Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 4, 1863 (Thursday): Longstreet Sent East

General James Longstreet

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF TENNESSEE, Missionary Ridge, November 4, 1863.
Commanding Corps:
    GENERAL: You will move with your command (McLaws' and Hood's divisions and Alexander's and Leyden's artillery battalions) as indicated in our conference yesterday. Major-General Wheeler will make the necessary arrangements for the cavalry and probably accompany it, at least for a time. He is thoroughly acquainted with Middle Tennessee, and many of the officers with him will know the route there as well as all parts of East Tennessee. Every preparation is ordered to advance you as fast as possible, and the success of the plan depends on rapid movements and sudden blows. The country through which you move until you strike the mountains will subsist your command and forage your animals, besides giving a large surplus of breadstuffs. Your object should be to drive Burnside out of East Tennessee first, or better, to capture or destroy him.
    Major General Samuel Jones will be urged to press on him from Northeast Tennessee. You will please keep open the telegraphic communication with us here and see to the repair and regular use of railroad to Loudon. The latter is of the first importance, as it may become necessary in an emergency to recall you temporarily. I hope to hear from you fully and frequently, general, and sincerely wish you the same success which has ever marked your brilliant career.
     I am, general, very respectfully and truly, yours,


HEADQUARTERS, November 4, 1863.
General B. BRAGG,
    GENERAL: Your favor of this date is received. I was under the impression that Stevenson's division at least was to act in co-operation with McLaws' and Hood's in the expedition under contemplation. As your letter does not mention the forces, I am left in some doubt whether Stevenson's division will form a part of the command. May I ask of you the favor to have a statement of such information as you may have relative to the positions, conditions, strength of the enemy's forces, as well as his means of getting supplies, &c. I would also like to be advised of any fortified positions that may be in East Tennessee, and the nature of such fortifications.
    I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 31, Part 3, Page 634-635.

An inauspicious start to Longstreet's campaign to remove Burnside from East Tennessee.  Davis and Bragg were putting the main body of Bragg's army at considerable risk by sending Longstreet east.  At least some of the consideration was the considerable dissension in the officer corp against Bragg, lead at least in part by Longstreet.  The key to Longstreet's campaign would be swift movement to strike Burnside.  Quibbles about the size of the force involved indicate some lack of recognition that the blow must be struck not just well, but quickly.

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