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s view he had bidden Burnside to hold on to Knoxville with a firm grasp, as long as possible, until he should receive succor in some form.
Longstreet, meanwhile, was pressing rapidly forward.
By a forced march he struck the Tennessee River at Hough's Ferry, a few miles below Loudon, crossed it on a pontoon bridge there, and pressed on toward the right flank of Burnside, at Lenoir Station.
At the same time Wheeler and Forrest were dispatched, with cavalry, by way of Marysville, across Little River, to seize the heights on the south side of the Holston, which commanded Knoxville, the grand objective of Longstreet — the key to East Tennessee.
Perceiving the danger threatened by this flank movement, and in obedience to his instructions, Burnside sent out a force on the Loudon road, under General Ferrero, to watch and check the foe, and secure the National trains, and, at the same time, ordered the whole force to fall back as rapidly as possible to Knoxville.
A portion of the Ninth C