War of the Rebellion: Serial 058 Page 0752 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

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from this point I ought to send enough to make sure of success. This would require above 24,000 men, infantry and artillery. Infantry and artillery alone would not secure success. Wagons would be required for movements of the army, as we could not expect the enemy to await our arrival and give us battle at the terminus of the railroad. The small force left here could little impede the enemy's advance on Atlanta, which might be expected as soon as the march toward Mississippi should be known. A month at least would be required to get the equipped troops at Demopolis. The enemy could therefore seize Atlanta before our return. It seems to me, therefore, that we cannot both hold this route to Georgia and effectually aid General Polk now. The enemy is so near us here that we cannot hope for other warning of his advance than the sight of his marching columns. I understand that you expect this line to be held, and only such assistance given to General Polk as might then be spared. Anxious to understand clearly and meet your views, I represent the case as it appears to me. The design of the enemy is still uncertain.

J. E. JOHNSTON.

DALTON, February 16, 1864.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT,

Richmond:

I have no further information from Mississippi. My dispatch of the 11th in answer to yours of that date stopped between mine and the telegraph office. It is as follows:

Your dispatch received. What is in the cipher cannot be read. We cannot meet the enemy before he reaches the Gulf, whether we march or go by rail. We cannot re-enforce General Polk to any purpose and at the same time hold this route to Atlanta. I will therefore wait for further instructions from you. If General Polk has assembled his cavalry it ought to prevent the enemy from marching to Mobile. I have asked information from General Polk.

J. E. JOHNSTON.

DALTON, February 16, 1864.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT,

Richmond:

The following just received from General Pillow, dated Demopolis, 16th:

General Polk's army is crossing Tombigbee 15 miles below. No information of enemy advancing this side of Meridian. Saved all stores and railroad stock everywhere. Forrest said to have repulsed a cavalry raid from Columbus.

J. E. JOHNSTON.

HEADQUARTERS,

Lewis' Ferry, February 16, 1864-11 p. m.

Major General S. D. LEE:

GENERAL: At the instance of the lieutenant-general commanding, I have the honor to inclose you herewith copies of two telegrams* just received from Major-General Forrest. The general desires that you will leave a regiment or small brigade between this point and

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*Not found as inclosures. Reference is probably to Forrest's dispatches of February 14, 2 p. m. and 8 p. m., Part I, pp. 348 and 349.

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