time it can be mounted you will make requisition for all, including ordnance supplies, at the earliest day practicable.
No restrictions are imposed on you as to the manner of fulfilling the important duty now confided to you; all is committed in full confidence to your ability, professional knowledge and zeal beyond the following conditions:
1st. That the extent of the system be as much restricted as practicable consistently with effectual resistance in order to keep back as garrison the fewer troops from operations elsewhere.
2d. That the works as far as possible be arranged to be formidable only against attack from the south, so that if lost from any cause they may present no obstacle to our regaining from the north possession of the Pass.
All necessary aid in the way of draughtsmen, clerks, overseers, &c., you are authorized to procure. If practicable, an officer of engineers will soon be sent to your assistance.
In your requisition for funds, which will be promptly attended to, you will state the manner in which you desire them to be supplied.
You may have to employ a number of mechanics from civil life, but the labor generally is to be furnished by the troops, who will execute the works under the immediate supervision of their own officers, these being responsible for strict conformity to your projects and directions and for industry and diligence on the part of the men. At the first interval of comparative leisure that you may have while executing these orders you are desired to make a reconnaissance of the principal road by which supplies and re-enforcements must arrive at the Pass from the interior of Kentucky, with a view to report to the Department, the sooner the better, in general terms, the condition, the nature and extent of the repairs needed, and the measures necessary for putting it in good condition and so maintaining it through all seasons as an important route for troops and supplies.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
Camp near Florence, June 24, 1862.
Our cavalry have examined the various roads as far south as Russellville, Frankfort, Pleasant Site, and Bay Springs without finding any signs of an enemy, excepting small bodies of cavalry. It appears that these have everywhere told that they were the advance guard of a large force, and no doubt in this way the reports of an advance on this line have gained such general circulation as to give them color of truth. They are contradicted, however, by the reconnaissance which our cavalry have made and by the reports of many deserters and other persons who have within two or three days come in from the enemy or from places which they have been said to occupy. These reports render it extremely probable that the enemy have been gradually withdrawn from the south and perhaps are moving in considerable force to the east. Deserters report that officers' baggage had been moved away and rumors prevailed of a movement toward the east to get into Tennessee. This last has no tangible shape, but is probable enough. My troops are now moving steadily forward. The advance will reach Huntsville on the 30th.