Nashville, Tenn. Feby 13, 1864
MAJ. GEN. GEO. H. THOMAS
COMDG. DEPT. CUMBERLAND
Conversation with Foster who has had much better opportunity for knowing the exact state of affairs in East Tennessee satisfies me that all that could be accomplished by the proposed campaign there would not compensate for the hardships upon our men, and the disqualifying effects it would have upon them and our war material, for a spring campaign. All orders therefore for that campaign are revoked. As you have been preparing for a move however, I deem it advisable to make one to your immediate front. The object will be to gain possession of Dalton and as far south as possible. Should you succeed in gaining possession of Dalton, leave there, or at such advanced position as you think can be held, the force necessary for it. They will have to avail themselves of the resources of the country, for subsisting so far as it will supply them, and upon teaming from the nearest point of railroad accessible.
Gen. Logan is now on his way to Chattanooga with sixteen regiments of Infantry. This will enable you to take your whole effective force from Chattanooga. On your return to Chattanooga with a part of your forces, Logan can be relieved and allowed to return to his place on the line of the road between Stevenson and Decatur.
I mark out no line for you to pursue in this expedition, but if the enemy are not much more favorable in numbers than I believe them to be, I would feel no hesitation in marching past all the force they have at Tunnell Hill and Dalton and come in on the railroad to their rear with a force from sixteen to twenty thousand effective fighting men. The Cavalry on the Hiawasse can be ordered to move at the same time towards Spring place, 1 with directions to form a junction if possible