miles south of Mayfield. I have no authority to order you, but would like to have you march in haste to my support with such strength as you can command, leaving a guard in support of your camp.
J. L. ALCORN,
I will move with all my force towards Mayfield, supposing it will be right, and will of course obey any order you may send me.
J. H. MILLER,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Post.
HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Bowling Green, Ky., December 30, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of the 22nd instant.
The enemy have made no forward movement since my last communication, nor have I any information of any change in the position of their troops since then. The positions of our troops as heretofore indicated remain unchanged, except the substitution of Biffle's battalion of Tennessee cavalry for the Eighth Regiment Texas Cavalry (late Terry's), which it was necessary to withdraw to rest and improve the condition of their horses and put the regiment in a better condition. They have been reduced to less than half their original number by deaths, sickness, &c. Their ranks at their new camp, 10 miles south of this, will fill up rapidly by the men returning to duty from the hospital.
I have this morning received the Treasurer's draft for $16,000, in addition to $5,000 heretofore received.
In explanation of the ambiguous telegram received by you, I have to say that the number of troops mentioned were intended to indicate all that could possibly be available for any movement against the enemy after leaving a force for the defense of this place, about 5,000, which, from the extended circuit of our works, is too small. They require a large force to support them. The troops from Columbus are beginning to arrive, viz: Colonel Martin's First Mississippi,* 496 aggregate; Colonel Williams' Twenty-seventh Tennessee, 580 aggregate; Colonel Schaller's Twenty-second Mississippi, 519 aggregate; Major Hardcastle's Mississippi battalion, three companies, 235 aggregate; Captain Miller's company (I), artillery, 70 aggregate; Captain Brien's company, 120 aggregate; Captain Hunt's company, 79; 2,099 total aggregate. These troops are now encamped here. My force is about 19,000, of all arms.
I inclose to you, I do not doubt, an accurate statement of the troops under General Buell's command, brought to me the day before yesterday from Louisville. It was much defaced, but the most important matter is legible. I also inclose copy of telegram from General Clark, stationed at Hopkinsville, reporting a conflict between a detachment of Colonel Forrest's cavalry and cavalry force of the enemy on the 28th instant, which resulted in the defeat of the enemy, as detailed in the telegram.#
*Probably Twenty-fifth Mississippi, afterwards know as the Second Confederate Regiment.
#Not found, but see p. 64.