--The following extract from a letter, explains the late movement of our army under Lieut.-Gen. Longstreet
came up in fine spirits a few days since, proclaiming as they advanced that they were about to drive Longstreet
out of Tennessee
The Fourth Army Corps, a part of the 23d, and their entire cavalry force, moved up to a point between Dandridge
Our forces were moved down to meet them on the 14th.
After placing his infantry, Gen. Longstreet
with his staff, moved on to the front, and joining the cavalry, personally superintended its movements.
The enemy endeavored, by a flank movement with their cavalry, to get into our rear.
The quick eye of the General
so arranged matters as to throw Jenkins
's (late Hood
's) division in their front, and he ordered Gen. Martin
to throw a portion of his cavalry in the rear and press them upon Jenkins
gave the order.
The enemy, without being pressed; came unexpectedly on Jenkins
, and were driven pell mell, as was supposed, on Martin
the cavalry, by some mistake, had grope around to the front of the enemy and to the rear of Jenkins
, and of course the way was open for their escape, of which they took the earliest advantage, and went on their way rejoicing.
There is something wrong about the cavalry officers.
The material is as good as can be desired, but the discipline is wretched, and it is almost in efficient, in consequence.
A striking instance of this occurred in the present movement.
's brigade was ordered to make a certain movement which promised the successful capture of about one thousand horses from which the enemy had dismounted.
The move was made, the horses were actually captured, the men in charge shot down, but, instead of turning back the horses under a sufficient guard, our cavalry became a mob of plunderers, commenced rifling the holsters of pistols, loaded themselves with spoils, and in the midst of their confusion, a brigade of Federal cavalry dashed in, recovered the horses, and scattered our men.
Had the cavalry been as efficient as it would have been under a leader like Ransom
, this would have been the last week for Federal forces in East Tennessee
Wherever they met our men they showed that they were utterly demoralized, and depended entirely on their fleetness of foot for safety.
Our infantry could not follow them — the roads are wretched — the snow almost constantly on the ground, and many, many of the men unshod.
The infantry did all that it went to do — resist the advance of the enemy.
The pursuit rested with the cavalry.
Had it been led with the dash and boldness that the occasion demanded, the whole.
Federal force, wagons and all, would have been in imminent peril.
As it is, the movement has been full of fruits.
We now occupy or control that part of East Tennessee
capable of sustaining our army.
We are at present well fed. The Yankees
are on half rations, and driven back to the neighborhood of Knoxville
, their bill of fare "will grow small by degrees and beautifully less," until at last they must retire from that portion of the State
Our men are well hutted, in fine spirits, well fed, and in a few days more will be well clothed.
After that, if the cavalry will half do its duty, it starvation has not already driven the Yankees
out our troops will.