CHATTANOOGA, TENN., January 30, 1864. (Received 3 a. m., 31st.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
The report regarding Corinth was received from prisoners by Colonel Miller. I do not consider it reliable. Brigadier-General Gillmer reports having sent parties out from the line of the Northwestern Railroad as soon as he learned of the rebels crossing the Tennessee River, and having returned with Lieutenant-Colonel Brewer, 2 captains, 3 lieutenants, and 20 men as prisoners. Work on the road is progressing favorably.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Chattanooga, Tenn., January 30, 1864.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Mil. Division of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tenn.:
GENERAL; As I have seen you since the receipt of your letter of the 29th instant, I deem it of but little consequence to make any reply to that portion referring to the movements of this army and the Army of the Tennessee this spring, as I fully concur with you in the view you take of the best moves for them to make.
In reply to the latter portion of your letter, I would suggest the landing of the column at Smithfield and vicinity, marching from that point to Sussex Court-House, thence to Hicksford, on the Petersburg and Roanoke Railroad, and thence to Raleigh. By this route the column would experience but little difficulty in crossing the Nottoway, Meherrin, and Roanoke Rivers, and would also find large plantations, well supplied with forage and cattle. The roads are also good and well watered. By the lower route or the one you propose, the column would encounter great difficulties in crossing all three of the above-name steams, because they are bordered by extensive and boggy swamps. I will also suggest another route, which perhaps might be better for a smaller force than either of the other two (say 20,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry). I would land at Winton, on Chowan River, march thence to Northampton Court-House, and thence to Weldon. This is the shortest practicable route, and only presents one difficulty-that of crossing Roanoke River. There is still another route. Land at Washington, march thence to Raleigh, and from Raleigh to Weldon. The Roanoke is one of the finest streams in the country to cover the movements of an army.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
NASHVILLE, January 30, 1864.
Brigadier General G. M. DODGE,
Your dispatch, suggesting the organization of a mounted force sufficient to hunt down and drive the enemy's cavalry, now threatening our railroads in Middle Tennessee, to a point beyond any im-