Now that the journey to Knoxville and back is complete, I express my gratitude to Generals Davis and Howard. They moved their men through hard conditions without complaint and sought to fulfill the spirit of the task. I trust them as fellow soldiers.
HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Chattanooga, December 18, 1863
Brigadier General JEFF, C. DAVIS, Commanding Division, Chattanooga:
In our recent short but most useful campaign. it was my good fortune to have attached to me the corps of General Howard and the division commanded by yourself. I now desire to thank you personally and officially for the handsome manner in which you and your command have borne yourself throughout. You led in the pursuit of Bragg’s army on the route designated for my command, and I admired the skill with which you handled the division at Chickamauga, and more especially in the short and sharp encounter at nightfall near Graysville.
When General Grant called on us unexpectedly and without due preparation to march to Knoxville for the relief of General Burnside, you and your officers devoted yourselves to he work like soldiers and patriots, marching through cold and mud without a murmur, trusting to accident for shelter and subsistence.
During the whole march, wherever I encountered your command, I found all its officers at their proper places and the men in admirable order. This is the true test, and I pronounce your division one of the best ordered in the service. I wish you all honor and success in your course, and shall deem myself most fortunate if the incidents of war bring us together again.
Be kind enough to say to General Morgan, General Beatty, and Colonel McCook, your brigade commanders, that I have publicly and privately commended their brigades, and that I stand prepared at all times to assist them in whatever way lies in my power.
I again thank you personally and beg to subscribe myself, Your sincere friend,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.
I also wrote to Howard:
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Chattanooga, December 18, 1863
Major General O. O. HOWARD, Commanding Eleventh Corps:
DEAR GENERAL: As the events of the war brought us together and have as suddenly parted us, I cannot deny myself the pleasure it gives me to express to you the deep personal respect I entertain for you. I had known you by reputation, but it needed the opportunity our short campaign gave me to appreciate one who mingled so gracefully and perfectly the polished Christian gentleman and the prompt, zealous, and gallant soldier.
I am not in the habit of flattering, but I have deemed it my duty to express to General Grant and others in whom I confide not only the satisfaction but the great pleasure I experienced in being associated with you in our late short but most fruitful campaign.
Not only did you do all that circumstances required, but you did it in a spirit of cheerfulness that was reflected in the conduct and behavior of your whole command.
I beg you will convey to General Schurz, Colonel Buschbeck, and to all your officers the assurance of my official and personal respect.
Should fortune bring us together again in any capacity I will deem myself most fortunate and should it ever be in my power to serve you, I beg you will unhesitatingly call on me as a friend.
With great respect, you friend,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General