CORINTH, MISS., July 1, 1862.
(Received 9.16 p.m.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
Your corrected telegram of 28th was received last night. I had already acted on the imperfect copy received yesterday morning. General McClernand was ordered to send as many of his division as possible to Columbus by every train. General Quinby has been ordered to detach as many as he can spare from his command near Columbus. Light-draught boats have been ordered from Saint Louis to take one division from this place via Pittsburgh. A part of Wallace's division will be sent from Memphis as soon as I can relieve them.
I fear that you have overestimated the strength of the army in West Tennessee. Since the departure of General Buell's army and the detachments to General Curtis I have less than 65,000 effective men. After sending the detachment ordered to Washington I shall have less than 40,000. We have repaired and have now to guard between Columbus, Memphis, and Decatur 367 miles railroad, besides the posts established on Mississippi River and many rivers. All scouts, spies, deserters, and prisoners, without a single exception, report that no troops have been sent from here East. The rebel force in this State is not less than 75,000 or 80,000 men, and Bragg is raising conscripts daily. These are facts of which I have the most reliable evidence.
The enemy acts in a friendly country, requiring no guards for his depots, and has an immense rolling stock, so that he can in a few days concentrate on any one point. We cannot so concentrate. I am therefore satisfied that a detachment of 25,000 from this army at the present time will result in the loss of Arkansas or West Tennessee, and perhaps both. Those who have not the proper data have been disposed to underrate the force of the enemy and to overrate that of this army. The facts are precisely as here given. Those who represent otherwise deceive you.
Either the Chattanooga expedition must be postponed or a less force sent to Washington, or we have left the alternative of losing much that we have gained here in the West.
To surrender any territory we have acquired is certain death to all Union men in that territory. Any loss on our part will be followed by insurrection in Tennessee and Kentucky, and we shall find still greater difficulty in the pacification of those States than we have encountered in Missouri.
H. W. HALLECK,
CORINTH, July 1, 1862 (Received 9.40 p.m.)
Your telegram just received saves Western Tennessee; the former order was imperative and I had no alternative but obedience. The enemy is undoubtedly preparing to attack some point of our lines, supposing our forces diminished. I immediately ordered them all back to their posts. If these troops had been sent East, we should have been defeated or forced to retreat.
H. W. HALLECK,