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[361]

Reply of President Davis, received at Atlanta, July 4, 1864.

Your dispatch of yesterday received. I fully appreciate the importance of Atlanta, as evinced by my past action. I have sent all available reenforcements, detaching troops even from points that remain exposed to the enemy. The disparity of force between the opposing armies in Northern Georgia is less, as reported, than at any other point. The cavalry of Morgan is on district service, and may fulfill your wishes. Forrest's command is now operating on Sherman's lines of communication and is necessary for other purposes in his present field of service. I do not see that I can change the disposition of our forces so as to help General Johnston more effectually than by the present arrangement.

(Signed) Jefferson Davis.

Atlanta, July 4, 1864.
His Excellency President Davis:
I received your dispatch last night. I regret exceedingly that you cannot grant my request, as I am satisfied Sherman's escape with his army would be impossible if ten thousand good cavalry under Forrest were thrown in his rear this side of Chattanooga, and his supplies cut off. The whole country expects this, though points of less importance should, for a time, be overrun. Our people believe that General Johnston is doing all in his power with the means at his command, and all expect you to


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