOSTER,
[31.] Colonel, Commanding Second Cavalry Division.
MCFETRIDGE'S, December 6, 1863-5 p. m.
I have just returned from Flat Creek, where I left Colonel Graham's brigade. They found a force of the enemy in the falley this side of Powder Spring Gap. He has been skirmishing pretty heavily with
* For reply, see Sherman to Howard, VOL. XXXI, Part III, p. 341.