the end. impatience and interference have thus far thwarted our best efforts.
6th. Let double or treble our cavalry, complete our organizations, fill up our ranks; and events will, I think, in a few days warrant us beyond a doubt or peradventure in knocking the bottom out of the rebellion.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS,
Murfreesborough, Tenn., June 9, 1863 - 12.10 a. m.
Lieutenant Colonel C. GODDARD,
SIR: Your "confidential" communication of the 8th is just received, and, as desire, I will answer the questions propounded at once.
In answer to Question 1, which is, "Whether the enemy in front of us has been so materially weakened by detachments to Johnston, or elsewhere, that this army could advance on him at this time strong reasonable chances of fighting a great and successful battle?" I unhesitatingly say Numbers
Since my return to this army, some eighteen days since, I have carefully collected and collated all the information I could in regard to the detachments the enemy was probably making to re-enforce Johnston in Mississippi. No information, even the most exaggerated, placed the force detached at a higher figure that seven brigades; some information gave five brigades as the force detached, other information indicated three brigades as the force detached, and some reports placed it as low as two brigades; and while all reports have gone to show that detachments have been made from the enemy in front of us, they, with almost equal certainty, have informed us that the troops detached have been placed by others. The conclusion I have arrived at is that the enemy in front of us has been weakened probably three brigades, certainly not to exceed four brigades.
Occupying a position in a country highly favorable to the purely defensive, or the offensive defensive, should we expose ourselves to such a movement, I do not consider the diminution of the enemy's force by three or four brigades has materially weakened his strength, and not, of course, materially strengthened our chances of fighting a great and successful battle. The country through which we should have to advance is very unfavorable for offensive operations. It is very rough, broken, and thickly wooded; the roads are narrow and bad; columns moving on such roads would of necessity be extended to great length. The country between the routes by which the different columns would advance is such that communication even would be difficult and rapid concentration impossible. This would expose our troops to be beaten in detail. An active and vigilant enemy would certainly take advantage of the opportunity.
The Question 2, which is," Do you think an advance of our army at present likely to prevent additional re-enforcements being sent against General Grant by the enemy in our front?" I answer Numbers
In the first place, I do not think the enemy has evinced much disposition to re-enforce Johnston in Mississippi from his army in Middle Tennessee. My opinion is that the re-enforcements have been drawn from