Ridge range of mountains running through the western part of North Carolina, and following the line of said mountains through the northern part of Georgia to the railroad south from Chattanooga; thence by that road to West Point, and down the west or right bank of the Chattahoochee River to the boundary of Alabama and Florida; following that boundary west to the Choctawhatchee River, and down that river to Choctawhatchee Bay (including the water of that bay) to the Gulf of Mexico.
All that portion of country west of said line to the Mississippi River is included in the above command.
General Johnston will, for the purpose of correspondence and reports, establish his headquarters at Chattanooga, or such other place as in his judgment will best secure facilities for ready communication with the troops within the limits of his command, and will repair in person to any part of said command whenever his presence may for the time be necessary or desirable.
* * * * * *
By command of the Secretary of War:
RICHMOND, VA., November 24, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
SIR: I had the honor this afternoon to receive Special Orders, Numbers 275, of this date.
If I have been correctly informed the forces which it places under my command are greatly inferior in number to those of the enemy opposed to them, while in the Trans-Mississippi Department our army is very much larger than that of the United States. Our two armies on this side of the Mississippi have the further disadvantage of being separated by the Tennessee River, and a Federal army (that of Major-General Grant) larger probably than either of them. Under such circumstances it seems to me that our best course would be to full upon Major-General Grant with the troops of Lieutenant-Generals Holmes and Pemberton, until for the purpose, those of General Bragg co-operating if practicable.
The defeat of Major-General Grant would enable us to hold the Mississippi and permit Lieutenant-General Holmes to move into Missouri. As our troops are now distributed Vicksburg is in danger.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
COLUMBUS, MISS., November 25, 1862. (Received November 26, 1862.)
Sixth cavalry, entire number effective, go immediately with wagons to join 50 on patrol duty at Cotton Port. All take post between Guntown and Abbeville. All Confederate infantry and 375 State Militia go by rail to-morrow, leaving 300 militia, 1 battery, and 80 heavy artillery entire force here.