1st. From the fullest information in my possession, derived from my own scouts and from information communicated to me by officers, derived from sources on which they relied, I have no reason to believe that the enemy's forces in our front have been materially weakened by re-enforcements sent against General Grant. the quarrel between Bragg and Breckinridge has led to the departure of Breckinridge himself, and probably the Kentucky troops under his command, but I cannot learn that any of the other troops of Breckinridge's division have gone. On the contrary, my scouts say positively that the Tennesseeans did not go, and that Cleburne was sent with his division to Beech Grove, to take the place of the Kentuckians and to take command of the Tennesseeans who were left there. A citizen of Shelbyville, who came in on Saturday, says that it was generally understood among the citizens of that place that Withers' division, except one brigade, had gone to Vicksburg, but his statement of the position of the troops remaining behind and their numbers would lead to the conclusion that he was mistaken as to the division of Withers having gone south, particularly as he confirms what i have learned from other sources, that about the 25th of May a division was started for Vicksburg, and got as far as Fayetteville, but returned to Shelbyville. Two of my scouts speak of Withers' division being camped in front of Shelbyville, on the Eagleville and Shelbyville road. They saw and conversed with the troops, and assert positively that Withers was there on Saturday. My scouts report that they have heard that the cavalry which came with Van Dorn from Mississippi have returned, and officers of our army have informed me that their scouts have ascertained quite certainly that the information was correct.
With this information before me, I am convinced that an advance of this army would bring on a great battle, with at least equal numbers opposed to us, and, unless we could gain a very decided victory, we should find ourselves on an extend line of communications, which the enemy with his large cavalry force could constantly threaten and render insecure, if not destroy entirely. I think, if my estimate of the enemy's force be correct, by fighting him at Shelbyville now that we can only gain a victory at the sacrifice of much life and without having obtained any decided advantage.
2nd. An advance of our army at present would either bring on a great battle, if the enemy left strong enough, or that it was to his advantage to oppose us, or he would fall back, possibly to Chattanooga, keeping up a sufficient show of force to hold us in check, draw away from our base, attack and destroy our communications, or threaten them so strongly as to greatly weaken our main force, and then send re-enforcements of artillery and infantry to Johnston. I therefore think an advance at this time on our part would give him decidedly the advantage, and consequently is not advisable. By holding your army here ready to act at the first opportune moment, and operate upon and threaten his flanks, Bragg will hardly venture to send more re-enforcements to Johnston than have already gone. These, in all probability, would have been detached from his command under any circumstances, in consequence of the misunderstanding between him and Breckinridge.
In reply to the argument that might be advanced, that if we do not move forward, Bragg may get re-enforcements and attack us here, I will simply say that I should be most happy to meet him here with his re-enforcements. Although he doubtless is well acquainted with the ground near us, we know is also; moreover he would be weakening his force by an advance on us here to the same extent that we would by