We must now move back to camps around Chattanooga. I gave the following orders:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Athens, December 13, 1863
DEAR GENERAL: We are going to Chattanooga. Long’s cavalry is back, and is moving to-day toward Charleston from Tellico. I will come down to-morrow. The pontoons to which General Grant doubtless refers are with Dresser, up the Tennessee River, near Kingston, taken up by the Dunbar. I ordered Dresser to have them at Cotton Port ready to be moved to the mouth of the Hiwassee in case the bridge was broken. There is a courier-line on the west bank of the river, and General Grant, can, if notified, order them down. I shall leave Long’s cavalry and the Fifth Ohio north of Hiwassee when we start for Chattanooga. Be ready to march for Cleveland the day after to-morrow, and afterward to your old camp at Chattanooga.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
I had Dayton Respond to a letter from Howard:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Athens, Tennessee, December 13, 1863
Major General O. O. HOWARD, Commanding Eleventh Army Corps:
DEAR GENERAL: Yours of date yesterday came last evening by courier, and the general commanding directs me to answer. Colonel Long returned from his expedition yesterday about noon, and the general has directed both him and General M. L. Smith to move to Charleston, but at their leisure. The general has dates from General Grant of the 11th, who makes no mention of any of our troops being at or near Dalton, and judges it must be a mistake what your negro reports. You will move your entire command to the south side of the Hiwassee, as the Fifteenth Army Corps will reach you probably sometime during the day tomorrow. All quiet here.
I am, with much respect, yours, &c.,
L. M. DAYTON, Captain and Aide-de-Camp
The general directs that General Tyndale’s brigade be moved over tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock.