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8 Series I Volume XXXII-I Serial 57 - Forrest's Expedition Part I

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Page 8 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA.

[CHAP. XLIV.

tween Chickamauga Depot and the Hiwassee River, to protect the repairs on the railroad. General Hooker, commanding Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, was ordered to relieve Stanley's division, then stationed on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad between Whiteside's and Bridgeport.

January 28, Major General John M. Palmer, commanding Fourteenth Army Corps, with a portion of his command, made a reconnaissance toward the enemy's position on Tunnel Hill. He found him still in force at that point, and the object of the movement having been fully accomplished, General Palmer returned to Chattanooga.

February 7, Colonel William B. Stokes, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, reports from Alexandria, Tenn., that, in pursuance to orders, he had recently scouted in the vicinity of Sparta after certain bands of guerrillas infesting that neighborhood, and had succeeded in killing 17 and capturing 12, besides 20 horses and mules. Another force, under Colonel McConnell, succeeded in killing 23 and capturing 40 of the same gang. Colonel Stokes ascertained that, when concentrated, the guerrillas in that section of the country will number 600 men, finely mounted. A scout also brought me information of an attack by Roddey, with a heavy force, upon our troops stationed at Lebanon, De Kalb County, Ala., on the 3rd instant. The rebels were repulsed and driven in confusion toward Gadsden, when, learning that Roddey was being re-enforced by Wheeler, our troops withdrew to Sand Mountain, taking possession of saltpeter cave, near Fort Payne.

About the 10th instant, various reports having been received that the enemy under Johnston had weakened his force by sending re-enforcements to Polk, then opposing the advance of our forces under General Sherman; also that he had sent troops to aid Longstreet, in East Tennessee, and it being the desire of the commanding general of the military division effectually to clear out the rebel army directly opposed to our forces at Knoxville, I received orders on the 10th instant to prepare to start for Knoxville on the 13th with such force as could safely be spared from the protection of Chattanooga and its communications, to co-operate with the Army of the Ohio in driving Longstreet from East Tennessee.

The army at this period had been very much weakened by the absence of many regiments, who had gone to their respective States to reorganize as veteran volunteers (a list of which I have the honor to annex hereto), so that in making my preparations I found but a small force available. My transportation was in a very poor condition, notwithstanding all the efforts made to replace the animals lost by starvation during the close investment of Chattanooga by the enemy, and for want of horses scarcely any of the artillery could be moved.

On the 13th the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad was in running order to Loudon. The same day Matthies' brigade, of the Fifteenth Corps (Army of the Tennessee), arrived at Chattanooga from Hunstville, in pursuance to orders from General Grant, and was immediately placed in position at Cleveland, in reserve. On the 14th I received a communication from General Grant, countermanding the orders he had given me on the 10th to proceed with a force from my command to East Tennessee, and stating that from a conversation he had with General Foster, he (General Grant) was convinced that all that could be accomplished by the proposed campaign would not compensate for the hardships upon our men, and


Page 8 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA.

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