By concentrating the infantry on the railroad, they could be moved rapidly, east or west, to such quarter as the enemy's movements might determine to be necessary. With proper amount of transportation, the whole force could be thrown in a short time to such point as might be the object of attack, and all possibility of the enemy reaching the road without fighting a battle with our entire force prevented. With the infantry stationed at the gaps, we are still compelled to have strong bodies of cavalry watching the front as far as Loudon. If the infantry is collected on the railroad, and al the cavalry in the department that can be spared be kept north of the Cumberland, no invading force could be organized in Kentucky without our knowledge of its extent-its probable state of completeness; and we could, while harassing its advance, ascertain the true line of attack as nearly as possible. We could put in practice the tactics so ably enforced in General Pegram's letter-delay-and perhaps cause the entire abandonment of the enterprise. Particularly might this occur should our cavalry succeed in cutting off the trains of the enemy. Time would be afforded to draw re-enforcements from other quarters of the Confederacy.
I also desire to present to the general that with such dispositions of our forces as I have taken the liberty to suggest, as having heretofore occurred to my mind, the large body of troops we have heretofore maintained in East Tennessee might, with the aid of adequate railroad transportation, be considered part of an army operating in Middle Tennessee. In forty-eight hours our force here might, by the use of expedition and with cars sufficient at our command, be thrown into the lines at Tullahoma. This would be a safe move if we had, by means of our cavalry force, a security against raids and a guarantee that no advance in large force could be made before the troops could be returned. It seemed to me that we could always rely on having a margin of three weeks from any given day when, by our last advices from Kentucky, no expedition was being fitted out and organized.
Again renewing my reluctance in presenting to the general any remarks of a military character, and trusting that I may not seem presumptuous, or ambitious of attracting notice, I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. G. M. DAVIS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding, &c.
HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE, April 10, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
It has been said that "hospitals are the leaks of armies," and our experience justifies the truth of the remark. In this army, ever since its organization, efforts have been made to devise a remedy for this evil, and we believe we have accomplished it as far as in the nature of things it is practicable. Our system has been in operation for several months, and works admirably. Before its introduction the wastage was enormous. It is not as perfect as we think it could be made, but it is a very great improvement on the old condition of things. It is as follows:
Each corps has its own hospitals, which are devoted exclusively to the use of its own sick. Take the hospitals assigned to my own corps,