Tennessee. This would not interfere with the command of General Morgan or any general command. The whole force there has been [under] an acting brigadier-general by the name of Carter, who is a lieutenant in the Navy, and was sent to that region of country on special duty.
Spears was made a brigadier-general in fact, and contributed more men in the first instance to the organization of Tennessee troops than any other man, and ought to have the command of them as brigadier upon their advance into Tennessee. The regiments desire it should be so. Justice demands it. He is a brave and patriotic man, and will lead them successfully. The acting general (Carter) has been in the way from the beginning, and it would be much better for him to return to the naval service than to remain where he is. We need no more brigadier-generals [at] present, and there should be no more made, especially for the East Tennessee expedition. Generals Morgan and Spears are sufficient; more will be in the way. For fear I am mistaken I have telegraphed General Halleck on this subject.
Hope General Thomas will at once bring this subject before the Secretary of War and forward to me an immediate reply. This matter should be at once attended to.
All is working well in this part of Tennessee, beyond my most sanguine expectations. As soon as we drive the rebel troops beyond the border of the State, Tennessee will be for the Union, 70,000 votes.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION,
Huntsville, April 17, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
On Friday, the 11th, I entered Huntsville, capturing a large number of engines and cars. On Saturday expeditions were dispatched by rail east and west, seizing Stevenson and Decatur. Decatur was at once occupied. On Sunday we advanced cautiously upon Tuscumbia and Florence, and found the enemy had burned the railroad bridges. These were repaired and reconstructed. On Monday night I threw forward a strong force by rail to within 15 miles of Tuscumbia, and ordered them to advance prudently, in the hope of opening our communication directly with General Buell. From deserters we learn that the enemy had burned just in advance of us the bridge at Florence across the Tennessee and railway bridge between Tuscumbia and Corinth, thus manifesting their alarm at our approach. My point of operations extended from Stevenson to Tuscumbia. My entire effective force on that line scarcely exceeds 7,000 men. One of my regiments is at Fayetteville, another at Shelbyville, protecting my line of communication and supplies. Had I sufficient force I would deem it my duty to advance promptly upon Tuscumbia and throw myself in the rear of the enemy to Jacinto, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. I send this directly to the Secretary of War, as I am uncertain whether any of my dispatches reached General Buell. None of them have been answered. I deem the line I occupy one of vast importance, and a heavier force is required for its defense and protection.
O. M. MITCHEL,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Third Division.