In your letter of 8th August you admit your "misapprehension" of the order sending you to the Mississippi, and request me to consider whether it was" a serious military offense." My only purpose in this correspondence was to correct what (as I informed you in my letter of 15th July) I was at first disposed to have gladly overlooked as a mere inadvertence,and it was only when you continued the statement originally made after information from me that it was unfounded that I characterized your statement as a "grave error," not as you express it, "a serious military offense," I now cheerfully accept your admission of your "misapprehension," and hope it may have been unattended with any ill consequences,a s you assure me it " affected your military course in no way."
I do not deem it necessary now to make any answer to the remaining parts of your letter, which are principally directed to defending yourself from charges that I do not think are contained in the letter to which you were replying. I cited your numerous acts of authority in moving troops in your geographical district from one department to another, not for the purpose of impugning the propriety of the orders, but to show from your own action that you
had no reason to suppose your authority limited in the way suggested in your dispatches. I had no intention of intimating that your ordered troops to be withdrawn from Pemberton and sent to Tennessee after the U. S. army had crossed the Mississippi and attacked Bowen's command. No general could possibly have done so, and I do not see that my letter imputes such conduct to you. The orders for moving troops to Tennessee were referred to with the view of showing your opinion that Bragg was too weak to permit the withdrawal of forces from him, since you were withdrawing troops from Pemberton to reenforce him within the thirty days preceding your orders to assume command in person of Pemberton's forces.
These matters, however, are, as already observed, outside of the object for which I wrote the letter of 15th of July, and the mistake made by you, in attributing to me orders which I had not given, being now admitted, it is not necessary to dwell on these extraneous subjects.
Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
Morton, Miss., September 7, 1863.
General SAMUEL COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:
GENERAL; I have the honor to report, for the information of the department, that, in response to an urgent call of General Bragg, i yesterday sent two brigades of infantry, Gregg's and McNair's, for the defense of Atlanta.
Irrespective of the garrison at Mobile, but three brigades of infantry remain in the department, disposed as follows: Buford's at
Morton, Featherston's at Meridian, and Adams' at Enterprise, Miss.
I leave to-day for Vernon to inspect a part of the cavalry of Lee's command.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. J. HARDEE,