[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
Richmond, Va., April 20, 1864.
General BRAXTON BRAGG,
GENERAL: To prevent misunderstanding, and to test the fact of my having properly carried out my instructions, permit me to make a recapitulation and to ask permission to supply deficiencies before leaving Richmond, which I expect to do this evening, if, in the verbal communication I had the honor to make to the President in your presence, I was not sufficiently full and explicit. My object was to explain to His Excellency-
First. That General Johnston in his correspondence with the War Department and Government had no intention of expressing a disinclination to begin offensive operations when prepared and reenforced. That, on the contrary, he was anxious for an advance, being satisfied as to its expediency and necessity, and was, and had been since assuming command of the Army of Tennessee, willing to attempt to execute with vigor and zeal and to the best of his ability a plan formed by himself, or any the Government might determine on, for assuming the offensive; that his objections were meant for and intended to apply only to the route proposed; that he thought the selection of the plan of campaign had better be deferred till everything was ready, and that it was his intention to take, when possible, the initiative, unless anticipated by the enemy, and to force a battle on this side of the Tennessee River; or if he could not, to immediately advance.
Second. That as a condition precedent to his advance the increase of his transportation was absolutely necessary. Commissary supplies for a march of 130 miles through a mountainous and barren region must be carried; that after reducing the transportation for baggage to the minimum nearly 1,000 additional wagons would be required to subsist the army, re-enforced as proposed. For these, having no means of procuring any, he had to depend on the Quartermaster's Department, and that be had soon after reaching Georgia made this want known to the Government, but had as yet obtained nothing; and further that a like want existed as to artillery horses, 1,000 of which had been promised, but not yet delivered.
Third. That to secure an advance it was advisable and essential to send forward the troops intended to re-enforce the army at once, not only to gain time by perfecting the organization, but also to render certain a defeat of the enemy should he take the offensive first.
Fourth. That the strength of the enemy now at Chattanooga, estimated last fall at 80,000, is not believed to be less, the best available information being that, by the return of the wounded and accession of recruits, he is now as strong, and that McPherson with his troops, reported at 15,000, is on the Tennessee and en route for Chattanooga.
Fifth. That the infantry force in Mississippi and the garrison of Mobile do not seem to be needed there now, and might be advantageously employed in re-enforcing the Army of Tennessee.
With great respect, your obedient servant.
BENJ. S. EWELL,
Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.