[from our own Correspondent.]
The good weather continues, and the roads have improved very much.
The nights are cold and frosty, and the days bright and sunny, with just enough of sharpness in the atmosphere to render exercise pleasant and to make one feel as if he would enjoy a march of fifteen or twenty miles over the frozen roads.
It is not probable that Gen. Bragg
and Gen. Thomas
will fall to avail themselves of the good weather, if either of them contemplates active operations.
We know that Sherman
, Who commands the Federal
auxiliary Army of the Tennessee, has reached Huntsville
, on his way to join the Army of the Cumberland, at Chattanooga
He undertook to repair the Memphis and Charleston Railroad as he advanced; but the destruction of the track by Lee
's and Roddy
's cavalry, who fell back before him, was so complete that he finally abandoned the work, crossed the Tennessee river
, and marched across the country to Huntsville
, where he had arrived at our last advices.
By adopting this plan he will be able to reach Bridgeport
sooner than was anticipated at the time I last referred to his movements.
Indeed, it is now believed that he will succeed in forming a junction with General Thomas
by the end of the present month, soon after which it is not improbable that a forward-movement will be undertaken, with the hope, it may be, of occupying the country lying north and west of the west branch of the Chickamauga
, preparatory to an invasion of Georgia
early next spring. --Should such be the expectation of the enemy we have no fears that Burnside
will be able to join in the movement this winter.
has already taken steps to completely checkmate the Federals
in East Tennessee
This they know by this time quite as well as we do.
Reference was made in my last letter to the condition of the horses in this army, and to the accessibly of exercising care and economy in the use of them, especially in view of the large numbers that have been destroyed during the war and of the present limited supply.
This necessity grows stronger every day, being in proportion to the loss of animal in the service, the further contraction of our available territory, and the rapid deterioration of our railways.
Every possible effort should be made, therefore, to preserve the horses we have and to increase the stock; and, to this end, teamsters, artillerists, cavalrymen, and all those persons having horses in the service, should be required to take as good care of them as possible, while all broad mares should be exempted from impressment.
If necessary, orders to this effect should be issued from the War Office, and all mounted officers instructed to see that they are obeyed.
In the meantime, every facility should be extended to farmers and others who may desire to engage in the business of raising horses and mules.
An impressment of horses for this army was recently ordered in Georgia
The horses were much needed at the time, but could not the demand have been supplied from other sources, and that, too, without increasing the number of horses to be fed?
The custom prevails in this army of allowing all general officers above brigadiers to have escorts.
There is one Major General
who is reported to have an escort of forty mounted men, and another one an escort of one hundred and twenty-five.
who was lately here is said to have had an escort twice as numerous as the latter.
Some have one number, and some another, according to their fancy or vanity, as you please.
In other words, we have Bashaws with one tail, and Bashaws with two talls, and Bashaws with three talls.
These cavalcades have their regular officers, and consequently we hear of "Majors
of Horse" and "Captains
of Horse" --officers wholly unknown to the law. Indeed, so universal has this practice become that one seldom meets an officer riding alone.
Nearly all of them have one or more orderlies following after them, including captains and majors of artillery, quartermasters, commissaries, &c.
is entitled to and requires an escort, especially in time of battle, when it is necessary for him to communicate frequently with all parts of the field; but no other officer not exercising a separate command does need an escort.
Why then should not these kites be shorn of their talls, these gentry dismounted, and trusty muskets placed in their hands, and their horses turned over to the artillery companies and the Quartermaster's Department?
Such caudal appendages are of no sort of use, either to the officers who fly them or to the army.
On the contrary, the horses have to be fed, and their riders subsisted and paid, just as at they rendered the most valuable service; while wagons and teams, which might otherwise be profitably employed, are required to transport their supplies and camp equipment.
Indeed, they are an offence in the eyes of the brave men who for nearly three years have carried their muskets, and our cause itself, upon their heroic shoulders — a scandalous exhibition of military vanity, which, though pardonable under some circumstances, is wholly out of place at a time like this.
Instead, therefore, of ordering the late impressment of horses, it would have been wiser to have dismounted these gentry.
Such escorts are unknown in the army of Northern Virginia. Gen'l Lee
alone in the army has an escort — a small one--which never goes with him except in battle, when the men are used as couriers; all other General officers
are restricted to the legal number of orderly, or couriers as we call them.
If the reform were carried still further, and officers were restricted to one or two horses at most, it would be all the better; not merely because the number of horses is rapidly diminishing, but on account of the limited supply of forage and means of transportation.
It is no longer a matter of choice but necessity.
I am glad to add, upon the authority of one likely to be well informed, that the matter of the supply of horses is already engaging the attention of Gen. Bragg