[Mailed at Crab Orchard Ky. Dec. 15, 1863 ] Headquarters Eleventh Corps, Loudon Tenn.
We are waiting here for other columns to get in position and cross the Little Tennessee, when we will all move forward to the relief of Burnside and against Longstreet if we can find him. The latter has about 30,000 men & made an unsuccessful though but a partial attack on Burnside last Tuesday. We can get no news since. The garrison here escaped but we captured flour & meal enough to feed our command two or three days. This morning we put a Regt. across the river and they drove off the Cavalry videttes of the Enemy and just now I learn they have found four cannon abandoned by the Rebels. In our advance the 15th Corps comd’d by F. P. Blair has the right Wing. The 4th Granger, the center and the 11th, (ours) the left. Today we have been building our bridges across the Little Tenn.
Sometimes we fear Burnside will not hold out (as he has only 15,000 and is probably short of provisions). Then again sometimes we fear Longstreet will get off to Va. In the latter case we will congratulate ourselves on Burnside’s relief and a campaign grandly successful and important in its results. But there still seems good reason to believe that Longstreet tarries. Not a quarter of an hour ago we learned that our cavalry Regt. left to guard the bridge at Charleston (the Hirvasee) had come away and that the Rebel Gen. Wheeler was approaching. It is a pity an Infantry Regt. had not been left there – still we chased a Rebel Infantry Regt from there. Wheeler will probably destroy the bridge and pick up some stragglers – possibly some wagons – but we are without trains and have none on the way to join us that we know of. So Wheeler will find the rear unusually dry. Continue reading