It was the impression of Lieutenant Burgess that the Federals were not falling back.
I have the honor to remain, yours, truly,
M. H. ROYSTON,
HEADQUARTERS HARDEE'S CORPS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Tullahoma, Tenn., March 23, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
SIR: In reply to a letter from the War Department, March 16, 1863, requesting information as to the number of guns and number of grade of artillery field officers in my command, in connection with an application for the appointment of Second Lieutenant L. Hoxton as major of artillery, I have the honor to report that there are thirty-four pieces of field artillery, and no field officers of artillery in this corps. Each division of my corps has an officer of artillery, acting as its chief, one of whom has been recommended for a majority; the other is a captain, acting temporarily until the vacancy (occasioned by the assignment of the former chief to duty elsewhere) is filled.
Respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
W. J. HARDEE,
MARCH 24, 1863.
Memorandum made by Colonel W. Preston Johnston of his conversation with General J. E. Johnston at Tullahoma.*
General Johnston informs me that if the enemy attacks him in his present position, and moves by the Murfreesborough and Shelbyville turnpike and by the railroad, that they will have to move with a very extended column, and will be exposed to serious injury from our cavalry on their flanks. If they move by the Murfreesborough and Manchester road also (Manchester and Shelbyville being 20 miles apart), they expose themselves to be attacked in detail. He thinks it possible that the enemy will make a movement in sufficient force in the direction of Columbia, from which section we draw our main supplies for the commissary department, to compel us to fall back there. He does not think the enemy will or can advantageously mass a force sufficient in that quarter or south of it, toward the Tennessee, to approach from that region as a base. He thinks the most probable plan of the enemy, from all indications at present, is to attempt to go to Chattanooga by the road from Murfreesborough, through Manchester or through McMinnville. If he makes this move, and our forces fall back from Manchester to Tullahoma, he exposes his flank, and could gain nothing by it. With the annoyance of our cavalry, he would not march more than 5 miles a day, and if he attained our rear without defeat from a flank attack, we could afford to exchange bases. In regard to subsistence, he sees no way to subsist this army except by supplies brought out by cavalry expeditions from Kentucky. He says [R. S.] Cluke was sent in for that purpose, but seems to have forgotten it. Pegram has also gone in, and General Johnston thinks they ought to drive out 10,000 head at least. He does not think it necessary to strengthen the fortifications on this line. They are slight.
*In the handwriting of Colonel W. P. Johnston, and found among the "Davis papers."