by Major Lea, chief engineer, and had the party on the road by day Sunday morning, the order having been received too late Saturday evening to move infantry, but in the mean time I had Lieutenant-Colonel Brewer's cavalry at Purdy at work on Saturday night destroying bridges.
The work not being fully completed I defer a report, and make the above statement now for another purpose. I became satisfied that the road from Pittsburg to Pocahontas, although not within the letter, yet was within the spirit of the foregoing order, which was all the order on the subject I had to govern me, and telegraphed to General Beauregard on the subject, and was ordered to obstruct it at once. To-day I went out and examined the work done, and found a number of men had given out, and that it was necessary to relieve that party and order another. I send to-morrow 300 on above road.
An inspection of the accompanying map* will show a road from Chalk Bluffs to McNairy's Station that ought, if practicable, to be obstructed, provided the policy be to throw all obstacles possible in the way of the enemy's reaching the railroad. I say "if practicable," for in open woods and no streams or swamps cutting down timber don't present much obstruction. But to do all this work requires a strong force-more than I have.
The weekly report will show an alarming amount of sickness here. The Forty-first Georgia is now passing through measles, and is greatly reduced. There is also some pneumonia, and a great many cases of diarrhea in the command, not serious, but unfitting men for manual labor.
Take out "strong working parties," picket and brigade guards, and you will perceive the actual number of fighting men for an emergency is small. I am perfectly willing to work and anxious to do everything in my power to advance our cause, but I think it due to myself and command that the major-general commanding this corps should know how far to rely on us, and if there are any spare troops, not otherwise profitably engaged, they might be here.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. B. MAXEY,
In connection with the foregoing subject I would suggest that if it is expected this command is to move rapidly upon the railroad upon any point of attack on it, the means of moving should be placed at my disposal. There are an engine, three platform cars, and four box cars here hauling dirt on the road, which might be of service to that extent, if placed for military purposes under my control.
S. B. MAXEY.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
No. 36. Corinth, Miss., April 23, 1862.
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II. Brig. General W. N. R. Beall, having reported for duty with this army, is assigned to the command of the cavalry of the forces. Brigadier-General Gardner, on being relieved by General Beall, will report to General Bragg.