should be exerted to get supplies and re-enforcements forward.
Troops will leave here at the rate of 2,000 or 3,000 a day for the front. Many of them go to Chattanooga.
U. S. GRANT,
CHATTANOOGA, February 27, 1864-10 p.m.
Your two dispatches of this date received. I have just returned from the front. My troops, after ceaseless labor under the greatest embarrassment for want of transportation, reached within 3 miles of Dalton, where they were received by the enemy, strongly posted, and in force fully equal to my own in infantry. His artillery and cavalry was not only in better condition as regards horses, but was at least two to our one in pieces and men. We found the country entirely stripped of everything like forage, and our mules being in such poor condition that double the number of teams we now have could not supply the troops, I thought it best to come back to Ringgold, and, if workmen can be found by Colonel McCallum, to go to work deliberately to repair the railroad and advance as it progresses. The present condition of the roads is not good, and one day's rain would render the part across Chickamauga bottom impassable for loaded wagons; so it would be absolutely necessary to repair the railroad to supply the troops at Ringgold. The fact of working on the road would hold Johnston at Dalton unless he intended to have under any circumstances. Howard's teams, and the depot teams at this place and Bridgeport, are in no better condition than those belonging to the divisions, all being composed of such mules as we have been able to keep up after a fashion during the winter. Johnston has no idea of leaving Dalton until compelled, and having a force greater than what I now have under my immediate command I cannot drive him from that place.
If Longstreet has retired, why can I not get Granger's two divisions and my First Cavalry Division back. The little cavalry I had on the expedition is completely worn down from constant work and for want of forage.
GEO. H. THOMAS.
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.
February 27, 1864-11 p.m.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
The number of rebel deserters in this department since January 1 is 1,866, as follows; At Chattanooga, 1,294; at Nashville, 518; at Tulllahoma, 54.
GEO. H. THOMAS,