is just coming up-nearly a I being this side of the river. Composed mostly of new troops, it has suffered much more from sickness than the others, so that he brings only about 11,000 infantry, instead of 15,000, as he expected. Our whole effective force of infantry and artillery will, therefore, be about 40,000, with 5,000 cavalry (or, rather, mounted gunmen) in the three regular brigades; 5,00 more I send, under Forrest and Morgan, on partisan service, for which, and which alone, their commanders are peculiarly and specially suited.
My present dispositions are: Morgan to operate with his cavalry brigade north of the Cumberland, on the enemy's lines of communication, which, I am confident, will prevent the enemy from using the Louisville Railroad, which is not yet it running order, and their wagon trains will be in constant danger. Forrest, with his cavalry brigade, is to work south the Cumberland and west of Nashville. With a fine battery of rifle guns, he will destroy their transports on both rivers. He is instructed now to seek a crossing, which he is confident of finding; throw his command rapidly over the Tennessee River, and precipitate it upon the enemy's lines, break up railroads, burn bridges, destroy depots, capture hospitals and guards, and harass him generally. Thus we may create a diversion in favor of Pemberton, and, if successful, force the enemy to retire from Mississippi.
My infantry and artillery is concentrating in three corps at Murfreesborough, and on the turnpikes leading thereto, on the right and left, within supporting distance, and ready for any move. The three regular cavalry brigades are in front of the advanced infantry, and always in sight of the enemy, giving the daily information. He is thus kept from foraging this side of the Cumberland. From the best information we get, the enemy numbers not less than 60,000 in and about Nashville. This we are prepared to meet at any time, and are confident of beating in the open field, and we shall spare no effort to draw him out. But it is a serious matter to assail such a force behind strong intrenchments, garnished with the heaviest artillery, with one much inferior in numbers. My troops, however, are ready for any work assigned them, and will move to this, if I require it, with alacrity and confidence.
I shall go forward to-morrow with General Polk,who has just arrived, and remain with the front, as the slightest change with either party may precipitate an engagement at any moment. A rise in the rivers, of which there is yet no indication, might render necessary a modification of my plans and a change in my dispositions.
We are securing a rich harvest of supplies. Subsistence is abundant, not only for us, but a surplus may be had. Forage is abundant. Some horses and mules are to be had, and material for clothing and tents, and leather are also found in considerable quantities. It should be borne in mind, however, that we are now gleaning the country,and many of these articles, especially salt meat, will not be reproduced during the war.
We have not been enabled, with the limited means of transportation at our disposal, to move the stores as rapidly as obtained; but hope soon to supply the want, and make up lost time. All are safe, however, unless the enemy defeats us in a battle. On this subject it may not be improper for me to remark, that economy and efficiency would, in my judgment, be consulted if the agents of the subsistence department were to operate in concert with my own. By the present independent arrangement, competition and collision will occur, in spite of all I can do, for it is human. The Government may rest assured that whatever is subject to my control will be divided; to the last pound, in promotion of the whole cause.