all their available force, except that under. Granger, intended for the relief of Knoxville. On the morning of the twenty-sixth, Sherman advanced by way of Chickamauga Station, and Thomas's forces under Hooker and Palmer moved on the Rossville road toward Grapeville and Ringgold. The advance of Thomas's forces reached Ringgold on the morning of the twenty-seventh, where they found the enemy in strong position in the gorge and on the crest of Taylor's Ridge, from which they dislodged him after a severe fight, in which we lost heavily in valuable officers and men, and continued the pursuit that day until near Tunnel Hill, a distance of twenty miles from Chattanooga. Davis's division (Fourteenth corps) of Sherman's column reached Ringgold about noon of the same day. Howard's corps was sent by General Sherman to Red Clay to destroy the railroad between Dalton and Cleveland, and thus cut off Bragg's communication with Longstreet, which was successfully accomplished. Had it not been for the imperative necessity of relieving Burnside, I would have pursued the broken, demoralized, and retreating enemy as long as supplies could have been found in the country. But my advices were, that Burnside's supplies could only last until the third of December. It was already getting late to afford the necessary relief. I determined, therefore, to pursue no further. Hooker was directed to hold the position he then occupied until the night of the thirtieth, but to go no further south at the expense of a fight. Sherman was directed to march to the railroad crossing of the Hiawassee, to protect Granger's flank until he was across that stream, and to prevent further reenforcements being sent by that route into East-Tennessee. Returning from the front on the twenty-eighth, I found that Granger had not yet got off, nor would he have the number of men I directed. Besides, he moved with reluctance and complaint. I therefore determined, notwithstanding the fact that two divisions of Sherman's forces had marched from Memphis, and had gone into battle immediately on their arrival at Chattanooga, to send a him with his command; and orders in accordance therewith were sent him at Calhoun to assume command of the troops with Granger, in addition to those with him, and proceed with all possible despatch to the relief of Burnside. General Elliot had been ordered by Thomas, on the twenty-sixth of November, to proceed from Alexandria, Tennessee, to Knoxville, with his cavalry division, to aid in the relief of that place. The approach of Sherman caused Longstreet to raise the siege of Knoxville and retreat eastward on the night of the fourth of December. Sherman succeeded in throwing his cavalry into Knoxville on the night of the third. Sherman arrived in person at Knoxville on the sixth, and after a conference with Burnside in reference to t “organizing a pursuing force large enough to overtake the enemy and beat him, or drive him out of the State,” Burnside was of the opinion that the corps of Granger, in conjunction with his own command, was sufficient for that purpose, and on the seventh addressed to Sherman the following communication:
Leaving Granger's command at Knoxville, Sherman, with the remainder of the forces, returned by slow marches to Chattanooga. I have not spoken more particularly of the result of the pursuit of the enemy, because the more detailed reports accompanying this do the subject justice. For the same reason I have not particularized the part taken by corps and division commanders. To Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, Chief-Engineer, I feel under more than ordinary obligations for the masterly manner in which he discharged the duties of his position, and desire that his services may be fully appreciated by higher authorities. The members of my staff discharged faithfully their respective duties, for which they have my warmest thanks. Our losses in these battles were seven hundred and fifty-seven killed, four thousand five hundred and twenty-nine wounded, and three hundred and thirty missing--total, five thousand six hundred and sixteen. The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was probably less than ours, owing to the fact that he was protected by his intrenchments. while we were without cover. At Knoxville, however, his loss was many times greater than ours, making his entire losses at the two places equal to, if rot exceeding ours. We captured six thousand one hundred and forty-two prisoners, of whom two hundred and thirty-nine were commissioned officers; forty pieces of artillery, sixty-nine artillery carriages and caissons, and seven thousand stand of small arms. The armies of the Cumberland and the Tennessee, for their energy and unsurpassed bravery in the three days battle of Chattanooga,Knoxville, and I am satisfied that your approach served to raise the siege. The emergency having passed, I do not deem, for the present, any other portion of your command but the corps of General Granger necessary for operations in this section; and, inasmuch as General Grant has weakened the forces immediately with him in order to relieve us, thereby rendering portions of General Thomas's less secure, I deem it advisable that all the troops now here, except those commanded by General Granger, should return at once to within supporting distance of the forces operating against General Bragg's army. In behalf of my command, I again desire to thank you and your command for the kindness you have done us.A. E. Burnside, Major-General.