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[274] commissary of the army reports that that officer has provided for the next month, but we depend upon the railroad for bringing supplies to the troops. As yet rations for but five days have been accumulated here, with a supply for three previously placed at Calhoun, twenty miles to the rear. We have had no receipts for two days, for want, it is said, of good fuel on the road. The practice of transporting beef-cattle by railroad has made it impossible to accumulate stores here. I propose, as soon as the arrangement can be made, to have the cattle driven, but the change will require time. The men are not entirely satisfied with the ration, it is said.

Your Excellency well impresses upon me the importance of recovering the territory we have lost. I feel it deeply, but difficulties appear to me in the way.

The Secretary of War has informed me that I must not hope for reinforcements. To assume the offensive from this point, we must move either into Middle or East Tennessee. To the first, the obstacles are Chattanooga, now a fortress, the Tennessee River, the rugged desert of the Cumberland Mountains, and an army outnumbering ours more than two to one. The second course would leave the way into Georgia open. We have neither subsistence nor field transportation enough for either march. General Bragg and Lieutenant-General Hardee, in suggesting the offensive, proposed to operate with a powerful army formed upon this as a nucleus. The former was unable to advance before the arrival of Sherman had added twenty-five thousand men to the Federal army, and the march of Longstreet into East Tennessee had

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