EAST TENNESSEE CAMPAIGN (Continued)--BATTLE OF BLUE SPRINGS.
"Their warning blast the bugles blew,
The pipe's shrill port aroused each clan;
In haste, the deadly strife to view,
The trooping warriors eager ran.''
GENERAL BURNSIDE, fresh from the Army of the Potomac, which he had commanded at the great battle of Fredericksburg, took possession of Knoxville early in the autumn of 1863.
By command of Major-General Ransom, General Cerro Gordo Williams had made a forced march toward Knoxville, until he arrived at Blue Springs, in Greene County, Tenn., about seven and one-half miles from Greenville, and seven or eight miles from Bulls Gap. Here we halted and sat down, apparently waiting, Micawber-like, for something to turn up. This was bad strategy, as the sequel proved. In the course of a week the Federals "turned up," not only in our front, but also behind us. The interim had been quiet and peaceful, the monotony only being broken by a predatory band of the enemy, who captured a part of our wagon train. This episode, in connection with the unnatural calm, was ominous. We could only surmise; we did not know the fact that we were in an exceedingly dangerous predicament--liable to be crushed between the upper and nether millstones, as it were. Occupying a ridge stretching across the valley from either side of the road, in the center, our position, however, was naturally a strong one. The lower lands in our immediate front consisted of open fields and dense woodland.
Burnside was in command of the Ninth Army Corps, and had probably twenty thousand men in and about Knoxville. Opposed to these, General John S. Williams, whom we generally called "Old Cerro Gordo," had, at Blue Springs, only