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[290] “have all things in readiness at the earliest practicable moment, for the movement indicated.”

The last two words quoted give me the impression that some particular plan of operations is referred to. If so, it has not been communicated to me. A knowledge of it and of the forces to be provided for is necessary, to enable me to make proper requisitions. Permit me, in that connection, to remind you that the regulations of the War Department do not leave the preparations referred to to me, but to officers who receive their orders from Richmond — not from my headquarters.

The defects in the organization of the artillery cannot be remedied without competent superior officers. For them we must depend upon the Government.

I respectfully beg leave to refer to my letter to the President, dated January 2d, for my opinions on the subject of our operations on this line.

Is it probable that the enemy's forces will increase during the spring? Or will they diminish in May and June by expiration of terms of service? It seems to me that our policy depends on the answers to these questions. If that to the first is affirmative, we should act promptly. If that to the second is so, we should not, but on the contrary put off action, if possible, until the discharge of many of his soldiers, if any considerable number is to be discharged.

P. S.-Should Sherman join Thomas, this army would require reinforcement to enable it to hold its ground. Our army that takes the offensive should be our strongest in relation to its enemy.

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