[from our own Correspondent.
The two armies confront each other still, though in other respects some interesting changes have occurred since the date of my last letter from this place.
has rebuilt the lower (trestle) bridge that was carried away by the freshet some ten days ago. This time he has made it higher, and apparently stronger, than it was before, but not so high or so strong, it is hoped, that it may not be swept away by the heavy rain which has been falling here for the last thirty-six hours.
It is believed, also, that Rosecrans
has sent his horses to the rear — probably to points on the railroad where they will be convenient to forage — as none have been seen about Chattanooga
for the last few days.
This step, if it has been taken, will diminish greatly the pressure upon his wagon trains, the principal labors of which will hereafter be limited to the transportation of supplies for the Federal
The shortest and best road by which he can haul these supplies passes along the north bank of the Tennessee
at a sharp bend in the river, six or eight miles below Chattanooga
At this point the trains are exposed to the fire of our sharpshooters, posted on the south bank, who attacked one of the trains on the 11th, killed a number of mules, and completely blocked up the way. The following day the enemy shelled the woods along the river in that vicinity, with the hope of driving the Confederates
away or of making them show themselves; but he succeeded in doing neither.
Should we be able to close this road, the distance by the circuitous route which the trains would be compelled to travel would be almost, if not quite, doubled, whilst the difficult and rugged character of the way would be increased in the same ratio.
It is not probable, however, that the enemy will abandon the lower or river road without making a strong effort to keep it open.
The difficulty of procuring supplies is already serious enough.
It is reported that a provision train arrived night before last, and that for some days previous the Federal
army had been put upon shorter rations than any Confederate army in the field has ever been reduced to. This lower road passes through the town of Jasper
, to which point, it is further reported, the Federals
are building, if they have not already completed, a railroad, connecting with the Nashville
road at Bridgeport
The roadbed for this work was prepared, as I learn, before the commencement of the war. --When put into operation, it will reduce the distance from Bridgeport
, by the wagon road, nearly one third.
We are without further intelligence from Knoxville
, and nothing has been heard of Gen. Wheeler
, for whose safety considerable uneasiness is felt in official circles.* The Louisville Journal
, of the 3d inst., says that Major General Slocum
and Brigadier Generals Williams
, of the Army of the Potomac, arrived at that city on the evening of the 2d.
It is believed that these officers and their commands have already reached their destination.
each commanded a corps d'armes
at the battle of Chancellorsville
It may be that a portion of the reinforcements sent to Rosecrans
has been ordered to Bridgeport
, and other points along the enemy's line of communications, and that Wheeler
has encountered a heavier force than he expected when he started on his expedition.
We have no information in regard to the whereabouts of the Federal
But to what point have the Federal
reinforcements been sent?
It is not improbable that most of them have gone, or will go, to Knoxville
and other points in East Tennessee
, and to Bridgeport
, in Northeast Alabama
, and that only a small number, comparatively, have been ordered to Chattanooga
It is the purpose of the Federal Government
to hold East Tennessee
permanently, if possible, and to that end the flanks of Rosecrans
will be protected by heavy columns, distributed at supporting distances from each other, along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad as far as Stevenson
, and along the East Tennessee
road above and below Knoxville
Should another attempt at invasion be made, as there doubtless will be if we remain idle, the Federal
plan of campaign will probably involve a simultaneous advance from Bridgeport
, and Knoxville
, upon Dalton
But it is believed that the combinations of the enemy, whatever they may be, might have been defeated if we had pressed him Monday and Tuesday after the battle, or moved promptly towards East Tennessee
upon his left flank.
Indeed, it is said that this latter movement was not only decided upon in a full council of superior officers, but that it was actually begun on Tuesday, the 22d of September, only to be countermanded that night.
The object of the proposed movement, doubtless, was to capture or disperse the forces under Burnside
, reoccupy East Tennessee
, and make a bold push for Nashville
It is doubtful, however, whether our supplies and means of transportation were sufficient at that time for an undertaking so important as a movement upon Nashville
, though it is believed we might have gone far enough to reopen East Tennessee
and compel Rosecrans
to retire upon the capital of the State
In the meantime preparations might have been made for an eventual advance into Middle Tennessee
It is hoped the golden opportunity has not been entirely lost.