interviews with General McPherson, commanding the Army of the Tennessee, at Huntsville; Major- General Thomas, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, at Chattanooga, and General Schofield, commanding the Army of the Ohio, at Knoxville. We arranged in general terms the lines of communication to be guarded, the strength of the several columns and garrisons, and fixed the 1st day of May as the time when all things should be ready.
Leaving these officers to complete the details of organization and preparation, I returned again the Nashville on the 2nd or April, and gave my personal attention to the question of supplies. I found the depots at Nashville abundantly supplied, and the railroads in very fair order, and that steps had already been taken to supply cars and locomotives to fill the new and increased demand of the service, but the impoverished condition of the inhabitants of East Tennessee, more especially in the region around about Chattanooga, had forced the commanding officers of the posts to issue food to the people. I was compelled to stop this, for a simple calculation showed that a single railroad could not feed the armies and the people took, and of course the army had the preference, but I endeavored t point the people to new channels of supply. At first my orders operated very hard, but the prolific soil soon afforded early vegetables, and ox wagons hauled meat and bread from Kentucky, so that no actual suffering resulted, and I trust that those who clamored at the cruelty ad hardships of the day have already seen in the results a perfect justification of my course. At once the store- houses at Chattanooga began to fill so that by the 1st of May a very respectable quantity of food and forage had been accumulated there, and from that day to this stores have been brought forward in wonderful abundance, with a surplus that has enabled me to feed the army well during the whole period of time, although the enemy has succeeded more the n once in breaking our road for many miles at different points.
During the month of April I received from Lieutenant- General Grant a map, with a letter of instructions,* which is now at Nashville, but a copy will be procured and made a part of this report. Subsequently I received from him notice that he would move from his camp about Culpeper, Va., on the 5th of May, and he wanted me to do the same from Chattanooga.+ My troops were still dispersed, and the cavalry, so necessary to our success, was yet collecting horses at Nicholasville, Ky., and Columbia, Tenn.
On the 27th of April I put all the troops in motion toward Chattanooga, and on the next day went there in person. My aim and purpose was to make the Army of the Cumberland 50,000. These figures were approximated, but never reached, the Army of the Tennessee failing to receive certain divisions that were still kept on the Mississippi River, resulting from the unfavorable issue of the Red River expedition. But on the 1st of May the effective strength of the several armies for offensive purposes was about as follows:
Army of the Cumberland, Major- General Thomas commanding: Infantry, 54,568; artillery, 2,377; cavalry, 3,828; total, 60,773.
Army of the Tennessee, Major- General McPherson commanding; Infantry, 22,437; artillery, 1,404; cavalry, 624; total, 24,465.
*See foot- note Vol. XXXII, Part III, p. 261.
+See Vol. XXXII, Part III, p. 521.