KNOXVILLE, January 23, 1864.
Major General U. S. GRANT:
We have secured the whole drove of 4,800 hogs which was threatened with capture. The rebels have ceased to press vigorously. I have no idea that they intend to undertake a siege. It is absolutely necessary that the army have rest. I have therefore ordered the whole to go into quarters, and shall post the different corps so as to hold this place, the line of railroad to Loudon, Loudon itself, [and] the line of river to Kingston. I shall also hold Maryville and surrounding country, and the country south of the French Broad as far up as the cavalry can hold.
The country north of us cannot be held for want of forage. I have out posts at Clinton and Wheeler's Gap. All the trains will now come by the way of Kingston. I shall push the building of the bridge at this place and Loudon. We are quite secure, I think, in all our arrangements. We have 900,000 rations of meat, of which 400,000 are slated; ten days' rations of coffee and sugar, but none of bread.
I shall send all the animals to the rear for forage.
J. G. FORSTER,
Official Records, Series I., Vol, 32 Part 2, Pages 183-184.
Knoxville was still under threat but Forster had enough troops and there enough from other commands within supporting distance that the threat was not overwhelming. Longstreet believed he could still take Knoxville provided he could get across Forster's line of supply. But that would require retaining cavalry needed by Johnston, and moving his command on bad roads in winter conditions.