to return to General Hood and inform him that General Hardee reported a heavy advancing on him, he (Hardee) being on the left, and to direct General Hood not to make too wide a movement; not to separate himself too far from the left of the army, but if the enemy advanced upon to strike him promptly and hard.
On reaching General Hood, who was in a field in rear of one of his divisions, I informed him that the enemy was advancing in force on Hardee. He instantly said, "And they are on me, too. The cavalry gave me no warning. I only learned the fact through officers of my own staff, and I am now falling back to form a line farther to the rear." I asked him, "What road are the enemy moving on?" He replied, "On both the Canton and Spring Place road; and did you not see them?" I answered that I had seen no enemy. I then rode back. Having gone some few hundred yards, and remembering that I had not given the order, and that circumstances might change in General Hood's front and the order become important, I rode back and overtook General Hood on his way to the rear, seeking then a position on which to establish a line for his troops, then falling back; communicated the order, and riding some distance with him to see where he would place his troops, I returned to General Johnston and reported the information and the fact that General Hood was then forming on a range of hills crossing the Canton road.
W. W. MACKALL,
Memorandum of conference held at request of President Davis, and under his instructions, with General J. E. Johnston, respecting the principal facts relative to the enemy and to our own condition and as to the operations of the Army of Tennessee.
DALTON, GA., April 16, 1864.
Reaching Dalton about midnight of the 14th, I had the privilege of an extended interview with General Johnston at his headquarters during the greater part of the 15th instant, and the advantage of General Wheeler's presence for several hours, he being conversant with the strength and distribution of the enemy's forces in Tennessee, and with the contour and resources of the country. As desired by the President, I endeavored to present to the general's mind what I understood to be the President's views, and what were my own convictions, concerning the importance-indeed, necessity-of the earliest and most efficient aggressive operations possible by the Army of Tennessee, on about the following grounds:
First. To take the enemy at disadvantage while weakened, it is believed, by sending troops to Virginia, and having others absent still on furlough.
Second. To break up his plans by anticipating and frustrating his combinations.
Third. So to press him here as to prevent his heavier massing in Virginia.
Fourth. To beat him, it is hoped, and greatly gain strength in supplies, men, and productive territory.
Fifth. To prevent the waste of the army incident to inactivity.