WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., December 24, 1863.
General J. E. JOHNSTON, Dalton, Ga.:
General Beauregard apprehends that the enemy now collecting at Port Royal intend operating against Savannah. In such event he suggests whether, if operations at Dalton are closed for the season, Walker's division could not be temporarily returned to the coast.
Give your opinion.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Dalton, Ga., December 24, 1863.
Colonel JOSEPH C. IVES, Aide-de-Camp, Richmond:
COLONEL: I inclose herewith a field return of this army* for the inspection of the President, and take the occasion to furnish some information in regard to the condition of this army, which I think will be of interest to him.
The last return exhibits an infantry force greater than that engaged in the battle of Missionary Ridge. The increase of all arms, infantry and artillery only included, since that engagement is 7,726. This includes Baldwin's and Quarles' brigades, lately transferred to this department from Mississippi; but exclusive of their effective strength of 4,060, we have still a clear increase in less than twenty days of 3,666, which speaks cheeringly for the health, spirit, and condition of the army. The troops are in comfortable winter quarters, and the health of the men unprecedentedly good. A general and liberal system of furloughs has been adopted, which, it is believed, will be productive of much good.
Our losses in artillery and artillery horses have been replaced, old batteries have been refitted and new ones obtained, and the army is again provided with a sufficiency of serviceable field artillery.
The unarmed troops have for the most part been armed, and the men have been supplied with shoes, blankets, and clothing, in all of which articles there was until lately a great deficiency.
At one time, such was the lack of co-operation among the several railroads in this State, and such the obstruction in the transportation of army supplies in consequence, that serious apprehensions were entertained of our ability to subsist the men and animals. Brig. Gen. H. R. Jackson was sent to confer with the railroad officers throughout the State, and, if possible, secure the adoption of some system of co-operation. His efforts have already been productive of happy results, and we have reason to except that the transportation of munitions and supplies will in future be prompt and regular. In consequence of this change, the commissariat is greatly improved, the ration is now uniform and full, and the army is provisioned to the last of January. For the same reason full rations of forage are being issued to the animals, and for the first time the receipts are in excess of the consumption.
I feel great pleasure in turning over the command to General Johnston in the fine condition above exhibited.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. J. HARDEE,
*Reference is probably to statement for December 20, 1863, p.850