War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0952 MD., e. N. C., pA., vA., eXCEPT S. W.,& W. VA. Chapter LXIII.

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exceed four days. My order for the movement of troops, stated above, is not in accordance with that plan. If our armies in Northern Virginia and on the south side of James River were near enough to each other to combine their operations, we should have therein a palpable advantage, but you, who know the country, its rivers, and the enemy's water transportation, can justly appreciate what would be lost in gaining that advantage. How far the morale of your army would be affected by a retrograde movement no one can judge as well as yourself. It would certainly encourage the enemy, and if he wants time and opportunity to recruit, he would thus have it in absolute security. We should lose the Central road and all the supplies, together with the growing crop, in that portion of Northern Virginia. I am willing, as heretofore, to leave the matter to your decision. You are better informed than any other can be of the necessities of your position--at least as well informed as any other of the wants and dangers of the country in your rear, including the railroad and other lines of communication, and I cannot do better than to leave your judgment to reach its own conclusions.

General Bragg, I suppose, keeps you well informed in relation to the numbers and position of troops which may be contingently looked to for your support. Should you at any time, however, require special information in that regard, you will not hesitate to call for it. General Polk has marched to the support of General Johnston with about 14,000 men. I had hoped we should have been informed before this of the advance of our army. Success there would have diverted the 100-days' men of Ohio and the West, and possibly other troops, now spoken of as ordered to General Grant. I have called General Johnston's attention to the necessity of not permitting the enemy in Tennessee to send away troops; or, if he cannot prevent it, that he should at least give us early information. He does not anticipate the first, and feels sure that he will be able to meet the second branch of the proposition.

I cannot judge of the circumstances which caused General Johnston to retire from Dalton to Calhoun. He may have been willing to allow the enemy to pass the ridge, and may prefer to fight him on the Etowah River. I hope the future will prove the wisdom of his course, and that we shall hereafter reap advantages that will compensate for the present disappointment.

Very respectfully and truly, yours,



RICHMOND, VA., May 20, 1864.


Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: I was glad to hear yesterday that you were about to establish a line which would shorten your front, and consequently reduce the force which would be necessary to hold it. I have orally expressed to you the importance which I attach to the defeat of Grant and his repulse from his present position. Whenever it can be done with safety to our line of communication and defense of the capital, I desire to throw forward strong re-enforcements to General Lee. I would be glad, as I am sure he would, that you should go forward and command them. The time and manner of doing this you will be best able to judge, as it must depend upon events which you are now controlling. In this connection I send you an extract from a letter of General Lee of the 18th instant:

The importance of this campaign to the administration of Mr. Lincoln and to General Grant leaves no doubt that every effort and every sacrifice will be made to