MORRISTOWN, [March] 23, 1865.
Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
My command is all up to this point and advance as far as Bull's Gap. I shall push on to-morrow in the direction of Greeneville. One brigade will take to the left and be on the railroad between Jonesborough and Carter's Station on the Watauga by day after to-morrow morning. General Tillson will go toward Asheville and am in hopes to catch the small force now at Jonesborough. The construction and telegraph corps in this part will bear looking after. Deserters came in to-day direct from Richmond by railroad to Jonesborough. I hope to be well into Virginia by the 28th. What is the latest reliable news from Washington?
FISH RIVER, ALA., March 23, 1865 - 5.30 p. m.
Your dispatch of the 9th has just been received.* Estimates for railroad material and construction had no reference to immediate operations, but was made with a view to the future, if we should not be able to open navigation of the Alabama. You cannot regret more than I do the delays that have attended this movement. We have been embarrassed and delayed by rain and wind storms that have not been paralleled in the last forty years. The floods have been general, and embraced the whole section of the Southwest. It was impossible to bridge streams in order to move by land, because the overflow was so great that their banks could not be reached, and the weather on the Gulf has been so tempestuous that our transports could not be used more than half the time, and the services of several have been lost by being driven ashore. We have had now two consecutive bright days, the only two in a month, and a footing upon fair ground. If the Thirteenth Corps gets up to-night, as I hope it will, we will move in the morning for Blakely and will endeavor to open way for the gun-boats into the Alabama.
ED. R. S. CANBY,
NEW ORLEANS, March 23, 1865.
GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report: A messenger employed by me left Mobile after a stay of some fifteen or twenty days in Mobile. He reports upward of 20,000 troops, with plenty of provisions, and they talk as if they could successfully defend the place. Most of the cotton has been moved out. General Forrest had left Macon. Went up to Tupelo and was going to intercept the raid from Eastport. His force was large, say 15,000.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. C. HUTCHINSON,
115 Carondelet Street, New Orleans.
* See Part I, p. 875.