Tullahoma, March 28, 1863.I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 20th, and with it a copy of your telegram of the 16th. I fear that my reply to the latter did not express my meaning, from my anxiety to be brief. At Mobile, in Mississippi, and in Middle Tennessee, we cannot foresee attack long enough beforehand to be able to reinforce the threatened army from either of the others. At the first two, the enemy's appearance may, and probably would be the first indication of his intention to attack. In Middle Tennessee, after he begins to advance, his march may be so delayed as to give us three or four days, but in that time troops could be drawn from East Tennessee only, and that department could furnish but a small force. The transportation of eight or ten thousand infantry (without their wagons) from Jackson to Tullahoma, would require more than three weeks. The wagons and horses would require five. I think, therefore, that it is not practicable to strengthen this army by drawing to it “for temporary use” a portion of the troops of Mississippi or Mobile. At the latter, besides the garrisons of the forts and batteries for water-defense, General Buckner has but three thousand infantry to hold the land-side.
Most respectfully, Your obedient servant, J. E. Johnston.
Rosecrans, let Stevenson's troops, or an equal number, come here immediately....
J. E. Johnston.