to seek some relief from the toils which have made him an old man in the short space of one year. If it be his friends who have started this discussion, they are doing him great injustice, and, so far as I am concerned, I can only say to them the records here will show with what regret I parted with their chief, and how ardently I hoped for his restoration, that he might resume the position he had filled so honorably. I still hope that when his health is restored he may return to this command, for my poor abilities will still be taxed to the fullest extent in rendering him that aid he has ever candidly asked and cordially received. No less sensible than others to the personal advantages of my present position, I still feel more for the success of our cause than for myself. Having so far, without a murmur, labored somewhat in obscurity, though I feel not without some success, you will find me among the last to seek or receive advancement at the expense of a brother soldier, especially when he deserves and possesses my confidence and gratitude. Excuse this hasty and rambling note, but I could not pass the occasion without thanking you. Truly your friend,
It is reported Buell is returning this side the Tennessee, and that Curtis has reached Helena safely, instead of being captured. If both be true, our hands will soon be full.
East Tennessee, to join with Smith's twenty thousand and take the offensive. My reasons are, Smith is so weak as to give me great uneasiness for the safety of his line—to lose which would be a great disaster. They refuse to aid him from the east or south, and put the whole responsibility on me. To aid him at all from here necessarily renders me too weak for the offensive against Halleck, with at least sixty thousand strongly intrenched in my front. With the country between us reduced almost to a desert by two armies and a drought of two months, neither of us could well advance in the absence of railroad transportation. It seemed to me then, I was reduced to the defensive altogether, or to the move I am making. By throwing my cavalry forward towards Grand Junction and Tuscumbia, the impression is created that I am advancing on both places, and they are drawing in to meet me. The Memphis and Charleston Road has been kept cut, so they have no use of it, and have at length given it up. Before they can know my movement, I shall be in front of Buell at Chattanooga, and, by cutting off his transportation, may have him in a tight place.