Nashville February 28th 1864.
MAJ GENERAL GEO H THOMAS
Between this time and the commencement of the active spring campaign it will be necessary to get new guards for the road from Columbia to Stevenson via Decatur so as to relieve Sherman's force for the field. Guarding that line protects the other to a great extent and will of course enable you to reserve many of your present rail‐ road guards. Make an estimate as soon as you can of the force that can be got in the way here suggested and what new force in addition will be required to enable you to keep your present organization in the field.
U. S. GRANT
Telegram, copies, DLC-USG, V, 34, 35; DNA, RG 393, Military Div. of the Miss., Letters Sent; ibid., Dept. of the Cumberland, Telegrams Received. O. R., I, xxxii, part 2, 490. On Feb. 28, 1864, Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas twice telegraphed to USG, the second time at 9:00 P. M. "Genl. Butterfield by my direction has recently examined the line between here, and Nashville, and reports that he thinks six thousand men will be sufficient to guard that line, two Regiments of which force should be Cavalry. From what I know of the road between Nashville, and Decatur, two thousand Infy, and two thousand Cavalry will be sufficient to protect that line. One Thousand Infantry will be sufficient to protect the line from Athens to Stevenson. Possibly both lines of communication can be guarded by Six Thousand Infantry, and Two Thousand Cavalry, a great portion of which should be made up from the local militia of Tenn. or troops organized especially for the preservation of order in the State. I believe, if I can commence the campaign with the 14th, and 4th Corps in front with Howard's Corps in reserve, that I can move along the line of the R. R., and overcome all opposition as far at least as Atlanta. I should want a strong Division of Cavalry in Advance. As soon as Capt. Merrill returns from his reconnoisance along the R. R. lines, I can give you a definite estimate of the number of troops required to guard the bridges along the road." Copies, DNA, RG 393, Dept. of the Cumberland, Telegrams Sent; ibid., Military Div. of the Miss., Telegrams Received. O. R., I, xxxii, part 2, 489. "I have caused a thorough examination of the Rail Road between this and Tunnell Hill to be made— The officer reports that with four hundred of Col. McCallums construction corps the road can be put in complete running order in six weeks from the time they commence Genl Baird is now at Ringgold and the whole of the road in his rear is protected so this party can commence work immediately The road