Thursday, March 24, 1864

Nashville, Tennesse

All well to the front. Forrest’s cavalry has gone up toward Columbus, where, he can do us little harm, and it would be folly for me to push him. There are troops enough at Cairo to re-enforce Columbus and Paducah beyond the chance of danger. He could do a lot of damage to my supply lines here.

We cannot defend everywhere and go on the offensive. I will leave West Tennessee to the depravations of the enemy cavalry and harass them where possible. I want to keep Forrest as far away from the Nashville-Chattanooga line as possible.

General McPherson is now here, and we will go tomorrow to Decatur, to Huntsville, Larkinsvillc, &c. I will then go to see Thomas, and afterward General Schofield.

I have ordered all troops coming forward to disembark at Nashville and march by easy marches. This will relieve our road, and also do the troops good. We will be pressed for wagons, and I want Thomas to arrange to strip all troops left to guard roads of their mules, horses, and wagons, to be used in our offensive operations until McPherson’s troops arrive on the line of the Decatur road from the Tennessee River. I must move the cavalry division now at Huutsville and Nashville to some point near Duck or Elk Rivers, to our right flank. I may use it to cross the Tennessee at Decatur to LaFayette, straight to the south.

I shall prohibit all citizens using any of our railroads South of Nashville for passage or use. If citizens can’t live at the front, they must move to the rear. We must use our roads exclusively for freight till a supply is in store.

Schofield sees no reason for Camp Nelson to remain open. We will move supplies out of that camp and into Tennessee. Knoxville will be naturally supplied from Chattanooga, as its railroad is better than the long road From Camp Nelson.

I believe in as few depots as possible, and those on a large scale, well guarded. These depots. I think, should be at Nashville. Chattanooga, Huntsville, and Decatur, the two former of course the principal. I am not yet clear as to the line of operations from East Kentucky, but if anywhere it should not be far from Prestonburg, drawing from the mouth of the Big Sandy.

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