laugh. Resaca, April 18. - No change in Dalton. Wash. Johnson and command left here for Dalton at 10 this morning; 400 Florida troops took their places. A large number of wagons, loaded with crackers at Calhoun, have been waiting orders some few days.
Besides the above-mentioned man, I have by the way of others who visit Dalton at least once a week each. They all confirm what he says regarding the position of the enemy there.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
(Copy to Grant from Sherman, April 20.)
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., April 19, 1864
Commanding Department of the Cumberland, Chattanooga:
GENERAL: I have read with interest General Geary's report and your indorsements.* With all the facts before me, especially the complete details of the facts given by your scouts, I have no doubt that Johnston's main army is on the railroad at or near Dalton; that it is about 40,000 strong, well commanded and in good order, but it cannot move many days' march, except along the line of that road, front and rear; that he has a good force of cavalry, one part of which is kept to his right rear for food, and that another part, say 4,000 men, are on his left, over about the Blue Mountain Depot, for the same purpose, and to watch the assemblage of the Army of the Tennessee, which he knows threatens his left flank, and which two good bridges with which to pass the Tennessee at pleasure. This cavalry, with some infantry supports, are seen often at Larkin's and at Decatur, and some skirmishing has been carried on with them, but we want to mask our force by the Tennessee till the right time. Of course, then, McPherson can sweep them from his front as a cob-web.
At Blue Mountain Depot this cavalry gets corn, which is sent up from the line of the railroad and Selma, and this point is the present terminus of that railroad.
It is 10 miles south of Jacksonville, which is 22 miles east by south of Gadsden, which is full 45 miles from Guntersville, the nearest point of the Tennessee. I have no apprehension of a raid on our right, for the reason that the enemy cannot pass the Tennessee, save it isolated points, and then only in small parties; besides, the stream of troops soon to come up the Tennessee from Cairo, and across to Huntsville, from Savannah and Clifton, will serve to cover that flank. Still we must push our measures to accumulate a surplus of all essentials to the front, so that a temporary interruption will not cripple us or delay our general plans, which remain unchanged.
The only real move I see for Joe Johnston is to strike your line at his nearest point, about Cleveland or Ooltewah, but this he cannot reach without first fighting the Ringgold force. I advise you to group your commands so as to admit of easy and rapid concentration at such point as your judgment approves, and be careful not to accumulate stores anywhere but inside of Chattanooga.
*See Part I, p. 663.