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[499] thousand; and Banks is supposed to be assembling twenty-five thousand at Baton Rouge. Should a large portion of these forces act upon this river, they may invest our two positions, which would fall in the course of time, unless we have an active army to break the investment.

The condition of the country and the breaking of railroads by our cavalry have compelled Grant to fall back, but we must expect him to advance again as soon as practicable. Should Banks and Sherman move at the same time, we could not oppose such a combination with our present forces.

The country will probably be in its present condition for several months. In the mean time Grant may reinforce Rosecrans.

I make these statements to show how much these three departments need reinforcements, and to ask if there is any.

J. E. Johnston, General.

As announced in my telegram, I address this letter to you to explain the purpose for which I desire you to proceed promptly to the headquarters of General Bragg's army. The events connected with the late battle at Murfreesboroa, and retreat from that place, have led to criticisms upon the conduct of General Bragg which induced him to call upon the commanders of corps for an expression of opinion, and for information as to the feeling in their commands in regard to the conduct of General Bragg. And also whether he had so far lost the confidence of the army as to impair his usefulness in his present position. The answers I am informed have been but partially given; but are, so far, indicative of a want of confidence, such as is essential for success. Why General Bragg should have selected that tribunal and invited its judgment upon him is to me unexplained. It manifests, however, a condition of things which seems to me to require your presence. The enemy is said

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