tion here is an unpleasant one, being, indeed, without any troops at all, except a battalion of Arkansas troops, badly armed. With his force I cannot of course render any service of consequence. I am aware that a new organization has been rendered necessary, and that some delay in assigning me troops was natural under the circumstances, but by the retiring of General Johnston's army as far west as Corinth not only the Memphis and Charleston Railroad from Stevenson to Big Bear Creek is left exposed to the enemy, but also the Nashville and Decatur Railroad. With my operations confined to Chickasaw, this point, and Decatur, the force suggested by you would not, it seems to me, be sufficient to protect efficiently either of those points, and far less the scope of country designated in your letter.
The district originally assigned to my command by Major-General Bragg embraced the whole of North Alabama. Whether its limits are to be circumscribed or to remain unaltered I am not advised; but if limited to the points mentioned by me you will, I am sure, concur with me in the opinion that if defensive preparations are to be made, not less than three regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and two efficient field batteries should be put at my command. I trust therefore to hear from you on this subject at your earliest convenience.
A general conviction has seized hold of the minds of the people of the valley of the Tennessee, from Stevenson to Big Bear Creek, that that entire section is to be abandoned to the enemy, and that apprehension is bearing its legitimate fruits in a general panic most unfavorable to the cause of enlistment.
Apart from the military necessity or importance of that country to our future operations, I am convinced that stationing a respectable force among them would have a most salutary political effect, in serving to restore public confidence and as a nucleus around which to gather volunteers. The history of the world proves that it is vain to expect a people to rally between the enemy and their army of defense.
The battery at Chickasaw has been delayed by the necessary absence of Captain Arms, the engineer, who reported his inability to proceed without instruments, for which he has gone. It will, however, I trust, be ready for action in a day or two.
In this connection, as I mentioned in a previous communication, I propose, with the negro force at my disposal, to erect other defensive works at other points on the river, and to enable me to do so promptly I will be glad if you would authorize me to employ, at the compensation of a captain of engineers, Major F. M. Robertson, formerly commandant of the Military Academy at La Grange, Ala., and in every respect, I think, better qualified to direct the works than the officers sent by you. Having no regiment from which to detach a regimental commissary, I inclose for your action a copy of an order received from the war office.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. P. WALKER,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Jackson, Tenn., March 8, 1862.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Commanding Army of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: In obedience to you instructions, directing a written report of my observations of the condition and efficiency of the military