HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Bowling Green, Ky., January 15, 1862.
Commanding Forts Henry and Donelson:
GENERAL: Your letter of January 14 has been received.* The information is most important. The general desires me to say that we now require vigilance and energy, and he is satisfied that in these you will not fail. He hopes to stop the movement for some time on this line, and that Generals Polk and Tilghman will delay them on the others.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. MACKALL,
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, January 16, 1862.
Major General LEONIDAS POLK, Columbus, Ky.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge your favors of 5th, 6th, and 8th instant, the last offering to the Department, as your contribution to its trophies, a flag captured at the glorious battle of Belmont. Please accept my most grateful thanks, and be assured that it occupies already the conspicuous place in the adornment of the office of the head of the Department which is eminently due to the memories associated with it. I now revert to the details of business presented in your letters.
I. I would take great pleasure in acceding to the request of Colonel Burch in relation to his proposed method of raising a regiment if I had the power by law. My views entirely coincide with yours and his, but the present state of legislation does not permit me to yield to his wishes. I am happy, however, to say that a bill is now pending in Congress, and, if passed, as I hope, I shall be able to do what Colonel Burch desires.
II. I have, as requested by you, ordered the promotion of Captain Finnie to the rank of quartermaster of brigade, with grade of major.
III. The questions presented by the organization of the Corps of Artillery in Tennessee are complicated and embarrassing, owing to the condition of the legislation of Congress on the subject. I have brought the matter to the attention of that body in my report at the commencement of the present session, and am told that in a day or two a law will be passed authorizing promotions in that arm of the service, for which at present there seems to be no warrant. I have not now the time to point out the difficulties which lie in the way of adopting the course suggested by Lieutenant-Colonel Haynes, and hope that by the passage of the law just referred to I may be able to do all that he desires. I will simply suggest, as the first of all difficulties, that there is no law authorizing or recognizing any organization of artillery in the Provisional Army or in the volunteer forces other than by regiments and battalions.
IV. I shall order the necessary funds forwarded at once for the Eastport.
V. The whole of the difficulties in the Western (Trans-Mississippi) Department will now, I trust, be at an end, as General Earl Van Dorn has been assigned to its command, and is now on his way to report to Gen-
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