men are, however, cheerful and have not as yet suffered materially in health, though my medical officers report that the very scant clothing had by the troops up to a week ago, and the exposure and low diet, lead them to expect serious results to exhibit themselves in the next few weeks. The command has been so little together and the opportunities for drill and discipline so few, that the condition of the corps could be much improved in this respect, though the material is as good as need be.
Second. We have found that the country within our reach will not supply forage for our animals and breadstuffs for our men. Our artillery horses and wagon mules are greatly reduced; many have died of starvation in spite of the most vigorous efforts to forage for them, and they are now absolutely unable to move the artillery and trains. There has been corn and wheat enough in the country to feed the men alone, but for men and animals together it cannot be had.
Third. The considerations mentioned above, together with the fact that in our marches of the past week we have found the roads almost impassable for anything on wheels, have brought me to the conclusion that economy of life, animals, property, and (taking the next six months together) of time also, requires that the troops should go into permanent quarters for a time,when animals can in the main be dispensed with, and the command have a short season of rest, instruction, and reorganization, whilst they could at the same time cover their principal line of communication.
This view is, of course, based upon the hypothesis that there is no imperative necessity for an active campaign to preserve our hold of East Tennessee during the reminder of the winter, for i take pleasure in assuring the commanding general that I believe every officer and man of this corps will most cheerfully undergo every hardship, and endure patiently every privation which a real military necessity may impose.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. COX,
HUNTSVILLE, January 22,1 864.
Brigadier General W. D. WHIPPLE,
Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff:
I have information from General Morgan L. Smith, at Larkinsville, that Roddey proposes to cross the river above Decatur.
If any expedition is sent to the river at any point, and Roddey should cross at some other point far distant, he could get in our rear and do much damage before we could reach him. It would be difficult for the expedition to cross the river and attack him there, for the want of boats.
My scouts report that he has the river guarded from Whitesburg to Corinth, and report him to have 1,200 men.
Have you heard from General Smith yet? The portion of this division with General Smith is very necessary in fitting out an expedition, as there are only three regiments here belonging to the division, who are guarding and taking care of a good deal of convalescent stock.
12 R R-VOL XXXII, PT II