WASHINGTON, D. C., February 27, 1865-4 p.m.
It has been suggested that an expedition be sent from here to destroy the Rapidan railroad bridge and the railroad to Culpeper. Would the advantage equal the waste of horse-flesh? Nine regiments and three companies of infantry and five companies of artillery have been sent, within the last twelve days, to Nashville from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
CITY POINT, February 27, 1865-11 a.m.
Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS:
General Stoneman beins so late in making his start East Tennessee, and Sherman having passed out of the State of South Carolina, I think now his course had better be changed. It is not impossible that in the event of the enemy being driven from Richmond they may fall back to Lynchburg with a part of their force and attempt a raid into East Tennessee. It will be better, therefore, to keep Stoneman between our garrisons in East Tennessee and the enemy. Direct him to repeat his raid of last fall, destroying the railroad as far toward Lynchburg as he can. Sheridan starts to-day from Winchester for Lynchburg. This will vastly favor Stoneman. Every effort should be made to collect all the surplus forage and provisions of East Tennessee at Knoxville, and to get there a large amount of stores besides. It is not impossible that we may have to use a very considerable force in that section the coming spring. Preparations should at once be made to meet such contingency. If it had been possible to have got Stoneman off in time he would have made a diversion in favor of Sherman, and would have destroyed a large amount of railroad stock, cut off and left in Northwest South Carolina. It is too late now to do any good except to destroy the stock.
U. S. GRANT,
[Copy to General Stoneman, Knoxville, Tenn.]
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Nashville, February 27, 1865-2 p.m.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,
City Point, Va.:
Your telegram of 26th is just received. General Stoneman has not yet started, but informed my chief of staff, a few days since, at Louisville, that he would be ready to start about the 1st of March. I will notify you as soon as he gets off. He has been delayed for want of horses. I have just returned from Eastport, having completed the arrangements for the cavalry expedition from that point. Owing to the recent stormy and rainy weather, General Wilson will be delayed a few days for the roads to dry up. He will be able to start in a few days with at least 10,000 men.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.