I requested and received from General Burnside a copy of his commands in writing:
HEADQUARTERS OF THE OHIO KNOXVILLE, December 7, 1863
Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding, etc.
GENERAL: I desire to express to you and your command my most hearty thanks and gratitude for your promptness in coming to our relief during the siege of Knoxville, and I am satisfied your approach served to raise the siege. The emergency having passed, I do not deem, for the present, any other portion of your command but the corps of General Granger necessary for operations in this section; and, inasmuch as General Grant has weakened the forces immediately with him in order to relieve us (thereby rendering the position of General Thomas less secure), I deem it advisable that all the troops now here, save those commanded by General Granger, should return at once to within supporting distance of the forces in front of Bragg’s army. In behalf of my command, I desire again to thank you and your command for the kindness you have done us.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE, Major-General, Commanding