War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0798 OPERATIONS IN KY.,TENN.,N. ALA.,AND S. W. VA. Chapter XVII.

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COLUMBUS, KY., December 27, 1861.

General COOPER:

I am informed that you instructed the ordnance officer at Memphis to issue no arms to twelve-months' volunteers. I have eight or ten regiments of that description of troops mow at hand and not one for the war. These troops both General Johnston and myself are in pressing need of. Cannot the exigency authorize the suspension of your rule? Please answer immediately.

L. POLK.

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, WESTERN DEPARTMENT, Columbus, Ky., December 27, 1861.

To the PRESIDENT:

SIR: The bearers, Captains Townsend and Montgomery, come to me most highly recommended, and from the character of their indorser I am induced to place great confidence in their judgment and full reliance in their statements.

The nature of their proposed enterprise I leave to their verbal communication for a better development and more perfect understanding. In view, however, of the immense flotilla of gunboats and mortar batteries, so thoroughly armed and equipped and so perfect in all its appointments, with which the enemy are prepared to descend the Mississippi, I deem it highly important that we should resort to any and every scheme that is at all feasible to thwart their purposes and defeat their designs.

Such is the emergency in which I find myself at this time placed that I can but advise the careful consideration of any enterprise which purposes for its end our relief from their force afloat.

With the enemy in possession of the river the injury we shall sustain is incalculable, and I can conceive no men more capable of coping with such a force than the boatmen of the Mississippi.

With your knowledge of the daring and bravery of thus captains, pilots, and men that live on this river, I think you will sustain me in this opinion. These gentlemen propose to organize a considerable force of these people, and with such material to execute their designs I think most favorable results can be anticipated.

Their views in regard to an independent organization and action, in order to give greater efficiency to the undertaking, has impressed me very strongly, and I can but urge the reasonableness of their demand and the adoption of their views in this respect.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. POLK,

Major-General, Commanding.

KNOXVILLE, December 27, 1861.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN:

Ramsay entered a nolle prosequi in Brownlow's case. I hold him in custody by advice of Colonel Leadbetter, to be sent beyond our lines or otherwise, as you may instruct.

G. H. MONSARRAT,

Captain Artillery, Commanding Post.

Approved:

D. LEADBETTER,

Colonel. P. A. C. S.