HDQRS. WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Corinth, Miss., May 18, 1862
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IV. Brigadier General D. Ruggles is assigned to the command of the several depots and guards in the rear of this army, as a special department. He will visit and inspect the several stations, and take prompt measures to place them in a state of efficient organization, reporting direct to these headquarters.
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By command of General Beauregard:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE.
Knoxville, May 18, 1862
Brigadier General S. M. BARTON,
Commanding Fourth Brigade:
GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs me to say that he has information that the enemy are engaged in repairing a road on their line of communication between Cumberland Ford and Barboursville. This gave rise to the report (communicated to you) that they were constructing a road to turn our position at Cumberland Gap. Nevertheless the general considers it proper that you should satisfy yourself (if necessary, in the manner proposed) whether they are making any efforts to turn Cumberland Gap.
The major-general commanding also requests that as soon as you have accomplished the purpose for which Colonel Reynolds' command was removed from Clinton, you will direct his return to that point. The difficulty of subsisting the force is much increased by their removal to the valley, and, moreover, a camp of instruction for his new and undisciplined regiments has been establish in view of which their withdrawal from thence for any protracted time is inexpedient.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. BELTON.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Corinth, Miss., May 19, 1862
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant-General C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: Since the battle of Shiloh, when I assumed command of the Western Department, and the fall of New Orleans, which latter event has placed the Mississippi River from its mouth to Vicksburg under the control of the enemy, no instructions from the War Department relative to the policy of the Government and the movements of the armies of the Confederacy have been received by me.
In the absence of such instructions I deem it advisable to lay before the Department, in as few words as practicable, my reasons for still holding this position against a much stronger force of the enemy in my front even at the risk of a defeat, instead of retiring into the interior of the country along the Mobile and Ohio or Memphis and Charleston
34 R R-VOL X, PT II