account of it. The explanation afforded by the removal of your forces, and especially of the cavalry, which should have guarded the passes of the mountains and either resisted or given timely notice of just such attempts, against your wish, naturally accounts for the apparent remissness on your part.
The truth is, I suppose, that too much reliance has been felt by General Bragg, and later by General Johnston, on the expected interruption of movements in your department by the winter, and on the want of such enterprise heretofore by the enemy, and you have been stripped of adequate forces to sustain the more important operations in Middle Tennessee and Mississippi. We must find compensation for this reverse in the brilliant success that has been achieved in Middle Tennessee, and by the prospect of, perhaps, more decisive triumphs in both quarters. Meantime I hope the bold marauders will not have escaped scathless. General Samuel Jones was at once telegraphed to lend all aid with his and General Marshall's forces in chastising the enemy, and, limited as were your forces, the Department is not without the hope that your energy and skill have availed to make such as you could command effective in intercepting the enemy's retreat.
No time must be lost in restoring the communication. The bridges must be at once replaced, if need be, by the Department. I have ordered the Chief Engineer at once to send one of his most efficient officers to direct and press the work. He shall have full authority to impress, if necessary, labor, to make all requisite contracts, command supplies, and, in short, to replace the bridges at the earliest practicable time. You will aid him with your authority, and lend all assistance and facilities he may need. Make any preparation you deem judicious before his arrival.
With high consideration and esteem, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
CHATTANOOGA, January 4, 1863.
General S. COOPER, Richmond:
General Bragg has retreated from Murfreesborough, and was by last accounts at Shelbyville. No details. I believe there is no doubt of this.
BENJ. S. EWELL.
Richmond, Va., January 5, 1863.
Colonel B. S. Ewell:
Your dispatch of yesterday, in cipher, received. Have you any direct intelligence from General Bragg, and whence do you gain the information you have given?
CHATTANOOGA, January 5, 1863.
Retreated from Murfreesborough in perfect order. All the stores saved. About 4,000 Federal prisoners, 5,000 stand small-arms, and 24 cannon, brass and steel, have already been delivered here.
BENJ. S. EWELL,