Efforts have been incessantly made by me for the last four months to augment my force in the different army corps to an adequate degree of strength, but while the Governors of States have seconded my appeals, the response has been feeble, perhaps because the people did not feel or understand the great exigency that exists. I have again to-day urged most earnestly the Governors of Mississippi and Tennessee to send me re-enforcements, for a company now is worth a regiment next year, and if our force can be increased to one-half of that of the enemy the frontier of Tennessee will be safe and shall be successfully defended here.
In conclusion, I would respectfully request that the Government will earnestly and zealously aid me in my efforts to procure additional re-enforcements by communications addressed to the Governors of Tennessee and Mississippi and elsewhere, and that every influence should be brought to bear to convince them and their gallant people that a decisive battle must probably be fought here for the freedom of the South, and that every man sent forward here is of importance to the Confederacy.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
A. S. JOHNSTON,
General, C. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, Bowling Green, Ky., December 25, 1861.
His Excellency ISHAM G. HARRIS,
Governor of Tennessee:
SIR: The present situation of affairs is such that I deem it necessary to call the attention of your excellency to it in connection with the movements which the enemy meditate towards Tennessee. My information continues to convince me that a heavy concentration of force on this line has been made to invade Tennessee on the route to Nashville.
The troops of Western Virginia and Eastern Kentucky have been withdrawn and ordered upon the line in my front. These regiments, with large re-enforcements from Ohio, Indiana, and other Northwestern States, have been assembled, and the estimates from the most reliable sources show that General Buell has about 75,000 men, probably more, at his disposition, while the effective force here at my command does not exceed 17,000 men. In order to render these equal to the duty of preserving our frontier and protecting Nashville, I have used every precaution, and feel sanguine that by the dispositions of the last few months they can be made to hold in check double their number. Bowling Green, naturally strong, has been well entrenched. Columbus Fort, with its garrison and troops on that front guarding the Mississippi, renders the lower valley comparatively secure, and General Zollicoffer, on the Cumberland, protects East Tennessee from invasion and possible revolt, which would destroy our communications between the Mississippi and Atlantic States and inflict great injury.
These dispositions will foil the designs of the enemy on East Tennessee and defeat or retard his design to descend the Mississippi this winter. The vulnerable point is by the line from Louisville towards Nashville, and the Northern generals are evidently aware of it. In order to obtain additional strength I ordered Major Gilmer, my chief engineer, to go to Nashville and arrange defensive works for its protec-