ordered to do so, and will be ordered to join the rest of the command at whatever point I can find supplies convenient or indeed possible. I shall not be surprised to have great trouble with this regiment on account of its removal into Virginia, for the men are nearly all from the mountain counties of Kentucky, and they would prefer, I believe, even to be retreating through the mountains of their own State to any rest which could be offered to them in any other part of the country. I regret to say that this spirit of discontent is not quieted or even allayed by the bearing and conversations of those who have them in immediate charge. In my own judgment the future efficiency of the regiment depends upon its opportunity to be drilled, for it is now entirely undrilled, and has been, since the first enlistment of its soldiers, so constantly on the move that the officers of companies, who all are form the walks of civic life, have had no opportunity to drill in the schools of the company or battalion. You will therefore recognize my solicitude before they are put into the plains, where the exercise might be close and severe, to have a chance to instruct them. It occurs to me that this season is the most propitious I shall have for this purpose, and that the existing status of the enemy and myself affords me more opportunity than I shall have again before the Department will be enabled to give me the re-enforcements I had expected to receive in order to accomplish the purposes I have had so much at heart.
I would not advise another entry into Kentucky from this point until about the 1st of May. The grass will by that time be up and the roads, now nearly impassable, will be good. The policy of the Government will be defensive, I presume, until that time, and that then it will in Kentucky become offensive. Sixty or seventy days to organize the trains, to recruit the horses, to rest and reinvigorate the men, many of whom have coughs, resulting from measles and exposure during the attack of disease, to drill the battalions, to establish proper correspondence with the men of interior Kentucky, to arrange supplies for a march, will not leave me idle or in unprofitable employment.
I will not here dwell on these views, but I request leave, when the regiment shall be posted, to visit Richmond for a few days, in order to have these views laid before the proper authority and to understand what I am to look for in the service for the future.
I inclose a written proposition from Mr. Brashers, the owner of the salt-works near Whitesburg, which I regard as very advantageous to the Government, and which I was at some trouble to secure. May I request an early answer to this communication?
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector-General.
I propose and agree to lease to the Government of the Confederate States of America my tract of land in Perry County, Kentucky, embracing some 4,000 acres, with privilege of using the machinery thereon situated and of making salt there and of cultivating the land, and with the privilege of cutting the timber and mining the coal, for the term of three years, from the 1st day of May next, for the sum of $2,000 for the whole term, payable in equal installments annually, and with power to said Government to assign this lease and to locate troops on the land and otherwise to exercise all acts of ownership for the term through its agents, servants, officers, or assigns.