The condition of affairs in East Tennessee
is one of much gravity.
It was stated in my letter of yesterday, on the authority of a telegram in the Louisville Journal
, of the 17th inst., that the reinforcing army of the Tennessee, under Sherman
, had formed a junction with the army of the Cumberland, under Thomas
The language of the Journal
is as follows:
"A telegraphic dispatch from the headquarters of the Army of the Tennessee, dated yesterday, (16th,) states that Major Gen. Sherman
was in the quarters of Gen. Thomas
, having made the junction of his entire corps with Grant
Strong forces were left at intermediate points as Sherman
advanced, and everything is prepared for active work before many days."
There are reasons, perhaps not proper to be stated, for believing that Sherman
, after reaching Bridgeport
, marched his column up to Jasper
, and that he is now pushing rapidly forward by way of Dunlop
, and Kingston
, to Lenoir's Station, on the Chattanooga
and East Tennessee Railroad, with a view to getting in the rear of Longstreet
and cutting him off. Lenoir
's, the point at which he would strike the railroad, is only a few miles this side of Knoxville
The demonstration on our left a few days ago at Johnson
's Crook, or Stephens's Gap, in Lookout Mountain
, hinted at in my letter of last night, was doubtless a feint to divert our attention from East Tennessee
, the real point of danger.
The forces which appeared at Johnson
's Crook, (so called on account of the zigzag direction of the mountains at that point,) and at Trenton
, in Will's Valley
, have already retired, having accomplished, as the Federal
commander hopes, the object for which they were thrown forward.
It was through Stephens's Gap (at the Crook) that Thomas
entered McLemore's Cove, just previous to the battle of Chickamauga
The last accounts from Knoxville
were to the effect that Longstreet
occupied all the outlets from the town except one, and that he expected to close that in a few hours.
's forces were supposed to be equal to his own. Whether they will be able to hold out until reinforcements can reach them is a question now of the greatest importance.
Their supplies must be meagre for a siege, but Sherman
has shown that he is no laggard on the march.
It is just possible, however, that he may meet a lion in his path before he arrives, if indeed he has gone to the rescue of Burnside
The heavy rain of yesterday, as well as the absence of supplies on the route, may operate to detain him somewhat on the road.
It may be, after all, that the battle for the possession of Chattanooga
will be fought around Knoxville
; for if one side send forward reinforcements, the other will probably do the same.
To carry Knoxville
by storm is probably impracticable, owing to the natural strength and artificial defences of the place, and the army shut up there may be able to hold out on quarter rations for ten days or two weeks, in which time succor may be received.
The enemy's batteries in front of Chattanooga
have kept up a slow and irregular fire upon our lines nearly all day, but without results.
, the wife of the famous Captain Semmes
, and a bridal party of ten or twelve persons, are on a visit to Gen. Bragg
and the army.