November 14, 1863: Hold on, Burnside.

Ambrose E. Burnside

Halleck is worried Burnside will lose his nerve and retreat. As we’ve seen, Longstreet’s actually in no shape to attack, but the Union doesn’t know that. Grant asks Burnside to hold on for a week while Sherman brings up his troops.

Official Records:


WASHINGTON, November 14, 1863-2.20 p.m.
Major-General GRANT,
Chattanooga, Tennessee:

Advices received from East Tennessee indicate that Burnside intends to abandon the defense of Little Tennessee and fall back before Longstreet toward Cumberland Gap and the upper valley. I am pretty certain that no re-enforcements have been sent by Lee to the Virginia Valley, and that Jones has only a small force there. He cannot seriously threaten Burnside on that side. Longstreet is said to be near the Little Tennessee, with from 20,000 to 40,000 men. Burnside has about 30,000 in all, and can hold his position. He ought not to retreat. Cannot Thomas move on Longstreet’s rear and force him to fall back? A mere demonstration may have a good effect. I fear delay may result in Burnside abandonment of East Tennessee. This would be a terrible misfortune, and must be averted if possible.

H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief.
(Copy to Burnside.)

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CHATTANOOGA, November 14, 1863.
Maj. Gen. A. E. BURNSIDE,
Knoxville:

Can you hold the line from Knoxville to Clinton for seven days? If so, I think the whole Tennessee Valley can be secured from all present dangers.*

U. S. GRANT.

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