HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT, Numbers 2.
Memphis, Tenn., July 28, 1861.
Honorable L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War:
I had the honor of addressing you a few days ago, informing you of a movement I was contemplating on Missouri. I submitted a statement of what I understood to be the force which had been collected by Generals McCulloch and Pearce, of Arkansas, General Price, of Missouri, and General Hardee. The information submitted was based, as far as the commands of the first three generals are concerned, on information I obtained from Governor Jackson, of Missouri, who came directly from their respective camps. The force under General Hardee I obtained from a letter from himself. Upon the supposition that this information was correct it was that my letter containing the plan of campaign I submitted was written. Since dispatching that letter I have directed General Pillow to move a column of 6,000 across the river to New Madrid. The details of the movement have been left to him, and the force employed were exclusively those hitherto belonging to his command. Part were taken from Randolph and part from Union City. General Cheatham accompanied him, and I have ordered General Clark to move up from Corinth to Union City the two Mississippi regiments at that place to replace those withdrawn, and himself to replace General Cheatham in the command of that post. I have not as yet heard from General Pillow the result of the movement beyond Randolph. The boats with troops form that point left there last night.
Since yesterday I have had to arrive at headquarters the gentleman who is the bearer of this, Colonel Little, adjutant-general of the forces of Missouri. He comes directly from General Price's camp. From him I learn that the force stated to be under the command of the respective generals above, as stated by Governor Jackson, is greatly exaggerated, to the extent, indeed, of one-half. As a military man he would of course be likely to be more accurate than the governor, and his position of adjutant would compel him to know the extent of his own immediate force. The governor, I do not doubt, was deceived, and withdal not perhaps very critical as to details.
This abatement of the force disposable for the invasion of Missouri has caused me to pause in the execution of the plan indicated. I shall proceed to fortify my position at New Madrid, with the view of making it a base of operations, and will move forward as soon as circumstances will allow.
My opinion is, nevertheless, that now is the time to operate in Missouri, if we are to do anything towards setting her on her feet again; and I am also satisfied that the enemy in Virginia will be content for some months to come with their experiences at Manassas, and that they will make no forward movement there very soon. That will set them free to act in the West, and they will most probably commence active operations in Missouri. In that event we must have additional troops, and I submit whether I be not authorized to collect a force in Tennessee and from the States below sufficient to enable us to act vigorously in Missouri, while we maintain a strong position in front of Kentucky, ready for any contingency that may arise in that quarter. I shall find no difficulty in getting the force I need around me if I had the requisite authority.* The was to effect it is simply to say to picked men that if they will raise regiments they shall be mustered into the Confederate service. I am taking measures to collect arms dispersed through the
*Answered August 8. See Chap. XII, Series I, Vol. IV.