Richmond, Va., April 15, 1862.
Major-General E. KIRBY SMITH,
Commanding, &c., Knoxville, Tenn.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 10th instant to General Cooper, reporting the movement of the commands of Generals Maxey and Leadbetter to Corinth, had been referred to me. When the six new regiments from Georgia were recently sent to you it was hoped that an opportunity would be presented when you could make a demonstration against the enemy in the direction of Nashville and thus threaten his line of communication. The opportunity seems now to be presented, but from your letter it would appear that your remaining force is inadequate for the movement. Four regiments which were ordered from South Carolina to Corinth are supposed to be somewhere on the Charleston and Memphis Railroad, and might be available to you. If with their assistance you deem it expedient to execute the movement alluded to, you are authorized to stop and use them, notifying General Beauregard of your action.
From information from General B. and other sources it is believed that Nashville is unprotected.
I am, &c., your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Knoxville, April 15, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
General Beauregard orders the Pemberton regiments to Corinth via Mobile. He approves my suggestion of a movement in direction of Nashville, via Kingston, and says:
Urge War Department to send you the troops for it by all means and without hesitation, and I will throw a brigade of cavalry across the river to aid you.
Will the Department send the troops for this purpose?
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Corinth, Miss., April 16, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: I fear that Colonel Northrop, Chief of the Subsistence Department, is disposed or determined to ignore the presence with these headquarters of Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, of his department, the officer next in rank in it to himself, and one of the largest experience in our service, sent here, as you are aware, on my application, because of that experience. Circumstances convince me that I am not mistaken, and that unless Colonel Northrop is led to change his course the service and the country will suffer. His attempts to communicate directly with subordinates of Colonel Lee and not to communicate at all with Colonel Lee are palpably disrespectful to the authority that sent the