sonville; one by passing one 15 miles south of Knoxville, the other by passing down north of Knoxville. I shall send out to-morrow to gather information about them both. In the mean time I ask that you will give me the more detailed views of His Excellency; for instance, in making the move it would be well that S. D. Lee and Forrest should cross the Tennessee River and strike the enemy's line of communication between Chattanooga and Nashville, if they can be spared for that purpose, and then unite them with General Johnston's army.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS, Greenville, East Tenn., March 5, 1864.
General J. E. JOHNSTON,
Commanding Army of Tennessee:
GENERAL: I have received a verbal message from the President, through General Alexander, to confer with you upon the propriety and practicability of uniting our armies at or near Madisonville, East Tenn., with a view to a move into Middle Tennessee upon the enemy's line of communication. There are two routes from this to the point mentioned-one by passing south of Knoxville and the Holston River, the other by passing Knoxville on the north side, about 90 miles by either route. On the former I should boss six rivers; the first has brigade, however. The road is a single dirt road, through a mountainous country, and the road passes within 15 miles of Knoxville, where the enemy has a stronger force than I, but it is very much if you can meet me promptly at Madisonville with subsistence stores and forage for my army. My transportation is so limited that I cannot take more than enough to supply us on the road. There is nothing in the country though which I would pass, or so little that we could place no reliance upon the country for supplies. The other route north of Knoxville, and I should be obliged to cross the Holston and the Tennessee Rivers. The latter stream would require a bridge, which I cannot haul; but if you can meet me there, so as to prevent forces from Chattanooga molesting my march, I can make a bridge and unite my forces with yours. I shall be obliged to depend upon you for food and forage when we are united.
From here your difficulties look to me greater than mine, except that you will have the railroad to depend upon for supplies, and yet I cannot see that you can count upon that, unless your army is much stronger than I have supposed it to be, and the enemy's much weaker. I had estimated his forces at 40,000 available men.
Please give the matter that mature deliberation which it merits, and give me your views at as early a moment as may be convenient.
I remain, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
P. S.-I take the liberty to address you directly,in order that the matter may not be known by more parties than necessary.