on the same day, was to the effect that such a detachment, either marching or transported by railroad, would be too late for the object.
On the 17th the President
directed me, by telegraph, to dispatch Lieutenant-General Hardee
's, and Walker
's divisions of his corps, with instructions to unite with Lieutenant-General Polk
as soon as possible.
This order was obeyed as promptly as our means of transportation permitted.
The Federal commanders in Tennessee
seem to have anticipated such a detachment, and to have exaggerated its strength; for, on the 14th, General Grant
, who, the day before, had instructed Major-General Thomas
to move to Knoxville
with all the troops that could be spared from Chattanooga
, “to cooperate with the Army of the Ohio in driving Longstreet
from East Tennessee
,” countermanded that order, and directed a movement to the immediate front instead, “to gain possession of Dalton
, and as far south of that as possible.”
On the 22d, intelligence was received from Lieutenant-General Polk
's headquarters, at Demopolis
, that Sherman
's invading column, after passing Meridian
, which it destroyed, had turned, and was marching back toward Vicksburg
; and Lieutenant-General Hardee
's corps, of which only the leading troops had reached that place, were about to return.
At night our scouts reported that the Federal
army, in marching order, had advanced from Chattanooga
that day, and that a large body of infantry and