from the bursting of a gun. When asked if he considered the defenses of the Tennessee River safe, he answered, without hesitation, he did not. He said they were as good as could be constructed in the time allowed and with the means afforded, and most cheerfully accepted the tender of aid which we were sent to make. Order was sent to Captain Dixon, an able engineer, to project the works required, and we now come to you for several thousand volunteers, to be stationed on the Tennessee River-5,000, if they can be raised, and as many negro men as can be raised.
To give efficiency to our work, General Samuel D. Weakley, our charman, has been appointed aide-de-camp to the commanding officer of the department, and charged specially with the duty of mustering in the troops and serving as the military head until the corps shall be regularly organized.
We propose to raise a reigment of men past middle life to serve during the emergency, but the younger men will be enrolled for twelve months. The whole force we must arms with shot-guns and rifles, with which a strongly-fortified position can be defended as perfectly as with musket and bayonet, for the bayonet cannot be used here. We have applied to the Governor to have an act passed for the purchase of arms and their compress meant when necessary, and giving power to impress negro men, when necessary, to labor on the public works.
We have no expectation that force will be necessary, however. We expect a community so patriotic as our to furnish their private arms for the public service or become volunteers and use them. The impression that many men have that they will be more secure by retaining their arms for their personal defense is a great error. The true policy for Southern people is to keep the enemy at a distance. If he is suffered to penetrate into the interior we shall find our private arms of little benefit, and concerted action for self-defense becomes impracticable. In this hour of our peril the man who loves his family best provides for their safety by meeting the enemy on the threshold of the country.
The enemy is preparing a great expedition by land and water against our forces on the Mississippi River. The position of our army at Columbus is one of great strength, but unless it is properly sustained on its flanks and the communication on its rear preserved, the result might be a disaster involving the loss of our army there, with all its arms, artillery, and munitions, the consequences of which would be the command by the foe of this great river, the destruction of the town upon it, the loss if immense property, and the isolation of all the States west of the Mississippi from us.
A strong work and competent force on the Tennessee River is considered by every general at Columbus as a measure of great importance, not only to the security of North Alabama and North Mississippi, but of the Memphis and Charleston and Mobile and Ohio Railroads, and also preserving communication between our forces at Bowling Green and Columbus, and that no time is to be lost in occupying the position. We purpose to do so and at once.
William Dickson, of Franklin County, has been appointed quartermaster, and John t. Abernathy, of Lawrence Country, commissary, and the plan is fully matured, and the comfort of the volunteers and laborers will be provided for.
If our people at home were convinced, as we are, that a deadly struggle for our homes and property is impending, that the enemy in a few days will put forth his whole strength for our subjugation, they would rally en masse for the public defense.