War of the Rebellion: Serial 056 Page 0377 Chapter XLIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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meat, meal, and an open country, we are far better off than in that cursed gorge-Chattanooga. My troops are in elegant heart, ready for Atlanta or anywhere. Do all you can to keep your troops up to that standard. Howard will move to Charleston to-morrow, and will put his advance at Cleveland and will communicate with you. I expect to hear from Long in about three days, when I will make and send you specific orders. In the mean time finish your bridge, scout up the Ocoee and forward, grind all the meal you can, collect good hogs, sheep, and beeves, and generally take care of yourselves. I want all the geographical information possible for immediate and future use, especially of the river and country between Columbus, Cleveland,and Charleston.

Yours, truly,

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,

Chattanooga, Tennessee, December 11, 1863.

(Received 1.15 a.m., 12th.)

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

Major-General Palmer's resignation having been accepted, is there any objection to assign General Hooker to the command of the Fourteenth Army Corps? He will then have an appropriate command and I can assign troops to Generals Slocum and Howard, equalizing their corps with the others of this army.

GEO. H. THOMAS,

Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,

Chattanooga, Tennessee, December 11, 1863

Captain P. BABCOCK,, JR.,

Acting Chief Signal Officer, Army of the Cumberland:

CAPTAIN: Learning from you that, complaints have been made that the signal corps has not proved as serviceable as there was reason to hope it would, I cheerfully comply with your request to express my opinion of its usefulness. For some months after an assignment of officers of the corps was made to my headquarters not much was done, simply because there was no field for operations. During the pursuit of Bragg in Kentucky in the fall of 1862, several opportunities offered for testing the usefulness of the signal system, all of which not only clearly established its practicability, but its great usefulness.

The corps was reorganized at Nashville in the fall of 1862, and commenced operations with more system than at any previous time. During the battle of Stone's River the officers of the corps with me were very efficient in conveying messages by flag. After the battle and whilst the army was encamped near Murfreesborough an opportunity was offered for thoroughly testing the usefulness of the system, and resulted in the conclusion that a signal corps was one of the essential organizations of a well-appointed army.