securing the transportation of the public stores. By the junction of the command of General Crittenden and the fugitives from Fort Donelson, which have been reorganize as far as practicable, the force now under my command will amount to about 17,000 men. General Floyd, with a force of some 2,500 men, has been ordered to Chattanooga, to defend the approaches towards Northern Alabama and Georgia and the communication betweens the Mississippi and Atlantic and with the view to increase his forces by such troops as may be sent forward from the neighboring States.
The quartermaster's, commissary, and ordnance stores which are not required for immediate use have been ordered to Chattanooga, and those which will be necessary on the march have been forewarned to Huntsville and Decatur. I have ordered a depot to be established at Atlanta for the manufacture of supplies for the Quartermaster's Department and also a laboratory for the manufacture of percussion caps and ordnance stores, and at Chattanooga depots for distribution of these supplies. The machinery will be immediately sent forward.
Considering the peculiar topography of this State and the great power which the enemy's means of transportation affords them upon the Tennessee and Cumberland, it will be seen that the force under my command cannot successfully cover the whole line against the advance of the enemy. I am compelled to elect whether he shall be permitted to occupy Middle Tennessee, or turn Columbus, take Memphis, and open the valley of the Mississippi. To me the defense of the valley appears of paramount importance, and, consequently, I will move this corps of the army, of which I have assumed the immediate command, towards the bank of the Tennessee, crossing the river near Decatur, in order to enable me to co-operate or unite with General Beauregard for the defense of Memphis and the Mississippi.
The Department has sent eight regiments to Knoxville for the defense of East Tennessee, and the protection of that region will be confided to them and such additional forces as may be hereafter sent from the adjacent States. General Buckner was ordered by the Department to take command of the troops at Knoxville; but as he was at that time in presence of the enemy, the order was not fulfilled. As it would be almost impossible for me under present circumstances to superintend the operations at Knoxville and Chattanooga, I would respectfully suggest that the local commanders at those points should receive orders from the Department directly or be allowed to exercise their discretion.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. S. JOHNSTON,
General, C. S. Army.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.
Numbers 5. Report of Brigadier General John B. Floyd, C. S. Army.
KNOXVILLE, TENN., March 22, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report in regard to the movements, disposition, and transportation of my command from the date of my arrival at Nashville until I reported to General A. S. Johnston, at Murfreesborough.
I arrived at Nashville on a steamboat, together with a portion of the