TULLAHOMA, April 28, 1863
General S. COOPER:
General Forrest, at Courtland, near Decatur, reports enemy 10,000 strong in his front, with a heavy column threatening his left and pressing him back.
J. E. JOHNSTON.
TULLAHOMA, April 28, 1863
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:
SIR: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 17th instant. The difficulty of procuring subsistence stores in the country is increasing fast. Corn is still abundant 40 or 50 miles to the west, but its transportation requires much time. Meat is procured in small quantities beyond the enemy's flanks, but at great risk, over routes lying near his positions. This risk is becoming greater daily, the enemy's entrenchments and superior numbers enabling him to make detachments safely. The large Federal force now approaching Decatur will probably increase these advantages very soon.
It would be very difficult I think, to make purchases in Kentucky with cotton, on account of the long distance from our railroad to the Kentucky line. Where that exchange is permitted, it should be under such circumstances as to enable the Government to keep it out of the hands of individuals. That trade has subjugated our people where-ever the they have engaged in it.
Should this army be compelled to abandon Middle Tennessee, its position for the defense of East Tennessee will be extremely unfavorable, as its communications will be from the flanks instead of to the rear. Such a defense would be impossible against an enterprising enemy; hence the great importance of General Bragg's holding his present position, an hence my applying, more than once, for re-enforcements for him.
I have been informed that a considerable quantity of bacon may be procured for sugar. An officer has therefore been sent to attempt to make the exchanges.
In writing to the President on the 11th instant, being then, as now, unfit for service in the field, I suggested that if conference with General Bragg was still desired, a confidential officer should be sent to his headquarters for the purpose.
In the "rules in regard to paroles," published by Major-General Halleck, U. S. Army, it is stated that a paroled prisoner may serve against any enemies of the Government except his captors and their allies. If we adopt such a rule, our paroled prisoners may be usefully employed, as guards for depots, hospitals, bridges,&c. Will the Government authorize it?
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Tullahoma, April 28, 1863
Lieutenant General LEONIDAS POLK,
Commanding First Corps, Headquarters Shelbyville:
GENERAL: The commanding general directs you to post a brigade of your corps between Shelbyville and Columbia, south of Duck River.