that there are now but four infantry divisions in Bragg's army — the fourth being composed of fragments of McCown's and Breckinridge's divisions, and must be much smaller than the average. Deducting the five brigades, and supposing them composed of only four regiments each, which is below the general average, it gives an infantry reduction of twenty regiments, four hundred each,--eight thousand; leaving a remainder of thirty thousand It is clearly ascertained that at least two brigades of cavalry have been sent from Van Dorn's command to Mississippi, and it is asserted in the “Chattanooga rebel,” of June eleventh, that General Morgan's command has been permanently detached and sent to Eastern Kentucky. It is not certainly known how large his division is, but it is known to contain at least two brigades. Taking this minimum as the fact, and we have a reduction of four brigades. Taking the lowest estimate, four regiments to the brigade, and we have a reduction by detachment of sixteen regiments, five hundred each, leaving his present effective cavalry force nine thousand five hundred. With the nine brigades of the two arms thus detached, it will be safe to say there have gone six batteries, eighty men each: four hundred and eighty; leaving him twenty batteries, two thousand one hundred and twenty, making a total reduction of sixteen thousand four hundred and eighty, leaving, of the three arms, a total of forty-one thousand six hundred and eighty. In this estimate I have placed all doubts in Bragg's favor, and I have no doubt it is considerably beyond the truth. General Sheridan, who has taken great pains to collect evidence on this point, places it considerably below these figures; but assuming these to be correct, and granting what is still more improbable, that Bragg would abandon all his rear posts, and entirely neglect his communications, and could bring his last man into battle, I next ask, What have we to oppose to him? The last official report of effective strength of this army, now on file in the office of the Assistant Adjutant-General, is dated June eleventh, instant, and shows that we have in this department, omitting all officers and enlisted men attached to department, corps, division, and brigade headquarters,-- First, infantry, one hundred and seventy-three regiments, ten battalions sharpshooters, four pioneers, one regiment engineers and mechanics, with a total effective strength of seventy thousand nine hundred and eighteen. Second, cavalry, twenty-seven regiments, one unattached company: eleven thousand eight hundred and thirteen. Third, forty-seven and a half batteries field artillery, consisting of two hundred and ninety-two guns, and five thousand and sixty-nine men; making a grand total of eighty-seven thousand eight hundred: or, leaving out all commissioned officers, this army represents eighty-two thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven bayonets and sabres. This report does not include the Fifth Iowa cavalry, six hundred strong, lately armed, nor the First Wisconsin cavalry, nor Coburn's brigade of infantry, now arriving, nor the two thousand three hundred and ninety-four convalescents now on light duty in Fortress Rosecrans. There are detached from this force as follows:--
With these posts as they are, and leaving two thousand five hundred efficient men, in addition to the two thousand three hundred and ninety-four convalescents, to hold the works at this place, there will be left sixty-five thousand one hundred and thirty-seven bayonets and sabres to throw against Bragg's forty-one thousand six hundred and eighty.
I beg leave also to submit the following considerations:--
1. Bragg's army is now weaker than it has been since the battle, or is likely to be again for the present, while our army has reached its maximum strength, and we have no right to expect further reenforcements for several months, if at all.
2. Whatever be the result at Vicksburg, the determination of its fate will give large reenforcements to Bragg.
If Grant is successful, his army will require many weeks to recover from the shock and strain of his late campaign, while Johnson will send back to Bragg a force sufficient to insure the safety of Tennessee.
If Grant fails, the same result will inevitably follow, so far as Bragg's army is concerned.
No man can affirm with certainty the result of any battle, however great the disparity in numbers,--such results are in the hand of God.
But viewing the question in the light of human calculation, I refuse to entertain a doubt that this army, which in January last defeated Bragg's superior numbers, can overwhelm his greatly inferior force.
The most unfavorable course for us that Bragg could take would be to fall back without giving us battle.
But this would be very disastrous to him, besides the loss of material of war and the abandonment of the rich and abundant harvest now nearly ripe in Central Tennessee.
He would lose heavily by desertion.
It is well known that a wide-spread dissatisfaction exists among his Kentucky and Tennessee troops.
They are already deserting in large numbers.
A retreat would greatly increase both the desire and the opportunity for desertion, and would very materially reduce his physical and moral strength.
While it would lengthen our line of communications it would give us possession of McMinnsville, and enable us to threaten Chattanooga and East Tennessee; and
|At Fort Donelson,||1,495|