No. 1. Report of Major General George H. Thomas, U. S Army, commanding Department of the Cumberland, including operations in the department January 20-June 1.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Nashville, June 1, 1865.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report the operations of my command from the date of the last report* made by me, January 20, as follows:
General A. J. Smith's corps, at that period, was with me at Eastport, Miss.; four divisions of General Wilson's cavalry were encamped on the opposite or north bank of the Tennessee River, at Waterloo and Gravelly Springs, Ala., and the Fourth Corps, Major-General Stanley commanding, was stationed at Huntsville, Ala. This, with the ordinary garrisons of the country, composed my command. The General-in-Chief of the Army having given up the intention of my continuing the campaign against the enemy in Mississippi and Alabama, I received an order by telegraph from Major-General Halleck, chief of staff, to send General A. J. Smith's command and 5,000 of General Wilson's cavalry by river, to report to Major-General Canby, at New Orleans, for the purpose of taking part in an expedition at that time preparing to operate against Mobile. Smith's corps started from Eastport on the 6th of February, and Knipe's division of cavalry left Nashville on the 12th. About the period of the departure of Smith's information was received, through various sources, to the effect that part of the shattered remnants of Hood's army, viz, Cheathan's and Lee's corps, were on their way from Mississippi to South Carolina, moving via Selma and Montgomery, Ala., to re-enforce that portion of the enemy's army operating against General Sherman. There remained in Central Mississippi, under General Taylor, but one corps of the enemy's infantry, and about 7,000 of Forrest's cavalry, the headquarters of the command being at Meridian, Miss. On the 6th of February a communication was received from Lieutentant-General Grant, directing an expedition, commanded by General Stoneman, to be sent from East Tennessee to penetrate North Carolina, and well down toward Columbia, S. C., to destroy the enemy's railroads and military resources in that section, and visit a portion of the State beyond the control or reach of General Sherman's column. As the movement was to be merely for the purpose of destruction, directions were given General Stoneman to evade any heavy engagements with the enemy's forces. Again, on the 13th of February, General Grant telegraphed me to prepare a cavalry expedition, about 10,000 strong, to penetrate Northern Alabama, acting as a co-operative force to the movement on Mobile by General Canby. Before leaving Eastport, Miss., I had directed General Wilson to get his command in readiness for just such a campaign, of which the above was simply an outline, my instructions being for him to move on Tuscaloosa, Selam, and Montgomery, Ala., and to capture those places if possible, after accomplishing which he was to operate against any of the enemy's forces in the direction of Mississippi, Mobile, or Macon, as circumstances might demand. The bad state of the roads, combined with the condition of the horses of his command after completing the severe campaign in pursuit of Hood, prevented any movement for the time being, and it was only on the 22nd of March that General Wilson, with Upton's, Long's, and McCook's divisions, could leave Chickasaw, Ala. Hatch's
* See Vol. XLV, Part I, p.32.