reaped from the proper use of cavalry on the enemy's lines of communication, his supply trains, and foraging parties, render an increase of our mounted force more than ever desirable. It is also essential to enable us to command the forage and subsistence which the country to show any disposition to supply us, we must be able to give them reasonable assurance of protection against the rebel cavalry and guerrillas. Had we been able to do this, it would have changed entirely the military and political expect of Tennessee, and the rebels could have been driven from it last autumn without a battle.
General Rousseau, with the approval of General Thomas, suggests that, out of the large number of disciplined troops recently mustered out of the service in the East, it would be easy to raise 10,000 men for mounted service. Deeming the attainment of such a result of the highest moment, and believing that, if the plan should be approved, General Rousseau would be able to render more efficient service in carrying it out than any other possible way, I ordered him to Washington to lay the matter before you and the War Department for such action as may be deemed best.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. S. ROSECRANS,
DECHERD, July 26, 1863.
Major F. S. BOND, Aide-de-Camp:
Is the general aware that it will be necessary to have cars and engines expressly for the Tracy City Railroad, or that the road cannot be operated with ordinary engines and cars? It will be necessary to haul all supplies for troops to Tracy City, there being nothing there.
I would be geld to know as soon as convenient what position my troops are to occupy. At present we are very unsettled. If possible, I would like to have at least a battalion of pioneers report for duty whit my corps. They are very much needed for repairing roads and building bridges.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
DECHERD, TENN., July 26, 1863.
Major. General W. S. ROSECRANS:
Statement of John Hood:
I left Kingston, East Tenn., July 15. Cumberland Gap guarded by three regiments. Bird Creek guarded by two regiments. Pegram and force withdrawn from Kentucky to Sweetwater Valley; headquarters at Sweetwater, about 16 miles south of Loudon; commands cavalry in East Tennessee, say about 3,000. buckner still at Knoxville; commands the entire force in East Tennessee, from 12,000 to 15,000 men. Bragg's force at Chattanooga consists of Hardee's corps. Rebel citizens report this was all the force he brought with him to Chattanooga. They say from 12,000 to 15,000 deserted during his retreat, much demoralized. Citizens despondent; have given up all hope of gaining their independence, &c. General Bragg's headquarters at Ringgold, Ga.; three regiments at Loudon Bridge, and one at Lenior's Station, East Tennessee; at Knoxville, six regiments. Some troops about Kingston, repairing the bridges; could not learn their number or position; crops in god condition. Governor Harris' proclamation calling out 6,000 between forty and fifty-five years; many running for Federal lines.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.