War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0837 Chapter XVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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quantity of the arms from the Gladiator have been brought in. Will you not send me a sufficient number to arm this regiment?

L. POLK.

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, WESTERN DEPARTMENT,

Columbus, January 17, 1862.

W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-General:

I write for the information of the general to say that the enemy is in motion to attack this place, as I have already advised. He is concentrating a force at Milburn, made up of that from Paducah and a force from Cairo, and my scouts bring the intelligence that it is now 15,000 strong and awaiting accessions. A force also is being concentrated on Mayfield Creek above, to compose another column.

My effective force, as you will see by the return sent you yesterday, is a fraction less than 13,000.

The plan of the enemy, from information received, is to make a demonstration with the former force, and draw out so much of my command as they may induce to leave my defenses, then to drop down their flotilla and shell the post heavily, so as to demoralize it as much as possible; then to make an assault with the column from Mayfield Creek. Their whole force is reported to be 40,000.

In view of the paramount importance of holding this position, which is the key to the whole Mississippi Valley, it has appeared to me that my first duty was to make everything bend to the accomplishment of that object. This will require me to take no risk which may involve its loss.

To comply with the enemy's programme, as above indicated, would in my judgment be to take that risk. In view, then, of the smallness of my force, I see nothing left me but to strengthen my position and await his coming, making only such diversions as may be attempted with safety, throwing the responsibility of taking care of such force as we cannot dispose of on the War Department and the people of the States around us generally.

It is an alternative I should gladly have avoided, but the inadequacy of the force at my disposal leaves me none other. The soundness of this position, in my judgment, cannot be disputed, especially as I have provisions enough in store within my lines to last a force of 25,000 men one hundred and twenty days.

I have resolved, therefore, to stand a siege, and look to the general for such aid as the War Department and the country may afford him for relief. We will, in maintaining our position, of course hope that the support required will be furnished as early as practicable.

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

L. POLK,

Major-General, Commanding.

P. S.-These views are submitted as the result of my reflections on the facts as now presented. You will of course be advised from day to day.

BOWLING GREEN, January 18, 1862.

Captain WRIGHT, Ordnance, Nashville:

General Tilghman telegraphs from Fort Henry that he wants ammunition, large and small. He gives the following statement of his arma-