War of the Rebellion: Serial 011 Page 0556 KY., TENN., N. MISS., N.ALA.,AND SW. VA. Chapter XXII.

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When you move telegraph General Villepigue at Fort Pillow when your troops leave Grand Junction.



Knoxville, May 28, 1862


Assistant Adjutant-General, Richmond:

MAJOR: The preparations being made by General Mitchel indicate an attack on Chattanooga. He has been fitting up two gunboats, and a late official report, published in the Northern papers, avows some such intention. These boats are small affairs. One rifled gun or piece of heavy caliber would render ineffectual any attempt made with them.

The four rifled 6-pounders sent to this department are at Cumberland Gap, where they are needed.

General Mitchel's force in North Alabama is composed of four brigades, and, by a report intercepted early in May, numbered some 9,000 men, with three batteries of eight guns each.

This force has been kept constantly occupied by our cavalry operating in Middle Tennessee, on his line of communications, cutting off his pickets and detachments, destroying his trains, and interrupting his work on the railroad.

General Mitchel's position in North Alabama offered a fine field for operations could a force of 3,000 or 4,000 men have been mobilized.

Sickness, the want of arms, and the menacing attitude of a superior force on the Kentucky line has kept every disposable man constantly occupied.

The force opposite Cumberland Gap consists of four brigades, some unattached regiments of East Tennesseeans, and some twenty pieces of artillery, under the command of General Morgan. This command numbers some twenty regiments, and, though estimated at from 20,000 to 30,000 is, I believe, short of 12,000 effective men.

My troops at Cumberland Gap and in Powell's Valley number some 7,000, and this is really the effective force of my command. It has effectually baffled every effort made by the enemy to cross the Cumberland Range, and by being kept constantly in motion has impressed him with an exaggerated idea of its magnitude.

This command, composed of new levies from Tennessee, Northern Alabama, and Georgia troops, has been afflicted with almost every disease incident to camp life. With a paper force of 17,000 scarcely 8,000 are effective; regiments 800 and 900 strong report only 200 or 300 for duty.

This unexampled sickness, while it has in a great measure prevented drills, and discipline has tended much to dishearten and demoralize; so that it has required every exertion on my part to keep up the spirits of the men.

A decided improvement in the health of the command is now perceptible and a daily increase in the effective force is reported.

The arms of the sick have been issued, so as to keep every gun in service. There are still, with new troops and recruits, about 3,000 effective men in the department unsupplied. This, with the sick who are returning to duty, calls for a supply of at least 5,000 arms, which should be furnished as soon as practicable.

The effective force at Chattanooga under Brigadier-General Lead-