Head Quarters, Mil. Div. of the Miss.
Nashville Ten. Feb.y 12th 1864,
MAJ. GEN. H. W. HALLECK,
GEN. IN CHIEF, WASHINGTON,
I have got Gen. Thomas ready to move with a force of about 14.000 Infantry, into East Tennessee to aid the forces there in expelling Longstreet from the state. He would have started on Monday next if I had not revoked the order. My reasons for doing this are these: Gen. Foster who is now, here (or only left this morning, ) says that our possession of the portion of East Ten. is perfectly secure against all danger. The condition of the people within the rebel lines cannot be improved now after loosing all they had. Keeping Longstreet where he is makes more secure other parts of our possessions. Our men from scanty clothing and short rations are not in good condition for an advance. There are but very few Animals in East Tennessee in condition to move Artillery or other stores. If we move against Longstreet with an overwhelmming force he will simply fall back towards Va. until he can be reinforced or take up an impregnable position. The country being exhausted all our supplies will have to be carried from Knoxville the whole distance advanced. We would be obliged to advance rapidly and return soon whether the object of the expedition was accomplished or not. Longstreet could return with impunity on the heels of our returning column, at least as far down the valley as he can supply himself from the road in his rear. Schofield telegraphs to the same effect. All these seem to be good reasons for abandoning the movement and I have therefore suspended it. Now that our men are ready for an advance however I have directed it to be made, on Dalton, and hope to get possession of that place and hold it as one step towards a Spring campaign.
Our troops in East Tennessee are now clothed. Rations are also accumulating. When Foster left most of the troops had ten days