Although the performance of the railroads is greatly improved, especially that of the Western and Atlantic, we do not yet receive sufficient supplies of long forage to restore artillery horses to the condition they lost on Missionary Ridge.
The army is composed of two corps. It could not be maneuvered in battle without forming a third; I have, therefore, so recommended, and beg consideration of that recommendation. The army should be organized as nearly as practicable, as it is to fight. These troops are very healthy and in fine spirits.
This position is too much advanced. But for fear of effect upon the country I would fall back, so that we might not be exposed to be turned by the route leading through Rome.
The written effective total of cavalry is 5,442, but Major-General Wheeler reports that but 2,300 of those have efficient horses. It is necessary to keep about two-thirds of them below Rome, near the Coosa, on account of forage.
At the end of December the effective total was 36,826; at the end of December the total present and absent, 77,653; at the end of January the effective total was 36,111; at the end of January the total present and absent, 69,514, cavalry not included; at the end of December effective total of cavalry was 5,613; at the end of December total present and absent, 13,290; at the end of January effective total of cavalry was 5,442; at the end of January total present and absent, 12,152.
J. E. JOHNSTON,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Morristown, E. Tenn., February 8, 1864.
Major General W. T. MARTIN,
Yours of the 6th and 7th have been received. General Longstreet has forwarded to Richmond your letters speaking of the sufferings of your officers and the necessity of having your transportation, with an urgent appeal to the Department for the proper orders in the case. The difficulty about cloth for the officers cannot be overcome.
You will have to, as far as possible, make your quartermaster sell to the officers a share of the clothing they have for issue to the soldiers. Upon the case stated in your favor of the 6th instant the application for a court of inquiry should be made to these headquarters, with the nomination of a detail to compose it, when the court-martial would be ordered from here. It is fortunate you have procured the pure vaccine.
General Vaughn reports, through reliable scouts, that large numbers of the enemy are passing down the river from Knoxville and Loudon to Chattanooga on rafts and on two small steam-boats, which ply semi-weekly from Loudon to Chattanooga. He also reports the same suffering and dissatisfaction among the enemy you speak of. They rely principally for supplies on the steam-boats, which do not suffice. The lieutenant-general believes that but a small force of cavalry is in your front, and that if you push forward vigorously you can disperse both their cavalry and infantry. This he wishes you to do.