|General James Longsteet|
TAZEWELL, Tennessee, December 6, 1863-6 p..m.
(Received 2.15 a.m., 7th.)
There seems no doubt that Longstreet is in full retreat. A deserter who came in to-day reports that he came out with the column from Knoxville on the 4th. The infantry and transportation moving up the valley on the other side of the Holston, and the cavalry from this side to cover from my attack. The talk among the soldiers was that they were going to Virginia or North Carolina. Foster's cavalry division was 4 miles this side of Maynardville at 2 p.m., when the courier left, preparing to attack the enemy's cavalry.
J. G. FOSTER
(Same to General Grant.)
Official Records, Series I., Vol. 31, Part 3, Page 344.
Longstreet was headed for Rogersville, Tennessee, roughly 65 miles northeast of Knoxville. A scratch force of infantry and cavalry followed in pursuit, but not aggressively. It was a striking turn of events for Longstreet, who went west no doubt entertaining the prospect of independent command. With Bragg's resignation accepted and Lee not willing to come west without a replacement, it seemed Jefferson Davis and the high command in Richmond was passing on Longstreet for not one, but two jobs.