drive Longstreet out of the country at least a month earlier. If you can calculate with certainty upon giving me here a sufficient force to insure my success, I think it would be wise by all means to rendezvous a force of Infantry & Artillery at Camp Nelson for the purpose you suggest. But if there is any doubt of your ability to make this column strong enough to act independently of the other it would be better to concentrate the troops you propose to give me at Carthage. From that place they can be brought to this at any time I may require them. In view of the considerations I have presented, I must leave it to you General, to decide what course is to be pursued. At present I am entirely unable to determine what can be done by Sturgis' Cavalry. I am informed it is now scattered all over Kentucky and Sturgis gone north. I am making every effort to get it together and prepare it for service. I have very little information about the enemy force in South West Virginia and am not able to judge whether Cavalry alone would be able to penetrate to the rail road. If they did it would probably be much more difficult to get back after they had accomplished the work assigned them. I will write you more fully upon this matter as soon as I can get further information." LS, DNA, RG 94, War Records Office, Military Div. of the Miss. O. R., I, xxxii, part 2, 446-47.
Feb.y 16th 1864.
Your very welcom letter was received by due course of Mail and read with great interest and full intention to answer it right off. But since that time I have been moving about so much that I have neglected it. I have often wished that I could have you here to run the machinery of your department. This was on account of old acquaintance however. The Quartermaster's Dept. here has been well and satisfactorily managed so far as the heads are concerned. I did once apply to have you sent here as chief 1 but it was thought you could not be spared from where you are. I have never had any cause of complaint either on account of deficiency in the Staff Deptmts or embarassments trown in the way by the Authorities at Washington. The fact is I believe complaints are generally made to shift responsibility of inaction from commanders to Staff