cere acknowledgments for the prompt and patriotic response made by you and your noble State to the call of this Government for troops. But I am almost in despair at the call for arms from all parts of the Confederacy, which it is totally out of my power to give. Recent arrivals have placed in our possession about 12,000 stands of arms, and the gathering herds of our invaders in Tennessee and around this capital requires that we should have ten times that number. If I do not bend every energy to the aid of Beauregard and Sidney Johnston the enemy must, with his overwhelming numbers, pierce our lines into the Lower Mississippi Valley, and your State will be entered on the north.
If we do not meet McClellan, Burnside, and Wool with somewhat equal forces around Richmond the capital will fall into the hands of the enemy, and the moral effect at home and abroad of such disaster you can well imagine. How can I do all this and at the same time furnish arms for your southern coast? It is a physical impossibility. In this our hour of peril there can be no safety but in concentrating forces at the points of vital importance, and striking in this way a crushing blow at some one of the heavy columns that are marching on us.
I will at once order the clothes demanded for the 5,000 men, and they can be supplied at once. I have, however, no sabers or pistols. Of the latter, even our rich enemies are destitute. Cavalry is found most efficient with double-barreled guns, and cavalry officers report that after a month or two sabers are universally discarded as useless, men not being thoroughly trained to the use of that arm.
I issue orders to the chiefs of the Commissary and Quartermaster's Departments to act promptly in aid of your efforts. I send to General A. S. Johnston about 7,000 stand of arms, and such of your regiments as join the Tennessee Army will have their share of these weapons, and this, I regret to say, is the utmost that I can promise.
I am your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
DECATUR, March 17, 1862.
Major-General HARDEE, Huntsville:
Allison's regiment arrived. When will more of your troops be here and how many? How much transportation has the railroad company been able to furnish you? Hurry the forces forward.
A. S. JOHNSTON,
General, C. S. Army.
CORINTH, March 17, 1862.
First. Two regiments of Wood's brigade will soon be with you.
Second. Plant your guns so as to defend Eastport as well as to sweep the river. Hold Eastport as long as possible without disaster.
Third. Throw up slight intrenchments at such points as you may determine upon to make stand against superior numbers.
Fourth. The enemy undoubtedly landed in force at Pittsburg day before yesterday.
Fifth. General Bragg is at Bethel Station, with strong re-enforcements from the West.