HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-THIRD BRIGADE,
Murfreesborough, April 25, 1862.
Captain OLIVER D. GREENE:
I have received the following message from General Mitchel:
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION,
Colonel DUFFIELD, Murfreesborough:
I must depend upon you to send forward troops immediately to hold Wartrace and Shelbyville. I have requested General Negley to send a regiment to Shelbyville. My regiment must come forward, even if I give up my line of supplies. I have received 100,000 rations by Tuscumbia.
O. M. MITCHEL,
Four squadrons of the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry now at Wartrace.
Thee Forty-second Indiana, which is attached to General Mitchel's division, at Shelbyville; the Ninth Michigan, Eighth Kentucky, Fifth Squadron Seventh Pennsylvania, and First Squadron Fourth Kentucky, and Hewett's battery, here; detachments at Lebanon and Nashville ordered hare, but no report of their departure yet received. Verbal orders from Captain Fry were to re-enforce Mitchel promptly of attacked. No orders to relieve him. What shall be done?
April 25, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON:
I think your instructions of to-day, just received, will serve to secure a crew of the right stamp. Personally I have two points to submit you. I would prefer not to hold a military rank unless you deem it indispensable, and, in that case, even though it will be only a temporary appointment and for a special duty, I would much prefer that it should be a grade higher. To command the military guard and to stand second to myself in command of the fleet I would ask leave to name my brother, Captain Alfred W. Ellet, of the fifty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, now in Southern Missouri, a man of dauntless energy and devoted patriotism, who will carry this enterprise through if he survives and I am disabled. It would be well, I think, if this suggestion receives your assent, in communicating the commands of the Department to Captain Ellet to authorize him to bring a limited number of reliable men of his own selection from his regiment.
The clause in your instructions requiring the concurrence of the naval commander of the Mississippi might embarrass me much. That officer may not have confidence in my mode of warfare. My purpose has been not to remain with the gunboats or even to show my fleet there until ready to rush or pass the batteries, and drive my rams against the enemy's armed vessels and transports wherever they can be found, relying much on the suddenness and audacity of the attack for its success. It is not my purpose either to stop voluntarily anywhere and give the enemy below me time to prepare, but to push on with the current and the high flood as rapidly and as far as I can go. I fear that the naval commander might not concur in the propriety of such a movement, which is not in accordance with naval usage, and that he might compel me to lie idle above some fortified position until the flood abated and the opportunity to surprise the enemy in my own