HUNTSVILLE, ALA., April 28, 1864.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
The enemy still hand around Decatur in considerable force. As the object of leaving a force there is to protect our right flank and railroad communications, would it not be better to withdraw the force we proposed leaving at Decatur to this side of the river and station it on the high ground near the junction? Take up the pontoon bridge and bring the boats up Limestone Creek to near the railroad, where they can be guarded and sent to any desired point.
The force stationed at the point I suggest will be more securely located and in a position where it can better operate to repel any attack on the railroad.
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Huntsville, Ala., April 28, 1864.
Major General JOHN A. LOGAN,
Commanding Fifteenth Army Corps, Huntsville, Ala.:
GENERAL: You will immediately put three divisions of your command in motion for Chattanooga by the dirt road, which follows substantially the line of the railroad. The remaining division will, in connection with the force left by Brigadier-General Dodge, guard our lines of communication via Athens, Decatur, Huntsville, and Stevenson. One brigade of the division which is left will be sent immediately to Decatur to strengthen temporarily the garrison at that post, and will report to Brigadier General John D. Stevenson.
The term of service of the Thirteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry expiring in May, will remain back and report to the commanding officer of the division left to protect the roads, whose headquarters, until otherwise directed, will be at Huntsville. The sick and convalescents of the division which are to move will be brought to Huntsville, and a convalescent camp established, under thoroughly competent officers, who will see that the men are forwarded to their respective commands as fast as they become fit for duty. The two regiments of Brigadier General Morgan L. Smith's division, at present guarding pontoon bridge at Larkin's Ferry, will remain there until the bridge is removed, when they will push on and join their division as rapidly as possible.
The troops in moving will take their camp and garrison equipage, 140 rounds small-arm ammunition per man, and 200 rounds artillery ammunition per gun, ten days' provisions, including three in haversacks, and forage to last them from one depot to another. Depots for forage will be at Huntsville, Stevenson, and Chattanooga. It is all-important that these troops be at Chattanooga about the 5th of May.
The guards at the different bridges must be strong enough to protect them against local guerrillas and small detachments of the enemy's cavalry, and must be cautioned to be particularly vigilant, and to defend their positions at all hazard.
The Fifth Ohio Cavalry will remain and report to the commanding officer at Huntsville for patrol and picket duty.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,