can arrange before General Beauregard reaches me, and we can do without you until we get near. The enemy's unnecessary delay and want of decision may prolong the war another four years, and may possibly result in our entire destruction. My great hope is in you, and I know that this is the feeling of the army, and I believe it to be of the country.
You complain of my excess of confidence, but I think that it is based upon good judgment and proper appreciation of our difficulties. I have entire confidence if our affairs are properly managed, but I have none if they are not well managed. Hence my great anxiety and concern at our present inaction.
You spoke in one of your letters of some 1,500 saddles which you could let me have, and bridles. Please send them to me, that I may use them in mounting some infantry, temporarily, for the purpose of sending parties into Kentucky for the purpose of getting out beef cattle. If we remain quiet much longer our provisions will give out, and as the commissary-general will send us nothing, I must begin to prepare to supply ourselves.
I remain, general, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
DALTON, March 16, 1864.
His Excellency the President:
Scouts report rumors of the transfer of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps. In consequence all measures in my power are taken to ascertain the fact. Observation will be continued. Scouts report troops coming from Knoxville to Chattanooga. Lieutenant-General Polk reports most of Mississippi troops gone with Sherman to Shreveport. Scouts report, on 13th, troops passing Bridgeport to Chattanooga for the last three days.
J. E. JOHNSTON.
March 16, 1864.
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: It is my conviction from what I've seen since I have been here that at least a regiment of average strength is necessary for the proper preservation of order at this post and for preventing officers and soldiers belonging to the army from remaining here without proper authority, even in larger numbers than the guard asked for by General Wright. There are so many facilities for escaping observation by those inclined to do so that great vigilance, with a sufficient guard, is, in my opinion, absolutely essential. There has been a marked change for the better since the troops now here arrived.
Very respectfully, &c.,
BENJ. S. EWELL,