February 18, 1864.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: In a letter recently received from General Longstreet, he states that Pickett's division should be in readiness to join him, and that a brigade of Buckner's division now at Dalton should be sent to him at once. He says the force in his immediate front consists of the Fourth, Ninth, Eleventh, and Twenty-third Corps, besides a large body of cavalry under General Sturgis from Middle Tennessee. I see it stated in the papers that the railroad from Chattanooga to Knoxville is about being opened. This will give the enemy great facilities for concentration, and enable him to unite either on Johnston or Longstreet. The Fourth and Eleventh Corps have always been small, and I think now form one. The Twenty-third is also small. The Ninth is Burnside's old corps. General Longstreet does not state the numerical strength of the enemy, nor do I know it, but I think it important that Pickett's division should be liberated from its present duties by the spring, and its place supplied by troops from Charleston, where active operations will then probably cease. If it is determined to send Pickett to General Longstreet, his transportation, with Dearing's battalion of artillery, should be sent in time to reach Abingdon by the time Pickett would leave his present position by railroad.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
DEMOPOLIS, February 18, 1864-11.45 p. m.
Your dispatch of 2.20 just received. Major Holt was this morning ordered to send Major Quaite, quartermaster, who was at the landing opposite, direct to your headquarters, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, where you desired him; also Major Dyer to the same point. I sent Holt after Clarke with a lot of fresh mules, with instructions to hurry him forward to the same point. Owens' battery has been sent by Bursley to Gainesville, where are 50 strong horses for his battery. Provision is also made for supplying the balance. Will send you the ammunition you want soon as possible. Enemy reported to have gone as low as Quitman; burnt corn, cotton, and mills and bridge, and returned in direction of Enterprise.
WEST POINT, February 18, 1864.
Telegram from General Lee, Marion, February 17. General Polk retreating to Demopolis. Lee in command of all cavalry, including Forrest. Forrest to co-operate. Impress everything in shape of horses. I send couriers.