commanding the Army of the Tennessee, at Huntsville, Major-General Thomas, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, at Chattanooga, and Major-General Schofield, commanding the Army of the Ohio, at Knoxville. We arranged, in general terms, the lines of communication to be guarded, the strength of the several columns and garrisons, and fixed the first day of May as the time when all things should be ready. Leaving these officers to complete the details of organization and preparation. I returned to Nashville on the second of April, and gave my personal attention to the question of supplies. I found the depots at Nashville abundantly supplied, and the railroads in very fair order, and that steps had already been taken to supply cars and locomotives to fill the new and increased demands of the service, but the impoverished condition of the inhabitants of East Tennessee, more especially in the region round about Chattanooga, had forced the commanding officers of posts to issue food to the people. I was compelled to stop this, for a simple calculation showed that a single railroad could not feed the armies and the people too, and, of course, the army had the preference, but I endeavored to point the people to new channels of supply. At first my orders operated very hardly, but the prolific soil soon afforded early vegetables, and ox-wagons hauled meat and bread from Kentucky, so that no actual suffering resulted, and I trust that those who clamored at the cruelty and hardships of the day have already seen in the result a perfect justification of my course. At once the storehouses at Chattanooga began to fill, so that by the 1st of May a very respectable quantity of food and forage had been accumulated there, and from that day to this stores have been brought forward in wonderful abundance, with a surplus that has enabled me to feed the army well during the whole period of time, although the enemy has succeeded more than once in breaking our road for many miles at different points. During the month of April I received from Lieutenant-General Grant a map, with a letter of instructions, which is now at Nashville, but a copy will be procured, and made part of this report. Subsequently I received from him notice that he would move from his camps about Culpepper, Virginia, on the fifth of May, and he wanted me to do the same from Chattanooga. My troops were still dispersed, and the cavalry, so necessary to our success, was yet collecting horses at Nicholasville, Kentucky, and Columbus, Tennessee. On the twenty-seventh of April I put all the troops in motion toward Chattanooga, and the next day went there in person. My aim and purpose was to make the Army of the Cumberland fifty thousand men; that of the Tennessee thirty-five thousand, and that of the Ohio fifteen thousand men. These figures were approximated, but never reached; the Army of the Tennessee failing to receive certain divisions that were still kept on the Mississippi, resulting from the unfavorable issue of the Red River expedition. But on the first of May the effective strength of the several armies for offensive purposes was about as follows:
Grand aggregate number of troops, ninety-eight thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven; guns, two hundred and fifty-four.
About these figures have been maintained during the campaign, the number of men joining from furlough and hospitals about compensating for the loss in battle and from sickness.
These armies were grouped on the morning of May sixth as follows: That of the Cumberland at and near Ringgold; that of the Tennessee at Gordon's Mill, on the Chickamauga; and that of the Ohio near Red Clay, on the Georgia line, north of Dalton.
The enemy lay in and about Dalton, superior to me in cavalry (Wheeler's), and with three corps of infantry and artillery, viz: Hardee's, Hood's and Polk's, the whole commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston, of the Confederate Army.
I estimated the cavalry under Wheeler at about ten thousand, and the infantry and artillery at about forty-five or fifty thousand men.
To strike Dalton in front was impracticable, as it was covered by an inaccessible ridge known as the Rocky-Face, through which was a pass between Tunnel Hill and Dalton, known as the Buzzard Roost, through which lay the railroad and wagon-road.
It was narrow, well obstructed by abatis, and flooded by water, caused by dams across Mill Creek.
Batteries also commanded it in its whole length, from the spurs on either side, and more especially from a ridge at the further end, like a traverse, directly across its debouche.
It was, therefore, necessary to turn it. On its north front the enemy had a strong line of works behind Mill Creek, so that my attention
|Army of the Cumberland, Major-General Thomas commanding.|
|Army of the Tennesse, Major-General M'Pherson commanding.|
|Army of the Ohio, Major-General Schofield commanding.|