I trust, amid our gloom, that a better day will soon dawn upon us. Accept my highest confidence in your integrity, firmness, and ability, and best wishes for you and our cause.
R. S. HUDSON,
Judge Fifth District of Mississippi.
Respectfully referred by direction of the President to Lieutenant General L. Polk for perusal, &c.
BURTON N. HARRISON,
Petersburg, Va., en route to East Tenn., March 15, 1864.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD:
GENERAL: Since writing you of the move proposed into Kentucky by mounting a large force of infantry, the prospects for getting the animals have fallen far short of what I had through reasonable at the time of writing. I have therefore proposed instead a junction of your forces and mine at Abington, Va., via Greeneville, S. C., to march through Pound Gap upon Louisville. By that route you would have but little over 300 miles to march to reach Louisville. I would march a little over 150, and four forces together could hold Kentucky and the enemy's line of communication long enough to force him to withdraw his forces from Georgia and Tennessee, when General Johnston could advance into Kentucky, and we could effect a junction, and with our combined forces meet and overcome any army that the enemy could bring against us.
This move seemed to me to have amongst other advantages that of enabling us to prepare for it and get our columns in motion before the enemy could have any idea of our real intention, for you could send your transportation to Greeneville, S. C., and your quartermaster and commissary of subsistence could accumulate supplies at that point under the pretext that they were there for my army, which could be given out as about to start down to join General Johnston. Your transportation ready, and your supplies, you could throw your troops up by rail and have them on the march before the move could be suspected. It would be better if you could start out from Morganton, N. C., as you would thus save about 60 miles march; but to make the work on the railroads easier, I proposed that you should set out from Greeneville. To make this move as strong as it should be, I suggested that a great portion of the troops in Mississippi should be sent to South Carolina to relieve your command. Neither the one or the other of my propositions have been positively rejected, but I fear that both will be, or that they will be held under consideration until it is too late to accomplish what either would, if acted upon with that promptness and energy which should characterize all military operations.
The enemy in Tennessee, as elsewhere, is much discouraged, not to say demoralized, and any effective move against his rear must have a powerful effect upon his troops and upon his political affairs, which would in all probability result in a settlement of our troubles by negotiation and treaties of peace.
The general feeling at the Department seems to be in favor of my