Tunnel Hill, May 10, 1864.
Major-General SCHOFIELD,
Commanding Army of the Ohio:
GENERAL: I shall attack Johnston through Snake Creek Gap. I will take your three infantry division along, but for the time will have to leave Stoneman to guard the point now occupied by you and to keep u a delusion as long as possible. I propose to leave Howard here so light and so familiar with the ground the Johnston cannot strike him. I have made some orders accordingly, and without attracting too much attention you may prepare to move about the day after to-morrow by Villanow and the gap. It may be necessary to start in the night to avoid being seen. Get all your wagons in the best order possible, and send for Stoneman to come over to seem me. I want to give him some personal instructions. I regret I cannot, under the circumstances, relieve Hovey, because I know General Grant esteems him and gave him the promise of this division. He was peculiarly noted in the affair at Champion’s Hill, and had quite a name as brigadier. I do not propose to keep any supplies here, but to send all that are not issued back to Ringgold, and if the enemy are drawn here we will make short work of them at Dalton. I propose to take McPherson, 23,000, Thomas, 30,000, and you, 12,000, with Garrard’s cavalry at Villanow; McCook between this and Villanow, and Stoneman north of the tunnel. On the contrary, I am glad to have you at all times give me your unqualified opinion freely and frankly. Call in that regiment at Red Clay, and caution the force at Charleston to keep on the north bank and guard the bridge. Thomas will instruct the Cleveland garrison, and I will have a construction train run down to Varnell’s and take up a train-load of iron and run it into Chattanooga, so that the enemy cannot use the road whilst we are south of them. Chattanooga cannot be taken by Johnston with us on his heels. I’ll risk that. I think all the chances are in favor of the move. McPherson is already there. Hooker, has gone in support, and the defenses of Dalton will not avail Johnston if we interpose between him and Georgia. Buzzard Roost is as hard to pass out as in.
I wish you would have Stoneman come to see me the moment you can. He can bring his cavalry near you and send here for corn.
W. T. S.