The Campaign in East Tennessee.
[from our own correspondent.]
Headq'rs Army Upper East Tenn.
, Friday, Sept. 18, 1863.
Before stating anything in relation to news matters I beg leave to make one explanation of the previous reports forwarded by telegraph and otherwise from this locality.
In the first place I telegraphed you from Bristol
of the reported evacuation of Upper East Tennessee
This movement on the part of the enemy was apparently progressing some few days' ago, and our pickets and scouts had actually advanced a considerable distance.
But on Wednesday evening last, for reasons not proper to mention, our advanced forces fell back to a point which for prudential reasons need not be named.
So much for the reported evacuation.
The next in turn comes the battle said to have taken place at Cottonport
, on the Tennessee river
, in which the enemy's forces were defeated with heavy loss.
This report is neither confirmed nor contradicted, though very little credence if any is given to it here at that time, though it obtained credit in the best informed circles when it first reached our lines.
The situation and condition of affairs in front of our lines in the direction of Knoxville
is very unfavorable for obtaining information, as a large majority of the inhabitants are tories, while the few Southern men who remain are invalids, cripples, or very weak-kneed.
Consequently we have very few to come into our lines from that direction, and the result is that we have to remain in ignorance in regard to the doings of the enemy in our front, and but for the little information derived from our pickets and scouts we would be as profoundly in the dark as if we were in the nether regions.
The few Southern men who remain at home within the enemy's lines, and all through Carter
and other counties, have to be as circumspect as possible — keeping in doors for fear of the bush whackers.
I am reliably informed that it is extremely hazardous for a Confederate to go alone in Carter county
just ten or fifteen miles South of this post, although that portion of the country is within our lines, but inhabited by as notorious Lincolnites as can be found in Lincolndom.
The commanding officer
of the forces of this department seems alive to the responsibilities of his office, and much depends on his management and skill; for if by any mishap or blunder we should be defeated here the whole of Tennessee
and a part of Southwestern Virginia
will be indisputable in possession of the hated Yankees
Much, however, depends on the result of the operations of Bragg
's forces; for with a victory in that region down goes Lincolndom in all East Tennessee
, and our line of communication in this direction will be open to the South
. --From all that can be learned the actual Yankee force in our front must be small.
The railroad within their lines as far as Knoxville
is guarded by tories, a large number of whom act as scouts, pickets, &c., for them.
Outpost, beyond Carter's Bridge,
2 o'clock P. M.
We run down to this point this afternoon, and I gather but few additional particulars proper for publication.
It is satisfactorily ascertained that the enemy are gathering up commissary stores, horses, &c., and are running them all down towards Knoxville
In many instances they have the wheat ground before it is sent off. We also have a report that Burnside
has issued an order for the arrest of all prisoners paroled at Vicksburg
who may be found within that acres.
This it will be noticed is a cute Yankee trick, as these men have for the most part been exchanged, but being where they cannot get the information remain at home in fancied security.
Prisoners report the death of Col. Bob Johnson
, Andy Johnson
's second son. He is said to have died at Huntsville, Ala.
, in a drunken fit. It will be recollected that his oldest son was thrown from his horse in Nashville
some five or six months ago and killed while on a drunken frolic.
Thus is the arch traitor reaping the reward of his villainy.
A gentleman just arrived, and perfectly reliable, states that he left Jonesboro
' yesterday evening, and reports that no Yankees were nearer than five miles west of that place at the time he left.
This morning a cavalry force was sent down to that village, but has not returned up to this time.
It was my intention to reach Bristol
tonight in time to mail the foregoing communication in time to reach you on Sunday; but, alas!
for human hopes and expectation, we are doomed to disappointment.
On our arrival at this post a telegram was received from Bristol
stating that our pickets had been driven from the direction of Moccasin Gap
and that the enemy were within a few miles of the town.
Consequently the train was stopped here.
Another train had left here for Bristol
a few minutes before the dispatch above referred to was received, which was met by the citizens of that place who were fleeing in consternation, some of them declaring that the Yankees
were just outside the limits of the village.
The conductor of the train procured a horse and rode into town and found a large number of citizens leaving and preparing to leave, and from him I learn that couriers and scouts have come in and reported that Col. Carter
's cavalry regiment, which was stationed near Ready Camp Ground
, had been surprised by a brigade of Yankee cavalry and "cut all to pieces!
" He satisfied himself of the fact that the enemy were approaching Bristol
in some force, their numbers not known, and immediately put back and brought his train to this place.
Zollicoffer, Sept. 19--2 P. M.
This morning, about 7 o'clock, one of our pickets, who had been stationed near Blountsville
, the county seat of Sullivan county
, and six miles from these headquarters, came dashing in and reported that a party of seven men had been fired on at Blountsville
by the enemy, who chased him to within a few miles of this place.
Our forces were soon in line of battle.
At about 11 A. M. scouts which had been sent out this morning in the direction of Blountsville
came in and reported that the enemy, which was composed of cavalry and mounted infantry, estimated to be some twelve or fifteen hundred strong, had left their wagon trains, &c., at Blountsville
, and gone on up the Reedy Creek
road in the direction of Bristol
We have since ascertained by citizens and scouts from Bristol
that they reached that place about half-past 8 A. M. to-day, and when our informants — who narrowly escaped being captured — left, the enemy was in the streets and the citizens firing on them from the houses.
On yesterday morning Col. Carter
's 1st Tennessee cavalry had a skirmish with the same force of the enemy who passed up the Reedy Creek
road to Bristol
, at or near Kingsport
, twenty-five miles west by northwest of this post.
In this affray his forces were forced to fall back, by which three of his wagons and two companies of his command were cut off. The wagons were captured by the enemy, but the most of the squadron made their escape and arrived at this place at an early hour this morning.
The main body of his force fell back before the enemy in the direction of Bristol
, and took up line of battle two miles this side of that place, where it is supposed they were at the time the enemy approached.
Citizens from Bristol
report that his force was forced to fall back to the Virginia
side by the enemy, who took possession of Bristol
It is supposed that the force alluded to above will endeavor to make their way to the salt works and aim to destroy the bridges on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad on their way thither.
10 P. M.
A prisoner was brought in late this evening who was captured in the vicinity of Blountsville
He belonged to an Indiana regiment.
He was mounted on a very fine mule, which he had stolen in the neighborhood.
Battle Field Zollicoffer, Sept. 29th.
This morning we are on the qui vive.
Scouts brought in information that the enemy had fallen back from Bristol
We also have intelligence from Carter's Depot
, Gen. Williams
's headquarters, that the enemy are making a demonstration in his front.
About 7 A. M. a courier came in and reported that our cavalry, 16th Georgia battalion, of Brig. Gen. A. E. Jackson
's command, engaged the enemy just this side of Blountsville
, and after skirmishing fell back in good order, with no casualties of consequence except Lt. Stallins
, of co. F, 16th Ga. battalion.
About S A. M. the enemy advanced, four regiments strong, both cavalry and infantry, from the direction of Blountsville
, making a demonstration on our front and centre.
About this time our artillery opened briskly on them, which checked their advance.
Pretty soon the enemy opened with three pieces of artillery about 1,200 yards distant, shelling and throwing grape in the woods all around our infantry supports at this point at a rapid rate.
Our boys stood to their guns manfully, and, after 45 minutes fighting, a small infantry force was thrown around to our right, who kept up a continual fire on our advance skirmishers, while their main body moved around to our left, apparently with the intention of flanking our batteries; a force however had been thrown in line of battle in that direction, since which but little firing took place on the left.
From 9 to 10 o'clock our artillery only opened about once in 10 minutes on them, while quite a brisk infantry fire was kept up, moving gradually around to our right.
At 10 o'clock the firing became warm, and one of our pieces of artillery on the extreme right opened on them, causing them to skedaddle in double quick time.
The 45th Va. regiment, of the 2d brigade, came up from Carter's Depot
, 9 miles distant, and were thrown out to our extreme left about 10 A. M., after which some little picket firing occurred in that direction.
The enemy during the engagement used 4 or 5 pieces of artillery, which seldom fired more than 3 or 4 rounds before they were forced to change position.
About 12 M. the firing ceased and the enemy were signally repulsed.
Our total loss during the engagement as far as known up to this time is 2 killed and 11 wounded. In the 16th Ga. battalion 1st Lt. Andrew Stallins
was badly wounded through the hips but not dangerously, also private Wm. T. Stevens
Company G.--Lieut. William Potts
, right breast, seriously.
Capt. A. H. Brown
, of Nashville
, independent fighter, in right arm.
's Brigade, 29th Virginia Regiment. Company F, W. J. Marsh
commanding.--Killed: Elkanah Ayres
and Crockett Johnston
Wounded: F. F. Ward
, hips, flesh wound, not dangerous; Madison McGee
, shot through both thighs, severe, but not dangerous; Granville Ayres
, right forefinger badly shattered, since amputated below first joint in the hand; Geo. Coble
, flesh wound, arm; Anderson McGee
, in hand.
Company E. Capt. E. Brewster
, slightly wounded in the arm.--Company D, Capt. W. R. Worrell
commanding. --H. Deal
, in the arm slightly.
Of the loss of the enemy we cannot speak with accuracy; but it certainly was much greater than ours, as our men were protected by the woods, and we had greatly the advantage of them in artillery, they having a greater number of pieces engaged than we did, but not as long range as ours.
Five of their men were killed outright, and a large number by one shell from one of our pieces, which fell among them while they were getting ready to fire on us. A number of interesting incidents might be related, but I will cite only one.
While a portion of the 10th Georgia was engaging the enemy, and just after Lieut. Stallins
was wounded, and while the enemy were firing at the company, one of his men raised his white handkerchief on his gun, indicating that he would surrender.
A youth in the 15th Virginia regiment, who was near by on a skirmishing expedition, observed him, and immediately raised his gun and told him if he didn't put up that d — d old white rag that he would shoot him. The fellow pretty soon put his handkerchief in his pocket, while his companions cheered the brave boy. I regret that I have failed to get his name.
With this exception all of our boys behaved gallantly.
The main attack was directed on the centre, where three pieces of Dickerson
's Virginia artillery were planted, and supported by Corse
The firing ceased at half-past 12 o'clock, our boys maintaining their ground throughout the entire engagement.
The greatest desire seemed to prevail among Corse
's brigade to charge the enemy.
's battery behaved nobly, and to them, to Corse
's brigade, and the 16th Georgia battalion of cavalry.
is due the credit of having repulsed the enemy at the battle of Zollicoffer
9 P. M.
Since the above, our forces have returned from the pursuit, failing to overtake the fast fleeing enemy.
They were asked by a citizen whether they would soon thrash out the rebels.
Without stopping, they said, "D — n it; they couldn't fight the whole of Pickett
's division." From the best information we could get, their attacking force was between 4,000 and 5,000, being a portion of those who went to Bristol
A prisoner who was taken states that he belonged to the 5th Indiana cavalry, and that there were four regiments in his brigade, composed of the above, 14th Illinois, 8th Tennessee, and 65th mounted infantry, with three mountain howitzers and seven steel pieces.
Communication has been out off for several days.
It is supposed that the party who attacked us to-day is only the advance guard, and that they have fallen back on their reserve, and the battle will come off in a few days. O. K.
I have just seen the Knoxville Bulletin,
of the 15th inst. It is published by J. B. G. Kinsloe
's old foreman.
It contains no news, but I make up some items which may be interesting, from advertising and editorial columns.
His terms of subscription is $1 per month, 30 cents per week, and 5 cents per single copy.
No subscriptions taken for a longer period than one month.
From the military directory I take the following:
"General S. P. Carter
is Provost Marshal General
of East Tennessee
, and Capt. A. J. Bakney Provost Marshal
The following is a copy of General Orders No. 30
"Some misconception having arisen concerning the true meaning and intention of a portion of paragraph 1 of General Orders No. 29
, from these headquarters, the following explanation of it is hereby made:
"It is not intended that any one shall be stripped of all the means of subsistence for their families, nor of all forage necessary for their stock, but only that subsistence and forage up to these limits may, as a military necessity, be taken; and that it will be first taken from rebels, when needed, and their sympathizers.
The term "when needed," as applied to the taking "of all the property of rebels," means only that they cannot claim exemption from entire forfeiture of subsistence and forage if the necessity should become imperative.
And even in this case no family would be subjected to suffering, and only a positive order from competent military authority will excuse any person whatever in taking property to this extent.
From the office of the chief commissary
an offer is made to pay the highest price in cash to all loyal
citizens for flour, meal, &c., necessary to the support of the troops of East Tennessee
In the same advertisement is inserted as follows: ‘"Information as to produce in the hands of rebels or rebel sympathizers is desired, and all loyal citizens are earnestly requested to assist in the collection of supplies from this quarter by giving necessary information,"’ &c. The Provost Marshal General
, S. P. Carter
, requests the friends of those persons who had been arrested for political offences and carried off by rebels to report their names to his office, and promises them, as soon as practicable, to obtain their release.
The man of the
is very much "out of sorts" on the news question.
He says the news can't be bad. No mails, no telegraph, no reliable gentleman, not even an intelligent contraband, not a line of intelligence from Charleston
since the 5th, no tidings from Rosecrans
since the 8th, and no word from the situation in Virginia
since the 31st ult.
Now (he says) is it not a burlesque to attempt to the publication of a newspaper under such circumstances.
When he embarked in the enterprise he expected to get at least stray copies of Northern papers, &c., but he has reached the 9th number, and the difficulties under which he labors have not only not decreased, but grown more formidable in proportion; and winds up with a request to his readers that, under such circumstances, they will wait patiently the time, which is not far distant, when complete communication will be established with the North
, and he will publish with fullness and regularity each day. The following is a synopsis of his news column: A Mr. Wood
has returned from Richmond
, and, as usual with returned Union men and prisoners, he carries a doleful tale about the demoralized condition of Lee
's army and the played out condition of the Confederacy
, he says, left Richmond
on the 5th, just at which date there was no appearance of important military movements.
himself was in Richmond
, and his army, from all attainable information, was occupying its old position at Fredericksburg
The army is represented to be discouraged to such a degree as to be totally demoralized, a large number having deserted, and those who remain as having lost all that admirable exprit du corps
which made it the great strength of the rebellion.
The army of Lee
is further reported to have dwindled down to 30,000.
Citizens and soldiers all admit that Charleston
, and Mobile
would be taken whenever the Yankees
set about the job. He winds up his "From Richmond
" with, "Should all this prove to be the case, that the rebellion has fairly gone to seed, " and "Verify this is a discouraged people." But I will cease picking the extracts, so disgusting are the details generally. O. K.
After a tedious journey of 26 miles, 20 of which I had to walk, I have reached this neat little village, completely broken down.
The whole country in this section is completely stirred up — families moving off, men on horseback acting as home guards, scouts, etc, and refugees from every direction are constantly seen going to and fro in every direction.
The only hotel here is so much crowded that it is almost a matter of impossibility to get anything to eat; and as to a bed, that is entirely out of the question.
In regard to the military situation, little need be said.
We are doubtless all right in that respect, unless the enemy come upon us in much larger force than we anticipate.
From information derived from a gentleman who left Mossey creek last Saturday morning, where he has been ever since the occupation of East Tennessee
by the Yankees
, I have been enabled to obtain a glimpse of affairs insides of the enemy's lines, together with having it in my power to furnish you with a brief but correct account of the capture of the trains, &c., on the East Tennessee railroad.
The enemy are represented to be foraging and subsisting generally on the rebel sympathizers, who are pointed out to them by tories.
They take produce of every description and send it back to Knoxville
, as I have represented in a former communication.
The few Southern men who remain keep quiet, saying but little, and thus secure the safety of their persons until they can get a safe chance to get out of the lines.
Quite a number of refugees are coming through.
Among others I have had the pleasure of meeting Captain H. E. Robertson
, editor of the Greenville Banner.
It will be recollected that Capt.
E., was the Johnson
's organ, but on the breaking out of our troubles he turned his organ against him at his own door, and fought the tories manfully at Greenville
, even at the risk of his life, while there were only nine avowed Southern men in that place.
He is now a refugee from his home, and, although exempted by age, is in the service of his country, doing all he can to drive the vandals from the land he loves so dearly.
But I have left my subject.
From the gentleman who left Mossy Creek
I learn that the enemy are being heavily reinforced — no less than six batteries having passed up, with large infantry supports, a few days before he left.
who have occupied East Tennessee
are said to treat our soldiers with perfect contempt — in fact, they are disposed to look upon nearly all of the inhabitants of that section in the same light, the Tories, their friends, not even excepted.
As an instance of their idea of what constitutes the man, I will state an incident which occurred at Mossey Creek on the arrival of Gen.
Has call at that place, who is represented by my informant as a low bred personage, not fit to be a Sergeant in so low a place as a company in the Yankee
Approaching a gentleman who keeps a hotel a short distance from Knoxville
, and eyeing him from head to foot, he said: ‘ "You seem to be better dressed than most of these fellows around here.
How comes that to be the ease?"’ Mr.
--replied that he had the misfortune to have all his clothing stolen on the previous visit of his (Has call's) friends to that place, and that he was forced to buy a new suit, or that he should have on old clothes like a majority of other citizens, as he was willing to make any sacrifice for the country, not wishing to encourage blockade running to the North
and thus fill the coffers of his enemies with means to subjugate his people. "Ah," says he, "I supposed from your appearance that you were for the Union
--told him that he was a Southern man, and that he was a so-called rebel, and expected to live and die a rebel, if attachment to the land that gave him birth and his country's institutions made him one.
turned off whistling, and said no more.
When the train was captured at Knoxville Col. Foster
compelled Mr. Branner
, the President
of the road, to get on the train with the soldiers at Mossy Creek
, and go up the road with them.
They stated that they were going through to Bristol
expostulated with them, but was forced to go. They passed on safely until they arrived at Jonesboro
', wholesome of our men had moved the switch, and the cars were run off the track.
It was at this point that J. M. Crowley
of the telegraph line, and C. K. Nelson
, operator, were captured.
They are still prisoners in Knoxville
, and Mr. Crowley
is compelled to go up and down the road to superintend the telegraph repairs.
After repairing damages, and getting the cars on the track, the party, numbering some 400 soldiers, set out again for Bristol
, still keeping Mr. Branner
on the train with them in a conspicuous place, where he could be seen.
A number of incidents are related as having occurred during this trip.
The tories would come out and cheer, hallooing, "Hurrah for the Yankees
; you are our deliverers; we can once more live and be freemen again," &c. One old fellow, whose name I do not remember, became so "glorious" that he swooned, and had to be carried off a la African
Another was running up the platform, and happening to run up to the spot where Mr. Branner
stood, and hearing him advise some of the cheering party to keep quiet and not be so fast, struck his head in his huge hand and ran as if running for his life.
It is said the Yankees
themselves were very much amused at the conduct of their newly-found brethren, and ridiculed them in the most extreme manner.
One old fellow upon a hill hallooed "Hurrah for the Yankees
!" One of the Yanks replied, "Yes, d — n you, I'd rather draw a head on you just about now. I expect you are the rascal that moved this switch and thrown us off the track."
Just as I am closing the train is in from Bristol
, and we have reliable news from below.
Fighting commenced below Blountsville
this morning, and has been going on all day. The forces engaged are the 16th Georgia battalion of cavalry, three pieces of Davidson's Lynchburg battery, and Carter
's regiment of cavalry.
We also have fighting reported in the direction of Carter's Depot
.--It is probable that a portion of our forces from Zollicoffer
or Carter's Station
are making a flank movement to the right or rear of the enemy. O. K.