15,000 men will allow us to advance. We can do so, anyhow, by uniting with Longstreet, but so much depends upon the success of our arms on this line I thoroughly appreciate the importance of collecting together all the forces we possible can in order to destroy the army under Grant. We should march to the front as soon as possible, so as not allow the enemy to concentrate and advance upon us. The addition of a few horses for our artillery will place this army in fine condition. It is well clothed, well fed, and the transportation is excellent and the greatest possible quantity required.
I feel that a move from this position, in sufficient force, will relieve our entire country. The troops under Generals Polk and Loring united with the force here, and a junction being made with General Longstreet, will give us an army of 30,000 or 70,000 men, which, I think, should be sufficient to defeat and destroy all the Federals on this side of the Ohio River. I sincerely hope and trust that this opportunity may be given to drive the enemy beyond the limits of the Confederacy. I never before felt that we had it so thoroughly in our power. He is at present weak, and we are strong. His armies are far within our country, and the roads open to his rear, where we have a vast quantity of supplies. Our position in Virginia can be securely held by our brave troops under General Lee, which will allow us to march in force from our center, the vital point of every nation.
You find, Mr. President, that I speak with my whole heart, as I do upon all things in which I am so deeply interested. God knows I have the interest of my country at hat, and I feel in speaking to you that I am so doing to one who thoroughly appreciates and understands my feelings. I am greater for us to take the initiative, but fear we will not do so unless our army is increased.
I am happy to inform you that my health was never so good.
The divisions of Stewart, Stevenson, and Hindman make up my corps. You perceive I have all the untried troops of this army; I hope, however, to do good work.
My prayer is that you may be spared to our country, and that we may be successful in the coming campaign.
Please present my kindest regards to Mrs. Davis and Miss Maggie, and believe me, with great respect, your friend and obedient servant,
J. B. HOOD.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
March 10, 1864.
General BRAXTON BRAGG,
MY DEAR GENERAL: Knowing the deep interest you feel in this army in our success, I am prompted to call your attention to a few important facts. We have here about 40,000 men of all arms of the service. The enemy in our front, I presume, has about 50,000. He will not offer to give battle till he is largely re-enforced, and I don't think many days will pass before Sherman will make a junction with him, as I quite a large number of empty transports have passed down to Vicksburg.
It is all-important that we should know whether this army is to be strengthened or not. If not, I fear more of our territory will be