gravity of the occasion less which urges me to press upon your attention the effort about the to be made by the Federal Government, with a large army (estimated on reliable data at not less than 80,000), to invade the Confederate through Central Kentucky towards Tennessee. They have justly comprehended that the seat of vitality of the Confederacy, if to be reached at all, is by this route. It is now palpable that all the resources of that Government will, if necessary, be employed to assure success on this line. The line of the Barren affords the means of a strong defense, but my force is not sufficient to enable me to avail myself of it (23,000). I do not ask that my force shall be made equal to that of the enemy, but, if possible, it should be raised to 50,000 men.
I have hoped to be able to raise an adequate force by the aid of the Governors of the several States of this department, but notwithstanding zealous efforts on their part, thus far I have been able to draw to this place only a force which, when compared in number to the enemy, must be regarded as insufficient. There are three or four regiments still to come forward from Tennessee, armed with arms collected from the people, and some others waiting for their arms. These men are reaching us too late for instruction, and liable to measles, &c. They are as likely to be an element of weakness as of strength.
If the public service would permit, I beg leave to suggest that a few regiments might be detached from the several armies in the field and order here, to be replaced by new levies. No doubt the strongest attack the enemy is capable of making will be made against this place, and we ought not surely to put in jeopardy the result by failing to meet it with a force sufficient to place success beyond hazard.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
A. S. JOHNSTON,
General, C. S. Army.
[HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT,]
January 8, 1862.
Brigadier-General CARROLL, Knoxville:
Send forward at once to this place all the men who [are] armed and ready for duty of the regiments of Colonels Looney and Gillespie. If they are part of your brigade, and it is not inconsistent with orders in East Tennessee, you will accompany the regiments here.
A. S. JOHNSTON,
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Columbus, Ky., January 11, 1862.
General A. SIDNEY JOHNSTON, Bowling Green, Ky.:
GENERAL: I herewith send you by express the return of this division for the month of December as complete as it can be made at present.
My available force is greatly reduced by sickness and absences. I have resisted all applications for leaves and furloughs as strongly as possible and have issued orders to bring back all absentees.
There are many regiments in my division who are without arms and several poorly armed. The unarmed regiments are stationed at Forts Pillow, Donelson, and Henry, at Trenton, Union City, and Henderson Station.