not prudent for us to constrain him by your decision to act against his positively expressed opinion in a matter involving the safety of the force under his command. Anxious as I have been and am still to advance, such is the conclusion at which I have arrived, after much reflection upon the subject; and on lat night I followed Colonel Borland (who had left) with a dispatch to General Hardee, in which I said to him substantially the conclusion at which I had arrived, viz, that he must be the best judge of his ability to advance, and that if his opinion was clear that he could not advance with safety to his command, I was unwilling that he should do so under my advice, and that I felt satisfied you would not have him come forward at the risk of his command and in opposition to his own judgment. This much I felt upon refection it was my duty to say, and I fel persuaded you will approve. I directed Hardee to advise me at the earliest possible moment of his conclusion. In the mean time I have suspend any advance until I can hear from Hardee, and I have ordered my advance to take position behind a strong point at the causeway across the heads of the swamp, 4 miles this side of Benton, and at Sikeston, as a matter of precaution.
On my return last night I found General Cheathem strongly opposed to moving upon the Cape, and he said the commanders of his regiments were also, believing that the position was one of too great exposure, and that the enemy could too readily two upon us at that place an overwhelming and crushing force. During my absence down the river Cheatham had received similar letters from Colonels Smith and Wright, who were with Colonel McCown, in the advance. All these considerations induce me to hesitate and to doubt the conclusion to which I had arrived, and to submit the whole matter to you for reconsideration and for your instructions. Without the co-operation of Hardee's force, my judgment has been all the while against the movement; and I must confess that with Hardee and Borland both expressing the opinion that he cannot advance to join me, and that in doing so he endangers the whole force to be cut up by a flank attack or an attack upon his rear while marching, I think that it is upon the whole best to let Hardee decide what he can do; and if he says he cannot advance with safety to his command, in that event the movement against the Cape had better be suspended. In that event I think his force should be brought over to the over front and occupy this place and fortify it in conjunction with your works at Numbers 10, while your won force could be disposed the more effectually to protect the river and interior of Tennessee, and after strongly fortifying Island Numbers 10 you may see the way open to fortify Columbus.
My opinion is well matured and settled in all I have said above, except that the remarks of the last paragraph are thrown out as suggestions, not as matured opinions, for your consideration.
My opinion is that Hardee will not advance, and therefore I regard this dispatch as presenting for your consideration the question as to what shall be my future position.
Borland said to me distinctly that while he believed Hardee would make the attempt under your decision, yet that he knew it was against his (H.'s) judgment, and that he did not see how he could accomplish the movement.
In regard to the appointments made by Colonel McCown, I would remark that appointments made by him under our law of organization I think are valid until the law ceases to be of force. That law is in force until the transfer is completed in all its arms. These appointments were all made before the muster up here was completed. The appointments