The lieutenant-general commanding can well understand the bridge many regiments of the corps fire in other flags which they have gloriously borne in battle, but the interests of the service are imperative. He would therefore suggest that such standards be sent for safe keeping to the capitol of the States to which the troops belong, as it will be found inconvenient to have more than one flag in a regiment.
By command of Lieutenant-General Hood:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Greensville, March 11, 1864.
Brigadier General W. E. JONES,
(Through Major-General Ransom.)
The disposition of the troops of this department at present is such as to leave greatly exposed the important point of Abingdon and the salt-works. This becomes more serious and excites greater concern form the supposed presence of Wordford's cavalry at Mount Sterling, Ky., from which point he could readily make a movement across the mountains and by a sudden raid on the points above mentioned cause great and damage. Under these circumstances, the major-general commanding the department desires you to throw your brigade into such a position as may best serve to cover the approaches to Abingdon and the salt-works, and protect those points from any movement that may be undertaken against them.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. SORREL,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Assistant Adjutant-General.
DALTON, March 12, 1864.
General BRAXTON BRAGG:
GENERAL: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 4th instant in which I am desired to "have all things in readiness, at the earliest practicable moment, for the movement indicated." The last two words quoted give me the impression that some particular plan of operations is referred to; if so, it has not been communicated to me. A knowledge of it and of the forces to be provided for is necessary to enable me to make proper requisition. Permit me, in that connection, to remind you that the regulations of the War Department do not leave the preparations referred to me, but to officers who receive their orders from Richmond, not from my headquarters.
The defects in the organization of the artillery cannot be remained without competent superior officers, for whom we must depend upon the Government. I respectfully beg leave to refer to my letter to the President, dated January 2,* for my opinions on the subject of our operations on this line.
Is it probable that the enemy's forces will increase during the spring, or will they diminish in May and June by expiration of terms
* See Part II, p. 510.