Owens will, however return to this place in a week or ten days, and until we conclude our arrangements as to the assets of the bank, I wish you to hold possession of them in the name of the Provisional Government of Kentucky.
With great respect,
GEORGE W. JOHNSON.
HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Bowling Green, Ky., January 5, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th ultimo.
The positions of the enemy's forces and those of the Confederacy stand relatively as reported in my last letter. Since then the force here has been re-enforced by the arrival of the remainder of General Floyd's brigade (except the batteries and two regiments which are at Nashville), and my whole force here may now be estimated at 23,000. I hope after a while, when the officers shall have the opportunity to learn their duties, to be able to send accurate returns as often as may be desirable.
I desire to ask your attention to the vast and methodized preparation of the Northern Government to carry on the war against the Confederacy with a purpose as inflexible as malignant. Their large and well-appointed army, only now held back till the highest point of efficiency is attained by instruction and discipline, must make every patriot contemplate its forward movement with apprehension for the safety of the country, unless, awakened to the peril which menaces it, we make a corresponding effort to meet their force and beat them back by an immediate development and application of all the military resources of the country, both of material and men, to that purpose. The rapid and energetic concentration of the power of the country to meet the mighty exigencies of the present moment must be brought to bear to sustain our cause, which every one feels will justify every sacrifice for its attainment.
In the great question of liberty and national existence the magnitude of them will I hope suggest to the wisdom of the representatives (of the people) the necessity of augmenting the executive authority sufficiently to meet the occasion which now urgently calls for its exercise.
If necessary, let us convert our country into one vast camp of instructions for the field of every man able to bear arms, and fix our military establishment upon a permanent basis. Whenever a people will make the necessary sacrifices to maintain their liberty they need have no fear of losing it.
General Polk asks to be re-enforced by McCulloch's command, which he thinks is necessary to replace Thompson's force at New Madrid, which he says is disbanded. He says McCulloch's force is 10,000 men, now in winter quarters. I have been unable to obtain any report from that command, and do not know its number and condition, and therefore, instead of giving any orders myself, request (presuming the Department informed) that, if McCulloch's force cannot be employed in co-operation with General Price's, which the severity of the winter in North Missouri would probably prevent, one-half of the force be ordered to New Madrid. The occupation of New Madrid by the enemy would enable him to turn our defenses at Island Numbers 10, &c., a movement which could be