On announcing the result of the battle to Rear Admiral S. P. Lee, commanding the Mississippi squadron, I requested him to send as much of his force as he could spare around to Florence, on the Tennessee river, and endeavor to prevent Hood's army from crossing at that point, which request was most cordially and promptly complied with. He arrived at Chickasaw, Mississippi, on the twenty-fourth, destroyed there a rebel battery, and captured two guns with caissons at Florence Landing. He also announced the arrival at the latter place of several transports with provisions. Immediately upon learning of the presence at Chickasaw, Mississippi, of the gunboats and transports with provisions, I directed General Smith to march overland from Pulaski to Clifton, via Lawrenceburg and Waynesboro, and take post at Eastport, Mississippi. General Smith started for his destination on the twenty-ninth of December. On the thirtieth of December I announced to the army the successful completion of the campaign, and gave directions for the disposition of the command, as follows: Smith's corps to take post at Eastport, Mississippi; Wood's corps to be concentrated at Huntsville and Athens, Alabama; Schofield's corps to proceed to Dalton, Georgia; and Wilson's cavalry, after sending one division to Eastport, Mississippi, to concentrate the balance at or near Huntsville. On reaching the several positions assigned to them, the different commands were to go into winter quarters and recuperate for the spring campaign. The above not meeting the views of the General-in-chief, and being notified by Major-General Halleck, Chief of Staff, United States Army, that it was not intended for the Army of Tennessee to go into winter quarters, orders were issued on the thirty-first of December for Generals Schofield, Smith, and Wilson, to concentrate their commands at Eastport, Mississippi, and that of General Wood at Huntsville, Alabama, preparatory to a renewal of the campaign against the enemy in Mississippi and Alabama. During the active operations of the main army in Middle Tennessee, General Stoneman's forces in the north-eastern portion of the State were also very actively engaged in operating against Breckinridge, Duke, and Vaughn. Having quietly concentrated the commands of Generals Burbridge and Gillem at Bean's station, on the twelfth of December General Stoneman started for Bristol, his advance, under General Gillem, striking the enemy under Duke at Kingsport, on the north fork of the Holston river, killing, capturing, or dispersing the whole command. General Stoneman then sent General Burbridge to Bristol, where he came upon the enemy under Vaughn, and skirmished with him until the remainder of the troops-Gillem's column-came up, when Burbridge was pushed on to Abingdon, with instructions to send a force to cut the railroad at some point between Saltville and Wytheville, in order to prevent reinforcements coming from Lynchburg to the salt-works. Gillem also reached Abingdon on the fifteenth, the enemy under Vaughn following on a road running parallel to the one used by our forces. Having decided merely to make a demonstration against the salt-works, and to push on with the main force after Vaughn, General Gillem struck the enemy at Marion early on the sixteenth, and after completely routing him, pursued him to Wytheville, Virginia, capturing all his artillery and trains, and one hundred and ninety-eight prisoners. Wytheville, with its stores and supplies, was destroyed, as also the extensive lead-works near the town and the railroad bridges over Ready creek. General Stoneman then turned his attention toward Saltville, with its important salt-works. The garrison of that place, reinforced by Giltner's, Cosby's, and Witcher's commands, and the remnants of Duke's, all under command of Breckinridge in person, followed our troops as they moved on Wytheville, and on returning, General Stoneman met them at Marion, where he made preparations to give Breckinridge battle, and disposed his command so as to effectually assault the enemy in the morning, but Breckinridge retreated during the night, and was pursued a short distance into North Carolina, our troops capturing some of his wagons and caissons. General Stoneman then moved on Saltville with his entire command, capturing at that place eight pieces of artillery and a large amount of ammunition of all kinds, two locomotives, and quite a number of horses and mules. The extensive salt-works were destroyed by breaking the kettles, filling the wells with rubbish, and burning the buildings. His work accomplished, General Stoneman returned to Knoxville, accompanied by General Gillem's command, General Burbridge's proceeding to Kentucky by way of Cumberland gap. The country marched over was laid waste, to prevent its being used again by the enemy; all mills, factories, bridges, &c., being destroyed. The command had everything to contend with, as far as the weather and roads were concerned, yet the troops bore up cheerfully throughout, and made each twenty-four hours an average march of forty-two and a half miles. The pursuit of Hood's retreating army was discontinued by my main forces on the twenty-ninth of December; on reaching the Tennessee river, however, a force of cavalry numbering six hundred men, made up from detachments of the Fifteenth Pennsylvania, Second Michigan, Tenth, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Indiana regiments, under command of Colonel W. J. Palmer, fifteenth Pennsylvania, operating with Steedman's column, started from Decatur, Alabama, in the direction of Hood's line of retreat in Mississippi. The enemy's cavalry, under Roddy, was met at Leighton, with whom Colonel Palmer skirmished and pressed back in small squads toward the mountains. Here it was ascertained that Hood's trains passed through Leighton on the twenty-eighth December, and moved off toward
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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