PRIVATE.] DALTON, GA., April 13, 1864.
General BRAXTON BRAGG,
Commanding Armies of the Confederate States:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I received your letter, and am sorry to inform you that I have done all in my power to induce General Johnston to accept the proposition you made to move forward. He will not consent, as he desires the troops to be sent here and it is left to him as to what use should be made of them.
I regret this exceedingly, as my heart was fixed upon our going to the front and regaining Tennessee and Kentucky. I have also had a long talk with General Hardee. Whilst he finds many difficulties in the way of our advancing, he is at the same time ready and willing to do anything that is thought best for our general good. He has written a long letter to the President, which will explain his views, &c.
When we are to be in a better condition to drive the enemy from our county I am not able to comprehend. To regain Tennessee would be of more value to us than a half dozen victories in Virginia.
I received a letter from General R. E. Lee on yesterday, and he says, "You can assist me by giving me more troops, or driving the enemy in your front to the Ohio River. If the latter is to be done, it should be executed at once." I still hope we shall yet go forward; it is for the President and yourself to decide. I well know you have to grapple with many difficulties, as the President has done from the beginning of this war. He has directed us thus far, and in him I have unbounded confidence. Should we, from the many impediments in the way, fail to move forward from this position we must not allow ourselves to be deceived as to where the enemy will make his main effort. So soon as that is discovered we should concentrate and beat them decidedly.
Since McPherson's corps has moved up from the Lower Mississippi to join the Army of the Potomac or that of the Cumberland, would it not be well for General Polk's troops to unite with this army, as we should then be a condition to re-enforce General Lee in case it should be necessary?
Please present my kindest regards to the President.
J. B. HOOD.
DALTON, April 14, 1864.
Colonel B. S. EWELL,
Assuming offensive must depend on relative forces. I shall be ready to do it whenever they warrant it. It will be a month or six weeks before we can expect the necessary transportation. I cannot foresee what force the enemy may then have. I do not think our present strength sufficient for defensive since Longstreet's withdrawal. No one is more anxious than I for offensive operations by this army. Ask General Bragg enemy's force at Missionary Ridge and his present estimate. See to my application for Manning, vice Washington.
J. E. JOHNSTON.