DALTON, January 27, 1864.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT,
I think that much discontent in the infantry would be produced by authorizing Lewis' brigade to mount themselves. We want infantry, and all our infantry wish to be cavalry. The troops from Texas, Arkansas, and West Tennessee are as eager to be mounted as the Kentuckians. Men professing to have authority are recruiting in Georgia and Alabama for Forrest and Morgan illegally. I beg that such authority may be revoked. They prevent recruiting infantry.
J. E. JOHNSTON.
RICHMOND, January 27, 1864.
Honorable J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to submit to you a project for a fresh invasion of Kentucky, for which I am anxious to obtain your approval, together with the assistance of the Government, to enable me to put in into execution.
I would (at the head of the remains of my old brigade, which, in case of your approval of my plan, must be ordered to report to me immediately at Abingdon or some other point in Western Virginia) cross the Cumberland Mountains at or near Pound Gap and proceed in a northerly direction through London and Richmond toward Lexington and Covington, tearing up and destroying the railroad and bridges between those places.
Whilst thus pursuing my northerly course I would sweep Eastern Kentucky of its cattle, handing them over to trusty employes of our commissary department, who would accompany me, that they might be driven with all possible dispatch within our lines. A large number of cattle might thus be collected, forming an important addition to the stock of provisions for our army at home. As the enemy would without a doubt turn all his attention to my movements, and as I should be advancing north whilst the plunder was being driven south, there is little fear but that these droves, under a sufficient guard to protect them from home guards and bushwhackers, would reach our lines in safety. There is another point of great importance to be gained by this projected inroad. The Yankee Government has now in Kentucky some 15,000 cavalry horses, sent to recruit their condition in the comfortable homesteads and on the rich grass of that country. These would be to us at the present moment an invaluable spoil and a loss to our enemy irreparable for some months at least. Those among them which may not be fit for service must be killed to prevent their being used against us hereafter, a precedent established by them during the last campaign and which we may now fairly employ against them.
It has of late been the constant theme of the Northern press that our cavalry raids are of less magnitude and not conducted with the same vigor as formerly. They assume from this that our means of aggression and our energies are decreasing in the same ratio. Give me, sir, only the assistance I now claim, and they will no longer vaunt themselves that the vigor of our cavalry is diminished, or that our determination to resist their invasion and to hurl it back upon