Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gen. Alfred E. Jackson reports to the Secretary of War what the condition upper Eastern Tennessee had become in September, 1863

Bristol, Tenn., September 3, 1863.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I have the honor to communicate to you, through Hon. Joseph B. Heiskell, member of Congress, the fact that the recent withdrawal of the forces from upper East Tennessee has thrown the loyal citizens of that section into a most deplorable state of consternati on and dismay, and that they are fleeing with their families and movable effects into every direction before large and numerous bands of marauding bushwhackers and tories, which are assembling all over the country, committing the most brutal murders and the most wanton destruction of property every day and every night.
It will be infinitely easier to hold this section of country now than to reoccupy it after having been entirely abandoned to the enemy. I have been ordered by Maj.-Gen. Buckner to report with my command to Gen. Williams, at Bristol. He and myself have just returned from a reconnaissance to the neighborhood of Jonesborough, Tenn., and concur in the opinion that 5,000 additional troops will be necessary to hold the country on the most advantageous line, which we think is that between Morristown and Cumberland Gap, and the railroad, public works, and stores between Knoxville and this point. Our joint force is wholly inadequate to this purpose or even for the protection of the salt-works against any large force.
Large raiding parties are continually crossing the Cumberland Mountains, burning bridges and destroying property, and a Federal force of cavalry now occupies Knoxville, part of which has advanced as far as Morristown, capturing the town with telegraph superintendent and telegraph operator, having thus cut me off from Gen. Buckner's comm and, from whom I have heretofore received support, and intercepted telegraphic communication with Gen. Frazerat Cumberland Gap. The section thus evacuated abounds in supplies of forage and subsistence and iron-works, all of which are indispensable to the good of the cause; to secure which I respectfully and earnestly solicit your earliest possible compliance with this application for the above-mentioned number of re- enforcements.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. JACKSON, Brig.-Gen., Comdg.
                                                                                                             OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. IV, p. 589.

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