erals Johnston and Longstreet. Those arising from the scarcity of supplies I can realize. Those arising from the features of the country, the strength or position of the enemy, I cannot properly estimate. They should be examined and judged by the commanders who are to execute the movement. As far as I can judge, the contemplated expedition offers the fairest prospects of valuable results within the limits of the Confederacy, and its success would be attended with the greatest relief. I hope the obstacles to its execution, on being closely scanned, may not prove insurmountable, or may be removed by a modification of the plan. In the mean time provisions might be accumulated at some suitable point, and if drawn from the country south or west of that point they would always be convenient for the armies north of it. Other preparations might also be made, but if, after a full consideration of the subject by General Johnston, there should not be, in his opinion, reasonable grounds for expecting success I would not recommend its execution. He can better compare the difficulties existing to a forward movement with the disadvantages of remaining quiet, and decide between them.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS, Bristol, April 2, 1864.
General R. E. LEE, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Your favor of the 25th ultimo is just received. I very much retreat the failure to get the horse equipments, but am not certain that they would have been so useful to me as I had expected. It was my intention to use them by mounting some of my infantry to drive out beef-cattle from Kentucky. We have bee in such distress for want of forage for the last two weeks that our mules are hardly in condition for such a trip. I sent you by telegram yesterday that the Ninth Corps had left Knoxville via Cumberland Gap for the East. The Fourth, Seventh, Fourteenth, and Twenty-third Corps are now reported at Knoxville. The Fourth and Seventh I think are consolidated. I regret that I am in no condition now for any kind of operations. We are living on very short rations, particularly of forage.
If Grant goes to Virginia, I hope that you may be able to destroy him. I do not think that he is any better than Pope. They won their successes in the same field. If you will out general him you will surely destroy him. His chief strength is in his prestige.
I have recommended General Kershaw for General McLaws' division. If it meets your approval please send a recommendation for his promotion. He will be in Richmond in a few days to look after his interests. He is prompt, and gallant, and intelligent, and is the senior brigadier of the division and of the corps proper.
I fear that we shall not be able to set on foot any campaign in the West in time to make any interruption in the enemy's movements against Richmond, if he intends any; but I am of the opinion that a strong move here would break up his plans in the East if we could start it by the middle of April.
I remain, very respectfully and truly, your most obedient servant,
47 R R - VOL XXXII, PT III