General Thomas, now in command of the Army of the Cumberland, is losing no time in attemptingto improve his supply lines.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Chattanooga, October 24, 1863-2.30 p.m.
You will leave General Slocum, with one division of the Twelfth Corps, to guard the railroad from Murfreesborough to Bridgeport. The Eleventh Corps and one division of the Twelfth will be concentrated at or in the vicinity of Bridgeport, preparatory to crossing the Tennessee River, and moving up the south side to take possession of Rankin’s Ferry, between Shellmound and Running Water Creek. Look well to your right flank, which may be approached via Island Creek, the Moore road, McDaniel’s Gap road, and the Nickajack road. Two brigades, under General Palmer, leave here this p.m. for Rankin’s Ferry, which point they will probably reach on Monday evening. It is reported that the steam-boat at Bridgeport will be completed by Monday evening. The railroad may also be available. If you can do so, it is better not to move wagons to the south side of the river at present. You will, however, exercise your judgment on this point. Report by telegraph when you are ready. We will co-operate at Brown’s Ferry, as well as Rankin’s Ferry. Inform yourself with regard to the roads from Rankin’s Ferry,via. Whiteside’s, to Brown’s Ferry. The object of the movement is to hold the road and gain possession of the river as far as Brown’s Ferry.
By command of Major-General Thomas:
J. J. REYNOLDS,
Major-General, and Chief of Staff.