I went for a ride this morning and have settled down to correspondence. I reported to General Grant:
HEADQUARTERS, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Chattanooga
May 1,1864; 8 p. m.
General GRANT, Culpeper, Virginia:
Schofield is now at Charleston, and will move to Cleveland. Thomas will concentrate at Ringgold, and Mcpherson’s troops are all in motion toward Chattanooga. By May 5, I will group them at Rossville and Gordon’s Mills. The First move will be: Thomas, Tunnel Hill; Schofield, Catoosa Springs, and McPherson, Villanow. Next move will be battle. I have Atlanta papers: dates 29th of April. Enemy has a general idea of our plans, and are massing about Richmond and Dalton. Nothing new in the papers, except that General Polk reports, under date Demopolis, 23rd of April, that Wirt Adams had captured and burned a gun-boat at Yazoo City, taking onshore eight 24-pounder guns.
Weather fine; roads very good. I leave John E. Smith’s division at Huntsville and Decatur till Blair gets there with the Seventeenth Corps. Then I will bring forward more men, according to the issues of our first battle. A good deal of the enemy’s cavalry is hanging about North Alabama, and McPherson is uneasy about Decatur; but we must risk something. I have removed the bridge at Larkin’s, and will try and get one of the new gun-boats to patrol the river from Bridgeport down. Thomas is here, but we will all go out on the 5th. I will expect further notice from you, but will agree to draw the enemy’s fire within twenty-four hours of May 5.
I have ordered my command at Nashville to not allow any reporters south of the city. They are no better than spies who reveal our every move to the enemy.
I want to bring as many veterans to the front as possible. I sent orders to Louisville to send as many troops as possible to Chattanooga, but they should give preference to the veteran units that are returning. The new regiments from Indiana can travel by boat.
My Quartermaster, General Allen is doing excellent work. He is diligent about forwarding supplies from Nashville to Chattanooga.
I have written to the president of the railroad to assist in bringing troops to Chattanooga.
HEADQUARTERS, MILITARY DIVISION OF MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Chattanooga, May 1, 1864
Honorable JAMES GUTHRIE, President, Louisville and Nashville Railroad, Louisville, Ky.:
I am aware of the diminution of your stock, and only ask that you do all that is possible; the next ten days will be the test. We have enough stores at Nashville. We prefer veterans to new troops. Allen might send some of the latter around by boats up the Cumberland. I ask that you do the best possible with your facilities to forward veterans, whose absence breaks up regiments and brigades. I think the emergency would warrant the stoppage of all civil business for ten days. Every car and every locomotive south of Nashville is busy. I think you should keep your repair shops busy night and day. The business of your road will double and quadruple as the Cumberland falls, and your road can well profit by the fact by enlarging its capacity.
McCallum is doing all that is possible to increase the stock, but the numerous smashes-up of trains consume cars and locomotives faster than he can get new ones. A long pull and a strong pull may carry us over this side, after which I hope all will be well.
W.T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding
I have asked Schofield to forward his troops and come to Chattanooga to consult.
The rebel cavalry hover about Decatur and the force their worries about an attack. I do not think they will attack but are there to watch our movement. I deny the request to abandon Decatur at this time because it will expose our movements. I propose to hold Decatur if possible and retreat across the river if forced by an attack.