From Gen. Bragg's Army.

[from our own Correspondent.]

Army of Tennessee

Near Chattanooga, Oct. 26, 1863.
The Federal Government has just committed its second greatest blunder. I allude to the removal of Rosecrans and the appointment of Thomas to succeed him.

McClellan is the best organizer of forces among all the Federal officers; Rosecrans the ablest campaigner and the best fighter. A great blunder was committed when the former was removed; a second blunder, almost as great, has just been made in the removal of the latter. The change is very popular with the Confederates, and even Gen. Bragg does not object to it. Officers who have known Rosecrans and Thomas both well for many years say we have made a gain by the exchange equivalent to 10,000 men; in other words, that Rosecrans is the better man of the two by 10,000 men. Thomas is a good fighter when he gets warmed up to the work; but ordinarily he is a slow man, and possesses neither the gift to organize an army and move it promptly nor the capacity to project a campaign on a broad scale.

Thomas is a native of Virginia, and belonged to the Calhoun school of politics. He was on duty in Texas at the time the States seceded, and so warmly did he sympathise with the Confederates that he tendered his resignation to Gen. Twiggs, the officer then in command in the Southwest, who, instead of accepting it, advised him to take a furlough and proceed to Richmond, and send in his resignation from that point, especially as it would enable him to travel that far free of expense. He acted upon the suggestion, went to Richmond, made a written application to Governor Letcher (which application is now on file in Richmond) for service in the Virginia State Guard, and then went North for his family. He had married in Troy, N. Y., and owned considerable property in the United States, which he desired to secure. He never returned, the presumption being that he was seduced by tempting offers from the Federal Government, or was dissuaded by his wife from entering the service of the Confederates.

Thomas was an ardent Southern Rights man up to the time he left Richmond. The leopard must have changed his spots, or the Ethiopian his skin, if this Secessionist can find pleasure or honor in an association with negro soldiers and negro officers. But Cœsar said every man had his price, and it may be Gen. George H. Thomas had his.

The following letter from Gen. Thomas to Gen. Burnside, notifying the latter of the change in the command of the Army of the Cumberland, is not without interest. The original, which I have seen, was found upon the person of Col. Clift, the chief of the tory bushwhackers in East Tennessee, who was captured by some of our scouts and brought into Gen. Bragg last night. The letter is given just as it was written:

Headq'rs Dep't of the Cumberland,

Chattanooga, Oct. 20th, 1863.
--I regret to have to inform you that Gen. Rosecrans was relieved from duty with this army yesterday, and that I have been placed in command. The Departments of the Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee, have been thrown into one grand division, to be called the Division of the Mississippi, and placed under the command of Gen. Grant, we commanding our armies under him. Gen. Grant will be here in a few days. Cannot you come down to meet him?

Col. Clift will explain to you my situation and prospects, and thanking you for sending him down, I hope you will send him again, until we can get more rapid communication by telegraph. If not molested within a week I will try to have a telegraph line put up to Kingston.

Our cavalry have gained considerable advantage over the enemies cavalry during their late raids against the railroads. The enemies loss five pieces artillery, over two thousand killed, wounded and prisoners.

Yours truly,

George H. Thomas,
Major Gen'l Com'dg.

Maj.-Gen. Burnsides, commanding Department Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Col. Clift, the bearer of this letter or dispatch, is an old man, very shrewd and self- possessed.--Nothing could be got out of him except that heavy reinforcements are coming to Thomas, and this we had learned from other sources. As the bold and unscrupulous leader of the bushwhackers in East Tennessee, he has been a terror to the Southern people in that quarter. Among the papers found upon his person was a general pass from Burnside to go in and out of his lines at pleasure, and the following precious document:

Headq'rs in the Field,
Oct. 3d, 1863.
Special Orders, No. --.

Col. Clift is hereby authorized to proceed to Rhea, Hamilton, and the adjoining counties, for the purpose of recruiting for the U. S. service.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Burnside.
R. H. J. Goddard, Capt. and A. D. C.,
A. A. A. G.

Now what will the virtuous Burnside say If Gen. Bragg should hang the aforesaid Col. Clift by the neck until he be dead, in retaliation for his execution of Confederate officers caught recruiting within his lines? Will it make any difference, in his judgment, if the Federal ox should be gored by the Confederate bull?

Another paper found upon Col. Clift is a printed address from Gen. Burnside to the "loyal citizens" of East Tennessee, in which he invites them to form themselves into companies, to be known as the "National Guard of East Tennessee." As soon as they shall have organized themselves into companies he promises to supply them with arms, which they can take home with them, for their own defence, until such time as they may be needed, when they will be called out and formed into regiments.

You will probably hear further news from Louden, or its vicinity, before this reaches you.


Army of Tennessee,

Chattanooga Valley, Oct. 27, 1863.
Reference was made in a late letter to a sudden bend in the Tennessee river, a few miles below Chattanooga, where the enemy's wagons, passing to and from Bridgeport, were exposed to the fire of our sharpshooters posted on the Southern bank of the river, and the opinion was expressed that the enemy would not abandon this (the lower or river) road without making a strong effort to keep it open. Well, that effort has been made, and thus far successfully made.

During last night Gen. Thomas threw a pontoon bridge across the river, two miles below Lookout point, and sent over a sufficient force to drive off our pickets, and get possession of Sand Hill — a mountain spur overlooking the river. Gen. Law, whose brigade was in position on the west side of Lookout, sent two or three companies to dislodge the intruders; but finding, after driving in the first line, and encountering a second on the crest of the hill, that the enemy was being reinforced rapidly, the Confederates retired and left their antagonists in full possession of the hill, and of that part of the south side of the river which commands the wagon road on the opposite bank.

It is reported to-night that a division crossed over the new pontoon bridge this afternoon, and that other forces were preparing to cross. The forces on the hill were felling timber and erecting defences, and by to-morrow it will be difficult, if not impracticable, to carry the place by storm.--The ground is unfavorable to military operations, consisting of muddy flats and mountain spurs, covered with rocks and timber. There are but two ways by which we can send reinforcements to the scene of action--one by a tedious and circuitous route to the left; the other around the north end of Lookout, where they would be exposed to the fire of the Moccasin batteries. These batteries have been shelling Lookout and our lines in that direction all day. They destroyed the Half-way House (Mr. Craven's) last week, and have since driven our signal corps from Lookout Point. Their guns, though situated far below and on the other side of the Tennessee, carry to the very top of Lookout Mountain. They opened fire very unexpectedly at one o'clock night before last; but whether it was the man in the moon they were firing at, or a jack o'lantern seen bogging about the river banks, we have not yet been able to ascertain.

To-day Major E. P. Alexander moved four of his splendid 24-pounder rifle guns to Lookout Point and put them in position to return the fire of the Moccasin batteries. To-morrow we shall probably enjoy a novel if not a profitable spectacle — that of a grand but harmless artillery duel between hostile batteries, situated on opposite sides of a wide river, the one on a high hill and the other on a mountain far above it. But it is dull in camp, and the army is in want of a sensation, so let the firing proceed. It has long been known that a man on the ground may shoot a squirrel in the tree-top, but it remains to be shown whether a man in the tree can hit the squirrel on the ground.

Hood's division, now commanded by Brig. Gen. Jenkins, occupies the left of our lines, including Lookout Mountain. Gen. Laws's brigade forms a part of the division.

The question of supplies is giving the Federal commander much trouble. Gen. Thomas issued an order a few days ago, in which he declares that all persons guilty of pillaging will be severely punished, unless it be shown that they are receiving less than half rations. This is significant. Some of his pickets have offered to exchange an overcoat or a pair of shoes with our pickets for a gallon of meal. At other points on the lines, however, they say they have sufficient supplies.

The reinforcements--two corps d'armes--sent out from Meade's army under Hooker are at Bridgeport. They number about 12,000 men. One corps is commanded by Slocum, the other by Williams. The river at Bridgeport is divided by an island of considerable length. Two pontoon bridges have been thrown across from the north bank to the island, and at last accounts preparations were being made to lay a third bridge from the island to the south bank. This latter work has probably been completed by this time. Hooker's pickets cover Sand Mountain to the distance of eight or ten miles this side of Bridgeport.

Sherman, with other reinforcements, supposed to be 15,000 in number, is advancing along the Memphis and Charleston railroad from the west, rebuilding the bridges and repairing the track as he comes. At the last advices he was at Tuscumbia. Johnson's cavalry is in his front, tearing up the road, burning the stringers and cross-ties, heating and bending the iron rails, and destroying the bridges. At this rate it is not probable that he will reach Bridgeport before the first of February. It will require several weeks to replace the bridge across the Tennessee at Decatur.

Meanwhile Burnside holds Knoxville with a force of 15,000 men. It is believed that be, too, is engaged in repairing the military bridges in East Tennessee, with a view of opening communications with the main army at Chattanooga.

Thus we have the enemy's forces in this quarter distributed as follows: The main army at Chattanooga, under Thomas, exclusive of cavalry, 50,000 men; the left wing at Knoxville and vicinity, under Burnside, 15,000; the right wing, consisting of reinforcements sent from the Potomac, under Hooker, 12,000; other reinforcements from Grant's army, advancing from the west under Sherman, to form a junction with the right wing, 15,000. Total, 92,000. Add to this 15,000 cavalry, and we have an army gathering for the invasion of Georgia under the supreme guidance of Grant of 107,000 men.

To meet this army, to defeat and overcome it, will require the best skill, the highest courage, and the most persevering and united efforts of the Confederates. This doubtful whether another invasion will be attempted before the early spring, by which time the enemy hopes to be able to reopen the railway line from Memphis to Knoxville, and concentrate his vast army for one fell swoop upon Georgia. Whether he will be allowed to concentrate that army is another question.


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