by John Beauchamp Jones
MARCH 17TH.—Bright, clear, and pleasant; frosty in the morning.
Letters from Lieut.-Gen. Hood to the President, Gen Bragg, and the Secretary of War, give a cheering account of Gen. Johnston’s army at Dalton. The men are well fed and well clothed. They are in high spirits, “and eager for the fray.” The number is 40,000. Gen. H. urges, most eloquently, the junction of Polk’s and Loring’s troops with these, making some 60,000,—Grant having 50,000,—and then uniting with Longstreet’s army, perhaps 30,000 more, and getting in the rear of the enemy. He says this would be certain to drive Grant out of Tennessee and Kentucky, and probably end the war. But if we lie still, Grant will eventually accumulate overwhelming numbers, and penetrate farther; and if he beats us, it would be difficult to rally again for another stand, so despondent would become the people.
Gen. Hood deprecates another invasion of Pennsylvania, which would be sure to result in defeat. He is decided in his conviction that the best policy is to take the initiative, and drive the enemy out of Tennessee and Kentucky, which could be accomplished to a certainly.