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[270] and we cannot well doubt, the tone of the papers of the loyal States, the greatest uneasiness las been felt by the people for the safety of our army, and anxiety felt for the result of the expedition. Fear and anxiety were well founded upon the expressed opinion of some of our greatest Generals that a successful campaign into East-Tennessee was impossible. And at best, if it should by any oversight of the rebel authorities be successful in the beginning, and the Union army occupy this territory, to hold it would be impossible by reason of the inability of the Government to feed and clothe the necessary number of men to make sure the conquest, and its incapacity to furnish forage for the stock necessary for transportation, and for the cattle required to feed the men.

The army of General Burnside is here, and has been for three months. During that time it been well fed and clothed, and will compare favorably in general appearance with any body of men in the service. In point of health it will show a better record than any other army in the field, for the reason that the hardships of the campaign were on the march and culled the light timber from the ranks, and has left us as hardy a set of men as ever were under arms.

I am not a prophet, nor do I pretend to read the future — especially not to solve the mystery attached to military movements — but propose to give an account of the events of a few days past, which have settled the fate of East-Tennessee and the brave army that wrenched it from the rebels.

Our troops evacuated Loudon the latter part of October. The Second division, Twenty-third army corps, commanded by Brigadier-General Julius White, was stationed upon the opposite banks of the river from the town. The rebels occupied Loudon and the heights around, in what force we could not learn, nor was it of great importance, as the river was to be the future base of operations, and for this reason it was, as I have learned, that General Burnside ordered the evacuation of the town. A division of the Ninth army corps occupied Lenoirs, six miles above. With this support for General White, one brigade of the Second division, Twenty-third army corps, was ordered by General Burnside to Kingston, twenty miles below, leaving near one thousand five hundred men and two batteries, which was considered ample to watch and operate against the rebel force occupying Loudon. This programme was carried out to the very letter.

On the night of the thirteenth of November, at nine o'clock, General White received the first report of any considerable force of rebels near us. This was reported to him by Captain Sims, of the Twenty-fourth Indiana battery, and was immediately communicated to General Burnside, who was at Knoxville. General White ordered the field-officer of the day to visit his pickets, make observations, and learn from the pickets all he could giving reason to suppose the enemy near us. The officer reported about an hour after that the pickets had heard men on the other side of the river; the rolling of wagons or artillery, and the handling of lumber near Huff's Ferry. The lumber, it was supposed, would be used to throw a pontoon-bridge across the river at the ferry. Shortly after this, a cavalry picket reported he had heard drums beating and a band playing opposite Huff's Ferry. At the same time another picket reported the enemy building a pontoon-bridge at the ferry, and that a party had crossed in pontoon-boats. Upon receipt of this intelligence, General White sent his Adjutant-General, Captain Curtis, with a small body of cavalry to watch the enemy, and report to him by courier what occurred as fast as it transpired. This Captain Curtis did. As a prudential measure, General White ordered Colonel Chapin to send one regiment of infantry and a section of artillery to dispute the enemy's crossing. The Twenty-third Michigan and a section of Henshaw's battery started for the ferry about one o'clock A. M., November fourteenth. All the information received by General White was immediately telegraphed to General Burnside through the Lenoirs office, thus giving the commandant of that post, General Potter, all the information received at Loudon.

The artillery and infantry that started to the ferry were ordered back by General White upon receipt of a telegram from General Burnside to hold his command ready to march in the direction of Knoxville at a moment's notice. The order was received and the troops took up a line of march and arrived at Lenoirs about seven o'clock A. M., November fourteenth.

A description of the situation of Huff's Ferry would not be inappropriate here. It is on the Tennessee River, half a mile from Loudon, on the south bank of the river, but by a long bend in the river at that point, it is six miles by the road, on the north side. This road is the only one the troops could take to get to that point.

Shortly after the arrival of General White at Lenoirs, General Burnside arrived on a train from Knoxville to command in person the movement of the troops. A countermarch to Loudon was immediately ordered. A “reliable spy” had brought information that the rebels were constructing a pontoon at Loudon, and doing nothing at Huff's Ferry. This he knew--“had seen it with his own eyes.” “Reliable spies” are infallible. The “Holy City” never had within its sacred precincts an Otho or Pius, whose high conceptions of morality taught them the invaluable worth of truth more surely than the ordeal through which they had to pass taught the loyal East-Tennesseeans, and they whose “names lead all the rest” are the “reliable spies” and “scouts.” One thousand five hundred soldiers, who had carried water from the river opposite Loudon for three weeks, and up to the time “reliable spy” had seen the bridge, and a part of them from the very spot where the bridge touched the north side of the river, and who knew there was no bridge there, and our pickets and scouts who knew the bridge was being built where and at the time “reliable spy” knew it wasn't, were certainly mistake n

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