our endeavors to reinstate the Constitution and laws over our distressed country.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
WASHINGTON, February 4, 1862.
General GEORGE H. THOMAS, Commanding:
DEAR GENERAL: You will need no assurance that I was delighted at the intelligence conveyed by your letter of the 22nd ultimo,* more than confirming what had been matter of rumors. During a conference with the Secretary of War the morning after I received it I read it to him. At his request I left it in his hands and he has just returned it after retaining a copy. Hence my delay in replying.
You have undoubtedly fought the great battle of the war. The country is still reverberating the shout of victory. The more we hear of the engagement the greater its magnitude appears.
I was much gratified to learn to-night from Mr. Speed, of Louisville, that you had sent Generals Schoepf and Boyle forward to Monticello with a large force, and that you were yourself actively engaged in pushing forward a column into Eastern Tennessee, for I know well enough that, winter though it is, rough as the ways are, you will not stop until Knoxville is in your possession and that line of railroad in your grip.
The advance into that region will necessarily involve some measures looking to the civil administration of the country. The mails should go simultaneously with the troops, and yet care should be taken that the rebels should not be benefited thereby. Trade, too, will naturally follow, to a limited extent at least; the Union people should as far as practicable be relieved from the inconvenience to which they have been subjected by the double rigors of external circumvallation by the Government and of domestic oppression by the secession, domination, but care must be taken that it be not made a medium of contraband operations.
To look after these matters properly you might, I should think, employ with advantage some civilians, particularly some of the residents, being careful to select only persons both intelligent and reliable.
I am exceedingly anxious to be with you, but matters of great moment are just now before Congress, and seeing how partially our part of the country is represented in it, I dislike to leave.
Your own views on these matters would greatly interest me, and I beg you will favor me with them.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. S.-Yesterday the Senate confirmed your nomination as brigadier-general.
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE,
Camp Buell, February 4, 1862.
Colonel D. W. LINDSEY,
Commanding Twenty-second Kentucky Volunteers:
You will immediately move your command to Piketon, and select some good place for a temporary camp a short distance away from the
* Not found.