War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0698 OPERATIONS IN KY.,TENN.,N. ALA.,AND S. W. VA. Chapter XVII.

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HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT,

Bowling Green, Ky., November 24, 1861.

Brigadier General J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,

Commanding, &c., Russellville:

SIR: General Johnston directs you to return to this place with your brigade. You will leave one company of cavalry in the vicinity of Russellville for five or six days, with orders to gain all possible information of the movements of the enemy after your departure and then march for his place.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. W. MACKALL,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

C. S. ENGINEER OFFICE,

Nashville, Tenn., November 24, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel W. W. MACKALL,

Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. West. Dept., Bowling Green, Ky.:

SIR: For the information of the commanding general I inclose a copy of a report just received from Lieutenant Joseph Dixon, C. S. Army, in charge of the defenses at Fort Donelson, with a copy of a telegram from General Pillow, commanding First Division, Western Department, ordering Lieutenant Dixon to proceed to Fort Henry, Tennessee River, and perform certain duties at that place, thereby calling him from the direction of the works (much needed) to which I had assigned him at Fort Donelson.

In regard to labor, I would suggest that the batteries at fort Donelson can be completed sooner by the troops, perhaps, than if an effort were made to collect negroes for the purpose from the surrounding country. With re-enforcements proposed for the garrison the requisite amount of work can well be done by fatigue parties. In imminent danger, the brigadier-general commanding Fort Donelson and Henry might be authorized to pres sall neighborhood negro labor into service, but under other circumstance I do not think that the labor of troops and slaves can be combined to any advantage.

I must respectfully request that the commanding general will establish the channel through which orders and instructions must pass to all persons in the Western Department employed in the direction and construction of defenses. Except in pressing emergencies they should certainly be given through the chief engineer of the department, and the exceptional cases should be at once reported to that office.

With the least delay possible I will send a civil engineer to Fort Henry, who is familiar with the ground around the place and who has been employed heretofore at that work. The local duties can be intrusted to him (Mr. Hayden) by Lieutenant Dixon, who should certainly give his personal supervision to the defenses of the Lower Chamberland until they are in condition to make a respectable resistance.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. F. GILMER,

Major, and Chief Engineer of Western Department.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]

FORT DONELSON, TENN., November 21, 1861.

Major GILMER,

Chief Engineer, Western Department, Bowling Green, Ky.:

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that I have completed the new