is my ardor dampened, nor will my exertions be slackened; but I think it due to myself and proper that these facts should be presented to you.
The information here is that Cumberland Gap is threatened by five or six regiments and twelve pieces of artillery between Cumberland Ford and Barboursville. Two regiments are on the Cumberland River in Kentucky between Somerset and Burkesville. Generals Thomas and Schoepf with their commands have joined Buell. All the efforts of the enemy will, I think, be directed toward the Mississippi, and if any movement be made on East Tennessee, it will be from Nashville and the Cumberland River as a base, with a line of operations through Middle Tennessee, by Sparta to Kingston, or possibly Athens, Tenn. The barrenness of the country to the north and northwest and the difficulty of obtaining and transporting supplies will prevent operations from that direction. I will order a brigade to Kingston as soon as one can be organized; a battery should accompany it. A company has been formed here, if the guns and equipments can be obtained in Richmond.
In conclusion let me once more refer to the character of the troops which with I will have to operate. The two Alabama regiments, the only war regiments, are almost ineffective from sickness; they report 500 sick and 8 deaths in the last twenty-four hours from typhoid fever. The term of service of nearly all the reliable troops in the district expires in April, May, or June. The East Tennesseeans will not organize for the war. Several regiments might be mustered in for twelve months, but with the exception of some 2,000 country rifles and shot-guns of every caliber and degree of worthlessness, there is nothing here in the ordnance department with which they can be armed.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
FORT PILLOW, March 10, 1862.
I shall telegraph for negroes to repair damages from heavy rains and high river. The cremaillere line for rear defense is 3 1/2 miles long; it is injudiciously established for rear defense. A shorter and better line can and should be established. For this a large force would be necessary. To reach Mason's Depot now requires 2 miles ferrying over Hatchie River. Road to Brownsville unobstructed and good. A thorough reconnaissance of back country shall be made.
J. M. WITHERS.
HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Decatur, Ala., March 10, 1862.
1. Brigadier-General Hindman will march to-morrow morning to a point near Hillsborough.
2. After the first day's march Colonel Helm will precede General Hindman, take post at Tuscumbia, and take every means to obtain information of the enemy.
3. Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson will proceed to Jackson, Tenn., and report to General Beauregard.
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