RICHMOND, March 16, 1863.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON, Chattanooga, Tenn.:
Your suggestion for re-enforcements from Western Virginia led to inquiry. Reports show less force than was supposed. General Marshall proposes to go into Kentucky. Would that create a diversion serviceable to you? Can you so arrange the forces in the Department of East Tennessee, as lately defined, as to obtain any valuable aid? I realize the importance of prompt re-enforcements in Middle Tennessee, and wish you to look over your whole department, to see whether changes can be made which will increase the strength where most needed.
An attack cannot be simultaneous on every point. Pemberton asks for heavy guns, from which I hope he may, with that want supplied, be able to maintain himself. Here there is no surplus of force, but I will endeavor to send a few troops from this section.
CHATTANOOGA, TENN., March 18, 1863.
The PRESIDENT, Richmond, Va.:
The cavalry of East Tennessee ordered to Kentucky, not for diversion, but to observe the enemy, subsist, and drive out cattle. That department is too weak to do more than control the disloyal (about 7,000 [sic]). I suggested to General Donelson to form a strong reserve, with central position. While Bragg and Pemberton are both pressed, neither can aid the other; they are too distant. They may be attacked simultaneously; if not, we cannot tell which first.
J. E. JOHNSTON.
CHATTANOOGA, TENN., March 20, 1863.
Colonel B. S. EWELL,
Chief of Staff, Tullahoma, Tenn.:
COLONEL: I am informed that the President says that General Johnston has authority to order a court for my trial. Be that as it may, I shall no object to his ordering the court, but request that he may do so. Should General Johnston not desire to order a court, I request a court of inquiry, or any other mode of inquiry that will expedite action.
I may here state that I believe one day will be sufficient to investigate the matter.
J. P. McCOWN,
SHELBYVILLE, March 20, 1863.
General BRAGG, Tullahoma:
I send the following, received during the night:
General Martin says:
Last accounts from front show enemy's pickets 3 1/4 miles this side of Murfreesborough. I will drive them in the morning.
Colonel Roddey, at 7 p. m., says:
The following dispatch from my scout sent out to ascertain if enemy are moving from Murfreesborough. My scouts will report nothing but the truth.