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[278] from Ringgold to Dalton. Between Mill-Creek and Snake-Creek Gaps, this ridge protects the road to Atlanta on the west, but at the same time covers any direct approach from Chattanooga to Resaca or Calhoun-points on the route from Dalton to Atlanta-or flank movement in that direction, by an army in front of Mill-Creek Gap. These considerations would have induced me to draw the troops back to the vicinity of Calhoun, to free our left flank from exposure, but for the earnestness with which the President and Secretary of War, in their letters of instructions, wrote of early assumption of offensive operations and apprehension of the bad effect of a retrograde movement upon the spirit of the Southern people.

An active campaign of six months, half of it in the rugged region between Chattanooga and Dalton, had so much reduced the condition of the horses of the cavalry and artillery, as well as of the mules of the wagon-trains, that most of them were unfit for active service. The rest they had been allowed at Dalton had not improved their condition materially; for, from want of good fuel, the railroad-trains had not been able to bring up full supplies of forage. This continued until near the end of January, when the management of the railroad had been greatly improved by the intervention of Governor Brown, and a better system introduced in the manner of forwarding military supplies.

This scarcity of food made it necessary to send almost half of the artillery-horses and all the mules not required for camp-service to the valley of the Etowah, where long forage could be found, and the

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Honorables A. G. Brown (1)
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