joining General Johnston, in order that the armies should move together, which would be better if it were possible us to make a junction in time to take the initiative, and if, when united, the resources of the country through which we would advance were such as to enable the united forces to subsist and forage. The proposition is that the forces united should advance via Kinston and Sparta into Middle Tennessee.
At Sparta it is supposed we may get forage and subsistence for our army. The information that I have in regard to the resources of that part of the State are not such as would warrant me to take my little army there with the hope of living there. About Sparta is the point as which we should expect the enemy to concentrate his entire force to resist our advance. If the nature of the country is such as to enable the enemy to get a strong position, and it is more or less mountainous, we might be obliged to fight them under very disadvantages circumstances. If we should then meet with reserve we would probably be destroyed, as we could not have enough of supplies to take us to Sparta and back. The condition of the enemy is such, however, that we can count with almost certainly upon victory, if we fight upon anything like equal ground, and if we are in time to take the initiative. I fear tat I cannot join General Johnston under a march of 300 miles. Being united with him I should be 150 miles farther from Louisville than I am in East Tennessee at this moment, with several formidable rivers on the route between Dalton and Louisville.
We are all equally interested in the successful issue of this year's operations, as by success we shall surely win a speedy and happy termination of the war. If, on the other hand, we are unfortunate we shall almost as surely have a continuation of the war for the next four years.
Please give the whole matter that mature consideration which the situation so earnestly demands, and let us all go to work with a will and determination which may soon relieve our oppresses country.
The information that I have in regard to the route through Pound Gap into Kentucky is that we may get supplies of subsistence and forage about 100 miles from Abingdon, and in abundance thence on to Louisville, with but one stream of any consequence to cross. General Bragg, who ought to know definitely the resources of Middle Tennessee, seems to be quite confident that our combined force can get an abundance of supplies there.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. S.- I do not think that the enemy will be in condition to commence active operations before the 1st of May. I presume that the Department will communicate with you very soon upon the subject that I have presented, and I hope that I may have been able to present the matter in such a light as to enable you to prepare yourself for an early answer to any points that may be laid before you.
ATLANTA, GA., March 15, 1864.
Brigadier General M. J. WRIGHT, Commanding at Atlanta:
SIR: The clause of the late order from army headquarters prohibiting non-combatants from visiting Dalton is, until further instructions