With the rebels on the run, we have an excellent chance to smash their army before they can regroup. I directed Gen. Rawlins to give the following orders to Gen. Thomas.
CHATTANOOGA, November 25, 1863.
Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
I am directed by the general commanding to say that you will start a strong reconnaissance in the morning at 7 a.m., to ascertain the position of the enemy.
If it is ascertained that the enemy are in full retreat, follow them with all your force, except that which you intend Granger to take to Knoxville. This will make sufficient force to retain here. I have ordered Sherman to pursue also, he taking the most easterly road used by the enemy, if they have taken more than one.
Four days’ rations should be got up to the men between this and morning, and also a supply of ammunition. I shall want Granger’s expedition to get off by the day after to-morrow.
By order of Major-General Grant:
Jno. A. RAWLINS,
Brigadier-General, and Chief of Staff.
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 448
O.R., I, xxxi, part 2, p 45