bridge, and other necessary preparations for the expected campaign.
On March 12 another reconnaissance was made as far as Bull's Gap
, which was found to be still occupied by the enemy, although reliable information indicated that Longstreet
was preparing for, and had perhaps already begun, his movement toward Virginia
Although his force, if concentrated, was much superior to mine, I determined to endeavor to take advantage of his movement to attack his rear.
My advance held Morristown
; all the troops were ordered forward to that place, and preparations made for an attack, when, on the 15th, orders came from General Grant
to send the Ninth Corps to the Army of the Potomac.
Such a reduction of my command, instead of the expected reinforcement, left me wholly unable to do more than observe Longstreet
as he leisurely withdrew from Tennessee
and joined Lee
, and prepare for the campaign of the coning summer, the nature of which I could then only conjecture.
This entire change of program doubtless resulted from the promotion of General Grant
to lieutenant-general and commander-in-chief, and General Sherman
to his place in command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, which occurred at that time.
The change of plans was undoubtedly wise.
The Confederate government could not afford to leave Longstreet
's force in East Tennessee
during the summer.
He must join Lee
before the opening of the summer campaign.
It was not worth while for us to expend time and strength in driving him out, which ought to be devoted to preparations for vastly more important work.
I felt disappointed at the time in not having an opportunity of doing something that would silence my enemies in Washington
, who were not slow to avail themselves of any pretext for hostile action against me. It was not difficult