East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, but to move in the direction of Danville and threaten that place, should it be garrisoned by a large force; but, if it be weakly garrisoned, to attack it and destroy as much of the railroad as he can; then withdraw toward Tennessee and observe the movements of the enemy, reporting to me at once all his operations.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Army.
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, MIL. DIV., OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Chickasaw, Ala., March 18, 1865.
Major WILLIAM P. CHAMBLISS,
Special Inspector, Cavalry Corps, Louisville, Ky.:
MAJOR: Your communication in regard to the collection, inspection, and recuperation of broken-down horses has just been received. I am gratified to know that our views coincided so exactly. The only special reason I had for desiring the Edgefield stables filled up was that horses would not be so easily diverted from that point to other commands as from Louisville. officers of Hatch's division seem to think hat General Thomas would not prefer other commands if they were not so far away. I shall be satisfied, however, with whatever you determine upon after a careful consideration of the whole case. I have authorized General Hatch to send an officer to confer with you in regard to the horse question generally, so that the general can make some calculations as to when he will be able to take the field. Captain Carling, chief quartermaster of the corps, will also see you soon. I don't wish you to think me impertinent in this matter, or to imagine that I have not perfect confidence in the wisdom of your action in regard to your remounts; but the zeal, patriotism, and soldierly conduct of Hatch and his entire command cannot be too highly commended. The division is certainly entitled to a through remount, Spencer carbines, Blakely boxes, Stewart attachments, and good equipments. You need not copy of a general order commending them for recent sacrifices. Citizens may imagine those sacrifices trivial, but you and I know they are more important than blood. I send also through General Thomas a special report showing the present condition of the division. From it you will perceive that at present it is not in condition to do any duty whatever, except remain stationary. The carbines of which you speak I would like to have forwarded without delay for the Second Iowa, Sixth and Ninth Illinois. After that the number of requisitions already sent you will do as a guide. Hatch has now about 5,000 men here and a large number of recruits in depot in Illinois and Iowa. He will probably have 7,000 men in sixty days. If my plans for the ensuing campaign work out well, I shall want Hatch to join me with the corps trains somewhere between the Black Warrior and Coosa Rivers. I would, therefore, if for no other reason, like to have him ready to move at as early a date as possible. Captain Green has not reported yet, and I suppose will not be able to do so before I march. The three divisions mounted, First, Second, and Fourth, are just in as fine a condition as it is possible for cavalry to be in. I have reviewed Long and Upton, and I am sure they cannot be excelled in our army or anywhere else. With Hatch in as good fix we cannot be whipped by rebel cavalry.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. WILSON,