To oppose the advance of the enemy from Atlanta the State of Georgia would thus have probably 17,000 men, to which number must be added the thirteen brigades of Wheeler's cavalry, amounting to about 7,000 men. The troops which could have been collected from Savannah, South Carolina, and North Carolina before Sherman's forces could reach the Atlantic coast would have amounted, it was supposed, to about 5,000 men.
Thus it was a reasonable supposition that about 29,000 or 30,000 men could be collected in time to defend the State of Georgia and insure the destruction of Sherman's army, estimated by me at about 36,000 effectives of all arms, their cavalry, about 4,000 strong, being included in this estimate.
Under these circumstances, after consultation with General Hood, I concluded to allow him to prosecute with vigor his campaign into Tennessee and Kentucky, hoping that by defeating Thomas' army, and such other forces as might hastily be sent against him, he would compel Sherman, should be reach the coast of Georgia or South Carolina, to repair at once to the defense of Kentucky, and perhaps Ohio, and thus prevent him from re-enforcing Grant. Meanwhile supplies might be sent to Virginia from Middle and East Tennessee, thus relieving Georgia from the present constant drain upon its limited resources.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
AUGUSTA, December 6, 1864-7 p. m.
General S. COOPER:
Have just arrived and will repair as soon as practicable to Charleston and Savannah.
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
SAVANNAH, December 6, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
The Fifteenth Army Corps is on the right bank of the Ogeechee. Prisoners were captured from it to-day. They are evidently of an intention to recross twenty-five miles above. All recent movements indicate their intention to do so at Jenks' and Wright's Bridges, which have been destroyed.
W. J. HARDEE,
AUGUSTA, December 6, 1864.
Wheeler so far off he could not cross river in time. General Young's brigade (250 mounted, 550 dismounted) moves to-day by rail to Pocotaligo, to observe left bank Savannah.
(Same to Major-General Jones.)