War of the Rebellion: Serial 058 Page 0814 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

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points in Sherman's department west of the Mississippi at which he might leave forces. These demonstrations, together with the garrison at Mobile, thought to be adequate to take care of itself, and detachments of cavalry along the Mississippi River front, would be all that would be required to protect my department pending the campaign. It is not doubted that General Grant will recall Sherman's army, which must constitute a large part of the force with which he must operate from Chattanooga. It is his old and tired army, and he would and must have it with him if he proposed a heavy movement. My plan would be to throw myself across the Tennessee River by the use of pontoon trains, which I can easily get up, and assail his flank and rear. If at the same time General Longstreet were ordered with the forces under General Breckinridge to constitute a column and throw himself across hte mountains on his left flank, with Morgan's cavalry to aid him, and with as many of Johnston's as he could spare, I should feel wait confident of being able to break up Grant's expedition effectually, if not shatter his army. Should we be successful we might take the offensive and invade his territory. I shall be pleased to hear from you on this subject, and am, Mr. President,

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

HEADQUARTERS, Demopolis, February 29, 1864

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, Richmond:

The existing organizations of the War Department for collecting and accumulating subsistence and quartermaster stores in this military department are working inefficiently for the objects proposed, and operate so as to hamper exceedingly the freedom of hte military dispositions and movements of the commander of the department. The objects proposed are good,g ut the modes of effecting them are faulty. They were instituted, so far as I know, at the instance of the chiefs of hte subsistence and Quartermaster's Departments, with the lights before them, but without consultation with the lights before them, but without consultation with the commanders in the field. The experience of General Bragg in the Army of tennessee during my service in that army, as well as that of General Johnston while in command of this department, I know to be that of my own, and there is a concurrent judgment as to the in expediency of the present arrangement. I desire, therefore, respectfully to urge a change. The change i would suggest will relieve the department commander from the vexations of the present system and his military operations form the dangers to which it exposes them, while it would accomplish more effectually all the objects sought for by the Subsistence and Quartermaster's Departments.

The object of the War Department, as I understood by these arrangements, is to accumulate not only the stores required for the army in this department, but all surplus stores existing within its borders; so much as may be needed for hte army to be issued form the depots on requisitions of the general commanding, the rest to be held subject to the order of the War Department for hte service of other armies in distant fields. To effect this chiefs of the