Thursday, December 5, 2013

November 10, 1863

November 10, 1863

---East Tennessee Campaign: Longstreet’s men, or some of them, have arrived by rail at Sweetwater, which is still over 50 miles short of Knoxville, where Gen. Burnside waits with 20,000 Federal troops from his IX Corps.  Longstreet has 12,000 men with him, and nearby are Cheatham’s and Stevenson’s divisions combined for another 11,000, which would give him a slight edge over Burnside, but Bragg (who continues to bicker with Longstreet in dispatches) wants Longstreet to send back Stevenson, thus reducing the Confederate force approaching Knoxville to less than the Union force they were supposed to drive out of strong fortifications.  Longstreet later writes about the almost total lack resources for collecting sufficient rations, “hardly enough land transportation for ordinary camp equipage, the enemy in front to be captured, and our friends in the rear putting in their paper bullets”---a clear swipe at Bragg, whom Longstreet saw as obstructing Longstreet in the very mission Bragg had given him.  Nevertheless, “Old Pete” decides to forge ahead and move his base of operations closer, farther north, at Loudon, where the railroad crossed the Tennessee river, due southwest of Knoxville.  He sets his men to building bridges across the Tennessee River.

Lt. Gen. James "Pete" Longstreet

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