War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0767 Chapter XVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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the following reasons: They are different size bore, which renders it impossible to get ammunition suitable. Many of the locks are in bad order; some entirely worthless; some without reamers, and none of them fit for use. The springs upon the bayonets are worthless, being made of iron, when they ought to be steel. They will have to be almost entirely refitted.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Ordnance Officer.

PRESTONBURG, KY., December 13, 1861.

General A. SIDNEY JOHNSTON, Bowling Green:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report to you that I have arrived at this place, now some days since, and have encamped in this vicinity with the small command under my charge. I stated in my first letter to you that it was the design of the Department of War, in giving me this command, that it should be a separate command, subject only to your own orders, and that I was instructed to report to you for instructions. Subsequently I received from Major-General Crittenden a brief mortification that he assumed command of these forces, &c. I applied through a friend to the Department to know if the understanding with me was so soon set aside, and I learn in reply that-

It was not the instruction of the Department to assign your (my) district to the command of Major-General Crittenden. You (I) were to report to General A. S. Johnston, to be subject to his orders, and to the orders of no other general, unless they came through or from him. * * * You are to obey no orders from any other officer of superior rank except Johnston, unless first notified by the Department of your being put under his command. I am informed by Mr. Benjamin that the appointment of Major-General Crittenden was not intended to interfere with your sphere of duty or efficiency in accomplishing your object. It is the wish of the Department that you (I) should strengthen your column to be utmost of your ability, &c.

The foregoing extracts are from a letter to me written by Honorable A. H. Stephens, Vice-President, as the result of his conversations with the Secretary of War touching my position here and the conditions under which I was placed here. I may as well remark here, general, that had I been offered a commission of brigadier in a column of Major-General Crittenden I should not have accepted it; and my entry was upon the basis that I was to have the conduct of a column subject to your orders, which subalternship was perfectly agreeable to me.

I hope with this frank explanation that it will be agreeable to you to permit me to increase the capacity of this column to the utmost of my ability, assured that it will always afford me satisfaction to co-operate with Major-General Crittenden, or any other officer having charge of the public interest, in promoting the welfare of the service.

I received, through Major-General Crittenden, your telegram asking for all the men I could spare without stripping the command to its ruin, and I placed the Fifty-sixth Virginia Regiment at the discretion of General Crittenden, though in extreme risk of ruining the command, whether it is actually employed or not, and to the utter prevention of any large enterprise on my part. I have now only about 1,250 men with me. Moore's regiment has not yet passed Clinch River, and it is said will not unless the men are first paid. I think it is a great pity that I have not strength enough to penetrate to Mount Sterling and hold it. It would at once call off from your line a much large number of men than I employ. If you can let Colonel Stuart's regiment return I