“In case you are called on for troops to go into East Tennessee I wish you to take the command in person”

It is becoming clear that Gen. Foster’s injury will prevent him from playing an active role in the field.  I wrote Gen. Thomas to prepare to take command in East Tennessee if necessary.

CHATTANOOGA, January 24, 1864.

Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS,


Should the advance of Longstreet upon Knoxville make re-enforcements to Foster necessary, send the remainder of the Fourth Corps, except artillery. I do not deem more artillery necessary under any circumstances, unless you should deem it advisable as safeguard whilst on the march. Should the exigencies of Foster’s position make more re-enforcements necessary send such of the troops as you can spare.

In case you are called on for troops to go into East Tennessee I wish you to take the command in person, and on arrival at Knoxville to take command of all the forces.

The condition Foster is now in makes it impossible for him to take the field. In justice to himself, and as I want Longstreet routed and pursued beyond the limits of the State of Tennessee, it is necessary to have a commander physically able for the task.

Troops started from Chattanooga with three days’ rations in haversacks will be able to make the trip to Loudon, drawing the balance of their supplies from the country. Receipts should be given in all cases where supplies are taken from loyal persons to enable them to get their pay in accordance with existing orders.

I wish it impress this fact: If further re-enforcements are send from here to East Tennessee, Longstreet is to be driven beyond the reach of doing further harm in this State. Troops enough should beset to secure this result.

Should taking such a force weaken Chattanooga dangerously, I will order such force from Logan’s command to their place as will secure it.

In drawing troops from Chattanooga it would not be necessary to wait the arrival of their substitutes. The fact of their being on the way wold be sufficient. I would advise that immediate attention be given to preparations for moving troops, so that they may be got off, if required, on the shortest possible notice.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 64-5

O.R., I, xxxii, part 2, p 193-4

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