Head Quarters, Mil. Div. of the Miss.
Nashville Ten. Jan.y 20th 1864
MAJ. GEN. H. W. HALLECK,
GENERAL IN CHIEF, OF THE ARMY,
From dispatches just received from General Foster the siege of Knoxville is about to be reniewed. It was a great oversight in the first place to have ever permitted Longstreet to come to a stop within the state of Tennessee after the siege was raised. My instructions were full and complete on this subject. Sherman was sent with force sufficient alone to defeat Longstreet, and notwithstanding the long distance his troops had marched proposed to go on and carry out my instructions in full. Gen. Burnside was sanguine that no stop would be made by the enemy in the Valley. Sherman then proposed to leave any amount of force Burnside thought might be necessary to make his position perfectly secure. He deemed two Divisions ample. These were left numbering about 11.000 men for duty, besides Elliotts Cavalry Division of about 3,000 present effective men. All this force is still with Foster. —I regretted from the start that Longstreet was permitted to come to a halt in the valley, but was in hopes the judgement of Gen. Burnside would prove correct. Gen. Wilson & Mr. Dana were both present at the interview between Gens. Sherman & Burnside on this subject and can give all the reasons assigned for the course pursued. —My official report will be accompanied by all the dispatches and orders given to Burnside & Sherman, but I write this now more particularly to show that the latter named officer is in no wise to blame for the existing state of affairs in East Tennessee. —I feel no alarm for the safety of East Tennessee, but the presence of Longstreet has been embarassing in forcing me to keep