SAINT LOUIS, March 21, 1862.
Major-General BUELL, Nashville:
GENERAL: There seems to be a good many complaints about paroled prisoners of war in Louisville. Would it no be well to send them away, the officers to Columbus and the privates to Indianapolis? If any were sent there from Fort Donelson it was without my knowledge or authority, except in one single case, where the officer was sick, and his parole was asked for as a particular favor by Messrs. Guthrie and Prentice, who agreed to take charge of him.
I permit officers of posts,&c., to give furloughs to our sick soldiers on surgeon's certificates. This is undoubtedly sometime abused, but it frees our hospital and is economical to the Government. Moreover where the men are permitted to return to their own States to be nursed by their friends they recover much sooner.
In all matters connected with the military administration of your army and district you will act according to your own judgment. You will also retain your own staff officers and provide for your own supplies. I have not the least desire to interfere, but will assist you in these matters wherever you wish and I can do it.
In regard to small gunboats, I have strong hopes of capturing some of those of the enemy now hemmed in between New Madrid and Hickman. General Pope is confident that they cannot escape, and that they must either surrender or destroy them. We expect to attack them about the middle of next week.
The sending of large re-enforcements to Curtis and Canby has seriously interfered with my plans. It will divert about 10,000 men intended for the Tennessee River. I therefore trust you will
co-operate with Grant and Smith with all the troops you can possibly throw on that point. Grant telegraphs that Johnston is now at Corinth.
In haste, yours, truly,
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE OHIO, Nashville, March 21, 1862.
General LORENZO THOMAS,
Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: Your telegraphic dispatch was answered yesterday. I have the honor to communicate more in detail the information called for.
The military force in the whole of the late Department of the Ohio consists of ninety regiments of volunteers and thirty-five companies of regular infantry, one regiment of volunteer engineers mustered as infantry, with a strength of 60,877 for duty and 79,614 aggregate present and absent; eleven regiments, one battalion of six companies, seven detached companies of volunteers, and two companies of regular cavalry, with a strength of about 9,222 for duty and 11,496 aggregate; thirty companies of artillery, three of them regular, in twenty-four field and two siege batteries, with a strength of about 3,368 for duty and 3,953 aggregate. This force is organized into six divisions and twenty-three brigades, besides some six detached regiments that are employed as guards to bridges, depots,&c., as follows:
First Division, Brigadier-General Thomas commanding: Eleven regiments volunteers infantry, two battalions (sixteen companies) regular