I inclose you two orders,* which are preliminary, but I am resolved when General Grant gives the word to attack Johnston in the manner I have heretofore described, if our men have to live on beef and salt; they will do it if necessary, we know.
As long as cavalry officers can let their horses run down and get a remount by a mere requisition they will bankrupt any Government Grierson had 7,000 horses when I made up the Meridian count, and Smith and he reported the capture of some 4,000 animals, and yet now the excuse for not attacking Forrest is that he can mount only 2,400 men. Even with that he should have attacked the enemy at Somerville, as it was then known Forrest was up about Paducah with a considerable force, and what was at Somerville was of course only a part and should have been fought at all odds.
At Memphis are Buckland's full brigade of splendid troops, 2,000. Three other white regiments, one of black artillery, in Fort Pickering, 1,200 strong, about 1,000 men floating, who are camped in the fort, near 4,000 black troops; 3,000 enrolled and armed militia, and all of Grierson's cavalry, 10,983, according to my last returns, of which surely not over 3,000 are on furlough. Out of this a splendid force of about 2,500 well-mounted cavalry and 4,000 infantry could have been made up, and by moving to Bolivar could have made Forrest come there to fight or get out.
I have sent Sturgis down to take command of that cavalry and whip Forrest, and, if necessary, to mount enough men to seize any and all the horses of Memphis, or wherever he may go.
The forces of Fort Pillow are not on my returns. I broke it up, and the garrison was composed of a regiment of Tennesseans enlisting, and four companies of blacks, of which I have no satisfactory report as yet, but have sent for full details. It does seem as though Forrest has our men down there in cow, but I will try new leaders, for I believe our men will fight if led.
I think everything hereabouts is working as well as I can promise, and if A. J. Smith is coming and McPherson's two furloughed division reach us I will be ready at the drop of a hat to cross the Tennessee and pitch in.
I sent for the Governor of Kentucky and he is well satisfied with all the steps taken, and undertakes by his militia and the troops now controlled by Burbridge to catch the wandering guerrillas and keep peace in his State.
But we are now independent of Kentucky, for there are here now all the essentials for an army of 80,000 men for six months. Railroad accidents are still happening, but as seldom as we could expect.
I am, &c.
W. T. SHERMAN,
CHATTANOOGA, April 19, 1864
There is no foundation for the report that Johnston is re-enforcing Lee. One of my most reliable men reports as follows: Dalton, April 12. - No change at Dalton. Resaca, April 15. - No change at Resaca or Dalton. Trains full soldiers going and coming on fur-
*The only order found is that of April 18 to commanding officer at Memphis, &c., p. 402. The other inclosure is Thomas to Sherman, April 13, p. 341.