the enemy, particularly if my force exceeds his, as you say. If I am to attempt to overtake the enemy, with a view to destroy him, I must of necessity leave the line of railroad, and to leave it, I must of necessity break the railroad communication with Chattanooga. And if I follow the railroad after crossing the Little Tennessee River I must either break the communication or wait to rebuild the bridge, and thus, of course, must give the enemy abundance of time to escape or fortify. I hope that you will perceive my embarrassment and relieve it, either by ordering me to build and guard the railroad, or authorize me to use my discretion in the emergency. I think that you greatly over-estimate the enemy's force at and around Chattanooga. I have seen the force every day for the time it has been here and cannot think it exceeds your force without Stevenson's division, and the greater part of it has been badly beaten in battle not long since; whereas the force that I am to undertake is somewhat fresher from battle. If my force were strong enough to enable me to operate rapidly, the danger to the army at this point would be reduced in proportion to the rapidity and effectiveness of my movements. If I am feeble my movements must be slow and cautious. This would give the enemy warning and time to strike at you. If I can move rapidly and with force, I can make myself felt so decidedly and so suddenly that, instead of his striking here, he will, as soon as he feels me, be obliged to begin to look out for his rear, and thus you will be enabled to move on his flank or re-enforce in East Tennessee, with a view to threaten his communications, so as to throw him far back from his present position. I hope that I may have been able to make my views understood. I am in the rain and mud, and find it a little difficult to write.
I remain, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS, November 5, 1863.
Colonel G. W. BRENT,
COLONEL: Will you do me the favor to order all soldiers of my command who may be coming upon the railroad from Dalton via the East Tennessee railroad, and articles that may be on the road for the command by the same route? Please ask the chief quartermaster to furnish transportation as early as possible for the artillery of Alexander's and Leyden's battalions. Alexander's guns, &c., are here now waiting transportation for fifty carriages. Major Leyden's will be here to-morrow with about thirty carriages for transportation. The horses and wagons leave to-morrow and next day by the dirt road to meet the guns, &c., at Sweet Water. I presume that General Hardee has made arrangements to supply artillery and troops to occupy the portion of the line recently held by my troops and artillery.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,