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[193] to the troops by the long and tedious route from Stevenson and Bridgeport to Chattanooga over Waldrous Ridge. They could not have been supplied another week.

The enemy was evidently fully apprised of our condition in Chattanooga, and of the necessity of our establishing a new and shorter line by which to obtain supplies, if we would maintain our position; and so fully was he impressed of the importance of keeping from us these lines — lost to him by surprise, and in a manner he little dreamed of — that, in order to regain possession of them, a night attack was made by a portion of Longstreet's forces on a portion of Hooker's troops (George's division of the Twelfth corps) the first night after Hooker's arrival in the valley. The attack failed, however, and Howard's corps, which was moving to the assistance of Geary, finding that it was not required by him, carried the remaining heights held by the enemy west of Lookout Creek. This gave us quiet possession of the lines of communication heretofore described south of the Tennessee River. Of these operations I cannot speak more particularly, the sub-reports having been sent to Washington without passing through my hands.

By the use of two steamboats--one of which had been left at Chattanooga by the enemy and fell into our hands, and one that had been built by us at Bridgeport and Kelly's Ferry — we were enabled to obtain supplies with but eight miles of wagoning. The capacity of the railroad and steamboats was not sufficient, however, to supply all the wants of the army, but actual suffering was prevented.

Ascertaining from scouts and deserters that Bragg was detaching Longstreet from the front and moving him in the direction of Knoxville, Tenn., evidently to attack Burnside, and feeling strongly the necessity of some move that would compel him to retain all his forces and recall those he had detached, directions were given for a movement against Missionary Ridge, with a view to carrying it and threatening the enemy's commu nications with Longstreet, of which I informed Burnside by telegraph on the seventh of November.

After a thorough reconnoissance of the ground, however, it was deemed utterly impracticable to make the move until Sherman could get up, because of the inadequacy of our forces and the condition of the animals then at Chattanooga; and I was forced to leave Burnside, for the present, to contend against superior forces of the enemy until the arrival of Sherman with his men and means of transportation. In the mean time, reconnoissances were made, and plans matured for operations. Despatches were sent to Sherman, informing him of the movement of Longstreet, and the necessity of his immediate presence at Chattanooga.

On the fourteenth of November, I telegraphed to Burnside as follows:

Your despatch and Dana's just received. Being there, you can tell better how to resist Longstreet's attack than I can direct. With your showing, you had better give up Kingston at the last moment, and save the most productive part of your possessions. Every arrangement is now made to throw Sherman's force across the river, just at and below the mouth of Chickamauga Creek, as soon as it arrives. Thomas will attack on his left at the same time; and, together, it is expected to carry Missionary Ridge, and from there rush a force on to the railroad between Cleveland and Dalton. Hooker will at the same time attack, and, if he can, carry Lookout Mountain. The enemy now seems to be looking for an attack on his left flank. This favors us. To further confirm this, Sherman's advance division will march direct from Whitesides to Trenton. The remainder of his force will pass over a new road just made from Whitesides to Kelly's Ferry, thus being concealed from the enemy, and leave him to suppose the whole force is going up Lookout valley.

Sherman's advance has only just reached Bridgeport. The rear will only reach there on the sixteenth. This will bring it to the nine-teenth as the earliest day for making the combined movement as desired. Inform me if you think you can sustain yourself till that time. I can hardly conceive of the enemy breaking through at Kingston, and pushing for Kentucky. If they should, however, a new problem would be left for solution. Thomas has ordered a division of cavalry to the vicinity of Sparta. I will ascertain if they have started, and inform you. It will be entirely out of the question to send for ten thousand men, not because they cannot be spared, but how could they be fed after they got one day east of here?

On the fifteenth--having received from the General-in-Chief a despatch of date the fourteenth, in reference to Burnside's position, the danger of his abandonment of East-Tennessee unless immediate relief was afforded, and the terrible misfortune such a result would be to our arms; and also despatches from Mr. C. A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War; and Colonel Wilson of my staff, sent at the instance of General Burnside, informing me more fully of the condition of affairs as detailed to them by him — I telegraphed him as follows:

Chattanooga, November 15, 1863.
I do not know how to impress on you the necessity of holding on to East-Tennessee in strong enough terms. According to the despatches of Mr. Dana and Colonel Wilson, it would seem that you should, if pressed to do it, hold on to Knoxville and that portion of the valley you will necessarily possess holding to that point. Should Longstreet move his whole force across the Little Tennessee, an effort should be made to cut his pontoons on that stream even if it sacrificed half the cavalry of the Ohio army.

By holding on, and placing Longstreet between the Little Tennessee and Knoxville, he should

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