Two regiments can be organized in East Tennessee, but they will not muster into service for a longer period than twelve months and cannot arm themselves.
There are in the ordnance department for this purpose only some 1,500 country rifles, of various caliber, defective locks, and generally needing repair.
East Tennessee, in the present movement of the enemy down the Mississippi, occupies a position of great strategic importance. An army on the plateau of the Cumberland, ready to debouch toward Nashville, threatens their flank, and in its position alone acts offensively.
If it is intended to retain possession of East Tennessee, if its military resources are to be secured to us, this army must be increased by large and effective re-enforcements. If this cannot be done, immediate measures should be taken for the removal of the bacon and meat stored along the road between Chattanooga and Bristol. That to the east of Knoxville could be sent to Lynchburg and that to the west to Atlanta.
The character of the railroads in East Tennessee and the condition of their rolling stock in such that but little reliance can be placed upon its capacity for removing stores in case of emergency. I repeat, East Tennessee is an enemy's country. The people are against us, and ready to rise whenever an enemy's column makes its appearance. The very troops raised here cannot always be depended upon. They have gone into service, many of them to escape suspicion, prepared to give information to the enemy, and ready to pass over to him when an opportunity offers.
Would it not be well to remove such of the East Tennessee troops as are suspected to a different section of the Confederacy, where in a purer political atmosphere and removed from their present associations they can do little or no harm and may become loyal and good soldiers? In view of the peculiar condition of affairs in this section I believe the public good would be advanced by declaring martial law through the whole District of East Tennessee.
I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., March 21, 1862.
Respectfully returned to the Adjutant-General of the Army.
It is recommended that the bacon and other stores between Chattanooga and Bristol be at once removed, as suggested within, retaining only a sufficiency for the necessary supplies of the army in that locality. Re-enforcements should be sent General Smith as soon as possible, and, if it can be done, it would appear advisable to grant authority for the acceptance of the two regiments for twelve months which he says can be organized in East Tennessee.
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, VA., March 13, 1862.
General HUMPHREY MARSHALL,
Lebanon, Russell County, Va.:
MY DEAR SIR: Immediately after the receipt of your private letter of
21 R R-VOL X, PT II