HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Murfreesborough, Tenn., June 9, 1863 - 12.30 a. m.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following reply to the inquiries of the general commanding, received 12.05 a. m.:
1. There has not been more than divisions of infantry sent from Bragg's army to Mississippi. That the condition of Bragg's army is better, and more advantageously posted, than during the battle of Stone's River.
2. By a concentration of all the available force in this department, reducing the garrisons of Clarksville, Nashville, Franklin, and La Vergne to the smallest number advisable, disregarding the railroad lines for the time being, massing our entire force, and marching promptly upon the weakest point of the enemy's line, a decisive battle may be fought. While this army meditates an advance or makes any strong demonstrations, there is no probability of a further withdrawal of re-enforcements for Johnston.
3. The propriety of an immediate advance is questional, unless with all our available force, and with the full and active co-operation of the force General Burnside has at command. There is no apparent advantage to be gained by simply driving Bragg from our front, extending and weakening our own line. The success of General Burnside's projected movement depends almost entirely upon our holding Bragg's army north of the Tennessee River.
I have the honor to remain, yours, very truly,
JAS. S. NEGLEY,
HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS,
Camp on Cripple Creek, June 9, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel C. GODDARD,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Cumberland:
COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, at 12 m. last night, of the confidential note propounding to me the following questions, viz:
1. From the fullest information in your possession, do you think 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 with strong reasonable chances of fighting a great and successful battle?
2. 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?
3. Do you think an immediate or nearly advance of our army advisable?
I must be allowed to state at the outset that my information of the present strength, position, probable purposes,a nd late movements of the enemy in our front is very incomplete and unsatisfactory. It is conflicted to facts gleaned from my intercourse with the people in the vicinity of this place, Readyville, Woodsbury, Bradyville, &c., the reports of citizen scouts, whose excursion are limited to very short distances in the supposed direction of the enemy, and from conversations with prisoners taken by my own command, travelers, refugees, and deserters who have escaped to our lines, and such other sources of information as are open to every other officer of the army. My opinions, formed from these scanty materials, can, I am aware, have very little value, but I very cheerfully proceed to express them.