As McPherson will not have A. J. Smith's division, and some of his furloughed regiments will be late, you had better, make ready with every man you can take along, and as McPherson's detachments come up your surplus forces can be sent back. I will come down as soon as possible.
W. T. SHERMAN,
CHATTANOOGA, April 24, 1864-10.30 p.m.
I will send Captain Kellogg, my aide, to-morrow to report to you. Orders were given early this morning to concentrate General Hooker's command. I will put in motion as many as I can. General Howard's corps is now concentrated near Cleveland. One of the gun-boats is now on its way to this place from Bridgeport; another will be finished next week.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
CHATTANOOGA, April 24, 1864-10 a.m.
I have given orders for the distribution of General Rousseau's troops along the railroad from Nashville to this place, General Hooker being at the same time directed to concentrate his command in Lookout Valley. These dispositions can be completed, I hope, by the end of the month. One of the gun-boats is now ready to receive her armament and crew. Admiral Porter agreed with General Grant to furnish both if desired. I should prefer it, but willingly leave the choice to you. I can take into the field between 45,000 and 50,000 men. I shall lose from 5,000 to 8,000 men by the middle of June, by reason of expiration of service.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General U. S. Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Chattanooga, April 24, 1864.
Your dispatch,* reporting the attack on the outpost at Nickajack Gap, received. I am well aware that extreme outposts are always exposed, and for that reason they should be sleeplessly vigilant. If we do not run risks we never shall know anything of the enemy. I am afraid the outpost, although ready for an attack, had not kept up its connection with the next toward Ringgold by patrols, nor did the commanding officer keep himself informed of the the situation of affairs in his neighborhood, but contended himself with thinking the was safe as long as his vedettes in the pass in his front were not dis-
*See Part I, p. 678.