and detached commands will be forwarded to these headquarters at their dates, or as soon thereafter as practicable.
By command of General Bragg:
GEORGE WM. BRENT,
TULLAHOMA, April 10, 1863.
On the 19th of March, immediately after reaching this place, I informed the Secretary of War, by telegraph, that General Bragg could not then be sent to Richmond, as he had ordered, on account of the critical condition of Mrs. Bragg. Being unwell then, I afterward became sick, and am not now able to serve in the field. General Bragg is therefore necessary here. If conference with him is still desirable, might not a confidential officer visit him, for the purpose, in Tullahoma?
On the 6th instant I gave General Cooper the information received from Louisville, Nashville, and Mississippi, indicating that Grant is about to move, either to repeat his attempt of last fall, or, which is more probable, join Rosecrans. Should all or a large part of his troops come into Middle Tennessee, this army will be forced to leave it. We cannot attack now, with probability of success; and should strong re-enforcements arrive, we could not hold our ground against the Federal army. In leaving this district, the question of subsistence will make it difficult to put this army into a good position. It must fall back either to Chattanooga or Northern Mississippi. The latter course would be very hazardous, because it is probable that the country cannot furnish food for the troops; otherwise I should greatly prefer it. Should the army fall back to Chattanooga, to defend East Tennessee, the cavalry must be separated from it to subsist. It is even doubtful if forage for a reasonable baggage train can be found in that district. This, of course, would render the defense of East Tennessee very difficult; its form-a mere line-would increase the difficulty very much. The loss of the cavalry would, besides, weaken the army very much. If the army were in Mississippi or West Tennessee, its cavalry could keep near it; it could also be easily re-enforced strongly, and would prevent the advance of any large Federal force into East Tennessee, or be able to recross the river; but Major-General Van Dorn, who has recently been in that country, says that it contains neither provisions nor forage for an army, and the enemy has still a strong force at Corinth. Our disadvantage in this warfare is, that the enemy can transfer an army from Mississippi to Nashville before we can learn that it is in motion, while an equal body of our troops could not make the same movement (the corresponding one, rather) in less than six weeks. The infantry of Major-General Stevenson's division, ordered from here to Jackson in December, was more than three weeks on the way; its wagons and horses more than a month. The railroads are now in worse condition than they were then.
A movement into Kentucky by Major-General Jones would, I think, be very advantageous now, by preventing invasion of East Tennessee. General Jones should command in person; his command to include Brigadier-General Marshall. Brigadier-General Donelson has been compelled to relinquish his command, as his surgeon recommended leave of absence for two months. I have suggested that Major-General Ewell be assigned to the Department of East Tennessee. There is no officer