moving on him at Shelbyville, or pursuing to Chattanooga, should he fall back on our advance.
In conclusion, I will give as my opinion that an additional force of 6,000 cavalry to our present strength would very materially change the state of affairs here, and give us a most decided advantage.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS,
Camp, Murfreesborough, June 9, 1863 - 1 a. m.
Lieutenant Colonel C. GODDARD,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Cumberland:
COLONEL: I have this moment received your communication of June 8, 10.30 p. m., and have the honor to submit the following answer to your questions:
1st. From information received from all quarters - refugees, returned prisoners, intercepted letters, Southern papers, &c.- the rebels have been industriously and successfully filling the ranks of their army in our front, by a most rigid conscription, ever since the battle of Stone's River. I believe, in consequence, that he has been able to send strong re-enforcements to Johnston at Vicksburg, and leave in our front an army nearly, if not quite, equal in numbers to our own. The nature of the country he occupies is such that it can be defended against far superior forces; consequently we may have a reasonable chance of fighting a great battle, if such is our wish; but the enemy will not accept any offer of battle on our part without a certainly of success on his part. He could fall back across the Tennessee, where we could not follow for want of supplies.
2nd. I think the enemy must have already sent against General Grant all the forces that could be spared from our front.
3rd. If the same diligence had been used in filling our ranks by drafting as has been done by the rebels, the Army of the Cumberland would now be able to sweep the country to the Gulf of Mexico; but with our present force, to be weakened in proportion as we advance from our base of supplies, I could not deem an advance advisable. But you may rest assured the Army of the Cumberland will cheerfully follow wherever the general commanding may lead.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
H. P. VAN CLEVE,
Brigadier General, Commanding Third Division, Twenty-first Army Corps.
FRANKLIN, June 9, 1863.
Chief of Staff:
Colonel Watkins says Colonel Williams is a first cousin of General Robert E. Lee, and he says so. He has been chief of artillery on Bragg's staff.
We are consulting. Must I hang him? If you can direct me to send him to hand somewhere else, I would like it; but, if not, or I do not